For years, those X Factor judges have been saying “no” to tearful hopefuls, crushing dreams in the process.
But now, they’re getting a taste of their own medicine – the show is getting trounced by its BBC rival Strictly Come Dancing, with viewing figures at an all-time low.
Seemingly, all those changes Simon Cowell and co have made to The X Factor’s format in a bid to win ratings aren’t working.
And TV experts have suggested that the show may need to take desperate measures – switching from its Saturday-night primetime slot to avoid clashing with the Beeb’s dancing spectacular.
Back in its heyday, The X Factor was racking up 10.8 million viewers on a Saturday night.
But allegations of fixing, moans about the format and a conveyor belt of ‘novelty’ acts have all contributed to a steady decline in ratings.
To make matters worse, Strictly – which marries cabaret and comedy to brilliant effect – just so happens to start earlier than its ITV rival, causing an overlap.
And the combined result doesn’t make for happy reading for The X Factor producers.
Read more: X Factor hit by fresh fix claims
The opening night of the new series averaged just six million viewers – the lowest figure since the show first aired in 2004.
Strictly, on the other hand, averaged 9.4 million viewers, meaning Bruno Tonioli and the gang waltzed off with the lion’s share of Saturday couch potatoes.
And according to experts, it could soon be time for Cowell and co to admit defeat.
That’s not to say they’ll call it quits, but we could see the show moved to a different time slot.
Tom Harrington, from TV analysts Enders, told The Daily Star: “Strictly and The X Factor have been going head-to-head together in some capacity for years.
“Up to this time, that consistency indicates that for both the BBC and ITV the arrangement works.
“That may change, however, with The X Factor’s decline.”
As for the Strictly team, they’re on cloud nine, and even Len Goodman’s departure from the show has failed to rain on the parade.
“The figures are better than anyone had hoped for,” a source enthused to The Sun. “The show is getting bigger and bigger.
“The competition with The X Factor is well and truly won.”
In response to the claims, an ITV source told Mirror Online: “In terms of scheduling, we just focus on our show and where we think is the best slot for the programme.”