Can new X Factor line-up help boost show’s ratings?

By Press Association reporters

X Factor bosses will no doubt be hoping for a ratings boost when the show returns with a refreshed line-up.

The 15th series of the talent competition, which kicks off on Saturday, sees newcomers Robbie and Ayda Williams and Louis Tomlinson join boss Simon Cowell on the judging panel as they attempt to seek out the best singers and performers.

Last year’s series of the ITV programme attracted an average audience of 6.3 million viewers: the lowest in its history.

Ratings have fallen every year since 2010, when ratings averaged 14.1 million each week.

Some 17.7 million people saw Matt Cardle crowned the winner in The X Factor final in 2010, but last year the number was just 5.8 million.

R&B/hip-hop group Rak-Su took the title in 2017, and they peaked at number two in the charts with their winning single Dimelo.

While The X Factor has waned, rival Saturday night prime time show Strictly Come Dancing has flourished.

Last year’s series of BBC1’s Strictly averaged 11.1 million viewers: the highest in its history.

Strictly’s average audience overtook The X Factor in 2012 and the gap has widened with each passing year.

Louis Tomlinson found fame on The X Factor in 2010 as part of One Direction (Thames/Syco/ITV)

Former Take That star Robbie and his wife Ayda, an actress, were drafted in by Cowell earlier this year, along with One Direction star Tomlinson, who found fame on the show back in 2010.

Tomlinson, 26, is the first former X Factor star to have a permanent judging panel role, and earlier this week he admitted that he feels a “duty of care” for the contestants, as he has been there himself.

The first episode will see Robbie, 44, hopping up on stage to join one of the hopefuls to sing a rendition of his hit Angels during the audition.

There will also be a familiar face as singer Janice Robinson, who sang on the hit Livin’ Joy song Dreamer in the 1990s, returns to have another shot at the music industry.

The X Factor airs at 8pm on Saturday on ITV, with the second episode following on Sunday at the same time.