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The X Factor 'Suffers Huge Viewing Figures Slump'

Number of viewers reportedly three million lower than last year...

The X Factor has dropped a whopping three million viewers on last year's opening episode, it has been reported.

The Mirror claims that the show had its lowest audience for a first episode in six years on Saturday, with just 8.1 million people tuning in - compared to 11 million last year.

And the paper quoted an insider as saying: "It is a huge disappointment. The producers think it was a great show with plenty of drama, but a large number of people who watched in previous years simply didn't bother to tune in.

"The audience size needs to improve, and fast. We can't afford for X Factor to fail, and production staff are pulling out all of the stops ahead of next week's show.

"There are always going to be questions over not having Simon Cowell on the panel – he was a big draw. Everyone hopes the audience will build over the coming weeks, but it is a very worrying start."

Saturday's show - which covered the auditions phase - featured the debut of new judge Nicole Scherzinger and a memorable guest slot from Spice Girls star Mel B.

We told you yesterday how Tulisa had been feuding with Lord Sugar on Twitter.