Former X Factor judge Sharon Osbourne says the ITV talent show’s slump in the ratings is down to boss Simon Cowell and his constant tampering with the formula.
Responding to Cowell’s comments in The Sun earlier this week that the audience drop was “funny”, ex-judge Mrs O told the paper: “Unfortunately, not out of malice, but I am only saying this because Simon’s quote thinks it is funny, that the figures have dropped, and dropped and dropped through the course of the show.
“I am not saying it was all me [leaving] at all, but [it’s because of] his decision to change the show again and again and again.”
The judging line-up on The X Factor has changed numerous times in recent years, while Cowell has also experimented with a variety of different format ideas.
Osborne – who appeared as a judge on The X Factor from 2004 to 2007, in 2013, and from 2016 to 2017– was originally billed to return to the competition for the live shows and said she believed the decision not to bring her back was made after she called Cowell a “fat-faced motherf****r” on US radio.
Speaking about the fallout from her comments, Osbourne said: “Later they call me in and say ‘we don’t really think we need you’ and I’m like ‘fine – just keep sending the money’. It is fine they are paying me, they had to.”
Osbourne had previously said in a statement after leaving the show: “Simon was so gracious to find me a spot on the live shows but at this point I really don’t think I’m needed and I would honestly feel odd coming in at this point. So I have decided to pass on the series this year.”
This year viewing figures for the show have paled in comparison to those of Strictly Come Dancing, with X Factor pulling in just 3.85 million viewers last Saturday, against its BBC rival’s 9.9 million.
In it’s heyday, The X Factor commanded audiences of 14 million but despite its recent slump, it is still ITV’s biggest Saturday night show and Cowell recently revealed the broadcaster has offered a new contract that would keep the competition on screens until 2022.