Former X Factor judge Louis Walsh is apparently quite chuffed that the talent show hasn’t picked up more viewers since his departure.
The new series is the first time in its 12-year history that The X Factor has run without Walsh as a full-time judge. And, as overnight viewing figures continue their slump compared with last year, former host Dermot O’Leary – who also left after the last run – says Walsh is “loving” it.
“I haven’t seen Louis for ages, but I got a text from him last week saying, ‘They are missing us, Dermot – have you seen the ratings?’ He was loving that,” O’Leary told The Sun.
Ratings have sat between 6 and 7 million so far this year, while the show enjoyed audiences of more than 8 million around the same time last year when Walsh was on board.
Of course, while we’re certainly missing O’Leary’s backstage hugging action and Walsh’s catchphrases, consolidated figures have painted a much better picture. The audience for the opening episode was up two million as viewers turned to catch-up to get their X Factor fix, suggesting Simon Cowell’s plan to attract more young viewers, who like to watch their favourite shows when hey want, could be working.
It will be interesting to see how X Factor will do with its first live broadcast of the year for the Judges’ Houses round, which could attract a more ‘event telly’ crowd on the night.
BBC rival Strictly Come Dancing is also yet to kick into gear, although its first live weekend won’t see a clash with X Factor, the former airing on Friday and Saturday on a weekend that X Factor has just a Sunday night show due to ITV’s commitment to the World Cup rugby.
Of course, rumours persist that Walsh will return to X Factor at some point anyway. Cowell himself joked they could have a ‘judge of the week‘ episode. Now that will give Lou Lou a proper chance to see how much he’s been missed…
The X Factor continues this Saturday (8pm) and Sunday (7pm) on ITV