‘The X Factor’ returns to 10.5 million viewers

Interest in talent show's new line-up pulls in huge audiences

The X Factor returned with an audience of 10.5 million on Saturday (August 20), according to overnight viewing figures.

The talent show came back for its annual talent search marathon, but executives had been concerned that viewers might desert it following the departure of its star judge Simon Cowell. The record executive was replaced in the ‘Mr Nasty’ role by Take That leader Gary Barlow.

He was joined on the judging panel by Destiny’s Child star Kelly Rowland, Tulisa Contostavlos from N-Dubz and show veteran Louis Walsh.

Interest in the new line-up appeared to create a surge of interest in the show, with the opening night audience peaking at 11.1 million, the highest in the show’s history, according to BBC News. But it remains to be seen whether the show can maintain those numbers after the interest in the launch night. Producers have said that Cowell will remain “a huge presence backstage.”

The most talked about hopeful from 16-year-old Janet Devlin from Northern Ireland, who impressed judges with her Ellie Goulding-inspired version of Elton John‘s ‘Your Song’.