Will X Factor Celebrity improve the show’s ratings?

It’s the time of year again where your TV guide fills up with more late-night entertainment.

ITV’s The X Factor used to dominate the weekend ratings with its sometimes harsh auditions and names like Beyonce and Rihanna at the live finals.

But over the years, the show’s figures have dropped to less than half of what they were in 2010.

The first episode of the celebrity edition aired on Saturday, with 4.71 million viewers.

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That won’t include people watching on catch-up services.

X Factor says half of 16-34-year-olds watching TV on Saturday night were watching the celebrity edition of the show.

The show reached peak viewing figures in 2010 when, according to the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB), episodes averaged more than 14 million viewers in the UK.

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Last year’s series, won by Dalton Harris, averaged roughly six million viewers overall.

This year the format is simple, celebrities who are already known by the public, but not for singing, compete to impress judges Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh.

The line-up caters to a range of ages, including everyone from Love Island stars and social media influencers, to broadcast journalist Martin Bashir.

Image copyright ITV
Image caption Reality star Megan McKenna is competing in the series

Speaking last week at the show’s launch on Thursday, original judge Louis Walsh told Radio 1 Newsbeat: “It needed something different. This is a whole new chapter and I think it’s the future for X Factor.”

The first episode, showing auditions in front of various music producers and writers in Simon’s garden in Malibu, received mixed responses online.

The format is far from the small, minimally designed audition room with an X on the floor from early series’, but the judges haven’t changed much.

Reality star Megan McKenna told Newsbeat: “I was so happy when I found out it was judged by Simon, Nicole and Louis because they’re the originals.

“I’ve watched the show growing up my entire life, so singing in front of them was one of the best moments of my whole life.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Nicole joined the panel in the ninth series

Dermot O’Leary will once again host the series and be the contestants’ general shoulder to cry on.

He said: “It may well be that we uncover this incredible singer, it may well be that it doesn’t fly – but it’s definitely worth the risk.

“Whether we can find a recording artist with these celebrities – probably not! As long as we can put on a good entertainment show, that’s what matters.”

Nicole agreed that the show was more about providing entertainment, saying: “We still get pretty great ratings, all we can do it put on the best show we can, and hopefully we can entertain the people who are watching.”

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Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 weekdays – or listen back here.

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