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X Factor rocked by new rows

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    Posted: 21 Nov 2011 at 11:24
X Factor rocked by new rows

X FACTOR bosses faced a fresh crisis last night as ratings, phone votes and ad rates plummeted.

Just 11.5million tuned in on Saturday — a million fewer than for BBC1 rival Strictly Come Dancing.

It was well short of figures for the same night last year, when the ITV1 show pulled in 13.3million viewers.

Bosses are losing income as phone votes dwindle.

And advertisers are demanding they slash the cost of a slot in the final from £250,000 to £200,000 for 30 seconds.

It could leave ITV down by as much as £3million on last year's estimated £21million X Factor final bonanza.

The acts are being blamed for failing to win big fan bases like One Direction and Matt Cardle last year.

A source said: "The best contestants this year are girls, and girls don't vote for girls.

"The line-up is really missing a heartthrob. Last year Matt made them a fortune in phone votes and One Direction had a huge following. That hasn't happened this year."

Last year more than 15.5million votes were cast, raising £5.4million from landlines alone. Bosses fear they will not get anywhere near that this year — after lavishing a huge budget on the series.

They splurged big fees on signing up stars Gary Barlow, Tulisa Contostavlos and Kelly Rowland to replace Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue alongside Louis Walsh on the judges panel.

They also splashed out on Wembley Arena for the live final — and supremo Cowell is still being paid as executive producer.

Last night ITV played down the voting drop, saying: "Viewers are continuing to interact in large numbers."

It insisted: "Demand from advertisers is as high as ever and there has been no decline in the premiums we are charging."

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