The seventh U.K. series of Simon Cowell's music talent show "The X Factor" opened with ratings of 11.1 million on ITV1, up on the 9.9 million for the first show last year.

But today (Aug. 23) all the attention has been on more negative reports about autotuning software used on the show in the U.K., and the departure of the Australian edition's host amid allegations he assaulted his girlfriend.

The admission that producers on the British show have improved contestants' voices followed comments made by viewers on Internet forums about the apparent vocal production. Gamu Nhengu, 18, was praised by judges for her rendition of "Walking on Sunshine" but some viewers easily spotted the production tweaks.

The BBC reports that a spokesman for the show said post-production work was necessary because of the number of microphones used during filming at auditions around the country.

"The judges make their decisions at the auditions stage based on what they hear on the day, live in the arena," the spokesman added. "The footage and sound is then edited and dubbed into a finished program, to deliver the most entertaining experience possible for viewers."

However, when the live studio filmed shows begin in the fall, there will not be any such post-production. "When it gets to the live shows, it will be all live," the spokesman added.

Australian Host Replaced

Meanwhile, the multi-million-dollar relaunch of Australia's "X Factor" TV talent quest has lost its host just days ahead of launch.

Actor Matthew Newton has been admitted to a private rehabilitation clinic citing "medical advice" just days out from the Aug. 30 series debut on the free-to-air Seven Network. Newton, the son of Australian TV entertainer Bert Newton, quit amid allegations he violently assaulted his actress girlfriend Rachael Taylor.

The 33-year-old actor's profile page has been removed from the "X Factor" website and a replacement, "Home and Away" actor Luke Jacobz, has been swiftly maneuvered into position.

However, it remains unclear as to how the broadcaster will deal with the footage Newton taped for early episodes in the show's run.

The "X Factor" franchise has failed to replicate the success of its U.K. counterpart. The first season appeared on the free-to-air Ten Network, but was cancelled due to poor ratings.

This time around, the show's producers Fremantle Media has assembled a judging panel strong on pop stars, one which features pop singers Natalie Imbruglia, Ronan Keating, Guy Sebastian and shock-jock Kyle Sandilands.