Ratings tumble for 'X Factor' final

The 'X Factor' ratings slide has continued, with Sunday’s final pulling in two million fewer UK viewers than last year.

Figures from ITV show that last night’s two-hour programme, which was won by James Arthur, had an average audience of 11.1 million compared with the 13.1 million who watched Little Mix win in 2011.

It is only two years since 17.2 million tuned in to see Matt Cardle triumph in the 2010 competition.

The figures are more bad news for the show, which again failed to beat BBC1 rival 'Strictly Come Dancing' on Saturday night – trailing by 1.3 million viewers.

The singing show has trailed the BBC’s ballroom programme throughout the year - at one stage by up to two million viewers.

It has seen its fortunes wane since supremo Simon Cowell left the judging panel after the 2010 series.

The failure to produce a significant rise as the series reached its climax will be a huge concern for ITV bosses.

'The X Factor' has for many years been one of their bankers in terms of audiences and advertising.

Changes to the show’s structures are expected to be brought in next year in a bid to boost audiences, but Cowell has agreed to do a third series of his US version of the X Factor which all but rules him out for a return to rescue the UK viewing figures.

There have been reports that some judges, including Gary Barlow, could face the chop with rumours of a return for former stalwarts Sharon Osbourne and Cheryl Cole.

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