Overnight viewing figures have shown the first audition show of the series was watched by a total audience of 6.2 million viewers for its opening night, with the launch peaking with an audience of 7 million.
The figures are around 500,000 down from the 2016 launch, which saw an average of 6.8 million tune in to see judges Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh, Nicole Scherzinger and Sharon Osbourne search for the next singing superstar.
Last night’s ratings only carry on the trend of X Factor’s declining audience numbers, with the 2011 launch show in the ITV giant’s hey-day pulling in an impressive 10.8 million viewers.
Head judge Simon has made several changes to the 14th series of the talent show in order to keep viewers watching, including ditching novelty acts, scrapping the jukebox theme selector and letting hopefuls sing their own original songs – the latter going down very well with viewers and critics alike, who thoroughly enjoyed Rak-Su’s “I’m Feeling You” and Grace Davies’ track “Roots.”
The music mogul, 57, has also hinted he will be making changes to the live shows, cutting the latter rounds of the competition in favour for more auditions.
“The early and middle rounds rate well,” he said.
“So, the idea is to do more of the middle shows and less of the live shows. We’ll see if it works or not. I think there might be a middle ground.”
Simon also faces fierce competition with BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing launching next week, with the show boss admitting the X Factor “can’t compete” with its audience numbers.
“We can’t compete with their overall audience because they’re much older,” he added. “What’s important for us is to keep the young audience interested in the show.
“I’ve seen a couple of contestants this year who are really, really good. You’re always hoping to find the next star and that’s what I’m focusing on now.”
But it may not be all bad news for the star, with the X Factor easily the biggest show on television – attracting more than double the amount of viewers of any other ITV programme on Saturday, and thrashing BBC rival Casualty, which pulled in a paltry 3.5 million.
But with Strictly launching next Saturday, will things only get worse for the X Factor?
A spokesperson at ITV told the Daily Star Online: “The X Factor was the most watched programme on TV last night, with a 36 per cent audience share at its peak.”
X Factor continues tonight at 8pm on ITV.