Cheryl Cole is to get a big pay rise for the next series of X Factor after giving the show a ratings boost, according to the papers.

The Sun reports that the Girls Aloud singer will nab £1.2m for the next series of the ITV1 talent show – considerably more than the £800,000 she was paid for the last series.

Insiders have said the raise is a reward for the key role she played in the last series, when she was mentor to the winner Alexandra Burke.

“Cheryl is the nation’s darling,” a source told the paper.

“We may be living in the toughest economic times in decades, but when someone helps a show pull nearly 15 million viewers as on last year’s X Factor final then you have to pay to keep them on board.

The raise means that Cheryl now earns three times as much as Dannii Minogue, who is on £450,000 for her work on the show.

And she is the second best paid judge behind Simon Cowell, who has an exclusive deal with ITV worth £20m over three years.

Louis Walsh receives a £600,000 pay packet while Dermot O’Leary is on £1m – and Cowell blocked a recent attempt to have his salary for the show cut.

“Everything was very rushed and we had to give Dermot a massive deal to get him on the show,” the source explained.

“It also included an ‘escalator’ which promised a pay rise every year. ITV did want to cut Dermot’s pay this year, but Simon Cowell said, ‘No way’.”

The pay rises come despite ITV’s recent financial problems which saw the axing 1,500 staff. However The X Factor is seen as the network’s flagship show and as such has been given a £6m boost.

Auditions for the sixth series are underway, with the judges visiting Glasgow this week. The show will return to screens in August.