XFactor UK hits its lowest ratings in six years

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The X Factor has dipped to lowest ratings in six years, with less than 8 million viewers watching Saturday night's performance episode.

The show has lost nearly half its audience in the past two series, with a number of panel and format changes doing little to keep viewers hooked.

The loss of Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole and Dani Minogue all in one year was never going to help the show.

Saturday night' semi-final performance was seen by 7.75 million, down 2.5 million on last year and down over 5 million on 2010.

In fact, it was the lowest rated X Factor semi-final since 2006, back when Sharon Osbourne was on a panel which only had three judges.

It's been claimed today that bosses fear that Simon Cowell's absense is one of the biggest problems, however he was recently ruled out of a return next series.

“It certainly doesn’t look good," a source told the Daily Star Sunday. “He’s dominated the ratings and TV in general for a decade but the shine has started to come off.

“The problem is that he built his empire on him actually being on camera.

“He’s now more focused on America and it’s impossible for him to be in two places at once.

“Without him on his shows over here, fans are just not as interested.”

The X Factor 2012 continues next weekend with the live final in Manchester.

Chris Maloney, Jahmene Douglas and James Arthur will be battling it out to be crowned winner, while there will be performances from One Direction, Kylie Minogue, Rhianna and Emeli Sande.

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