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X Factor UK: Simon Cowell to return for 'six shows' next year

Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell has apparently agreed to a partial return to The X Factor UK next year.

The Daily Star Sunday claim that Simon has committed to appearing at least six shows when the tenth series airs next summer.

It follows declining ratings this side of the Atlantic, which have seen the live shows slump to their lowest viewing figures in almost six years.

Last Sunday’s latest performance show as watched by 8.4 million viewers, some 3 million less than even last year’s equivalent episode, and well down on the peak years in 2009.

The shock elimination of favourite Ella Henderson on Sunday night is also sure to plunge viewing figures further down.

A source said: “Simon is a worried man. The ratings have not been great, which spells trouble for the future.

“He is starting to accept that he’s needed at the helm, it’s a real possibility that he’ll come back for next year’s series – which could also be the last.”

The supposed insider added: “It’s the shows tenth anniversary, but his commitments in America will make it hard for him.”

Next year’s show is set to be the last in the current contract between ITV1 and Simon Cowell’s Syco company, which was signed back in 2010.

Louis Walsh recently admitted he’s been missing recording the show with Simon on the panel alongside him.

He told the Guardian at the weekend: “When I’m with Simon we always laugh. I’m very like Simon. We’re in this business of selling music and selling dreams.

“But people don’t realise he’s actually brilliant fun. He’s so much nicer than people think he is. He never curses, is never rude to people. Ever.”

He added: “Off camera, that is. People think he’s this tough, ruthless, money-making machine. I don’t think he loves money that much.”

The X Factor 2012 continues this Saturday on ITV1 and ITV1HD, with the final five acts sing two tracks each with Abba and Motown themes.

Sunday’s results show will see one more act get the axe, and there will be performances from Rhianna, Tulisa and Bruno Mars.