The X Factor faced another significant ratings slump as it shed 3 million viewers this weekend compared to the same point in last year's series.
The third episode of the 2012 series saw the huge drop as critics blasted the one-hour programme for featuring just five auditions and eight minutes of singing with more time filled with contestants’ personal stories.
An X Factor spokesman said: “We’re featuring the same amount of singers as we did last year, but we believe the standard of talent is higher in 2012.”
The show achieved an audience of 8.1million, paling in comparison to 2011’s 11.1million.
A Daily Mail source speculated that the time of year is likely to have affected the viewing figures, with many regular viewers away on holiday.