Simon Cowell has 'real fears' over The X Factor's ratings with new judges Tulisa and Kelly Rowland

Simon Cowell

X Factor boss Simon Cowell has reportedly expressed fears over what will happen to The X Factor ratings this year. The show is currently the most watched programme in the UK, with more than 20 million viewers tuning in to watch Matt Cardle crowned the winner on last year's series.

According to The Sun with three new judges this year there are worries about what will happen to the programme, especially with tough competition from rival reality show Strictly Come Dancing on the BBC.

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"There will be three newbies plus Louis Walsh and there are real fears over what impact that could have on the ratings," a source said.

"Last year, viewers voted Dannii Minogue as their favourite judge. The older audience took to her. Without Dannii or Cheryl, Simon knows he's got a really tough sell on his hands. Not many people over 30 are into N-Dubz or Kelly Rowland's R&B."

Meanwhile ITV have dismissed claims that they had offered Cheryl Cole £2.5 million to return to the series. "It was getting ridiculous. We're not made of money," an insider said.

Cheryl's camp also insisted no such negotiations were ever made, saying: "These supposed conversations haven't taken place. This isn't about money for Cheryl. She simply isn't going to do X Factor after what happened in the States."

Tulisa from hi-hop group N-Dubz is understood to have signed a £500,000 to join the show last night after it became clear Cheryl would not be returning.

The X Factor 2011 auditions start on June 1 in Birmingham.

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