The second episode of The X Factor saw an emotional Simon Cowell break down in tears after an auditionee's moving performance. The 55-year-old talent show judge couldn't hide his personal pain as he listened intently to Josh Daniels heart-felt performance of Labrinth's Jealous on Sunday night's show.

The 21-year-old contestant told the panel that the song held a deep personal meaning to him since it captured his own sense of loss following the death of his best friend, who died in a car crash at the age of 18. "I lost my best friend a couple of years ago and I interpret it in a totally different way," he explained to the judges.

The pre-recorded scenes were filmed shortly after the death of Cowell's mother Julie Brett on July 5. The emotional lyrics left Cowell visibly moved and unable to hold back tears.

The music mogul tried in vain to compose himself as Cheryl Fernandez-Versini looked on. The performance left Cheryl similarly affected and the singer was so overwhelmed she too was barely able to speak. "You meant every word of that," she said fighting tears. "That was the most captivated I've been in all the auditions so far." She approached Daniel for a hug and could be heard saying tohim " I ams o sorry for whatever you have been through."

New judge Nick Grimshaw said: "That really got me right in the heart." Cowell, clearly still heartbroken by the loss of his 89-year-old mother, was so distraught he was unable to offer his comments after the audition. Giving a yes to Daniel, who was the last auditionee of the day, he and the rest of the judges made their way out of the arena.

The performance also moved members of the watching audience who turned to Twitter in a show of sympathy for Cowell. "Definitely just cried at Josh's performance #XFactor" said one fan. "Never seen @SimonCowell like that before, #XFactor I cried" said another.

Immediately after the death of his mother, Cowell cancelled the first round of X Factor auditions. He had been due to appear at auditions for the ITV competition in Manchester on 5 July. Confirming Julie's death, Cowell and his siblings, Tony, Michael and Nicholas, and step-brother and step-sister John and June, released a statement which read: "Today our beloved mum Julie passed away. Anyone who had met her would know what a truly special and kind lady she was. We are heartbroken and will miss her terribly, but she is now at peace."

According to the Mail Online, his brother Tony added: "Very sad night tonight. We will all miss Mum so very much. She was the heart and soul of our family." An insider reportedly told The Sun: "Simon is absolutely devastated. His mum was the most beloved person in his life and they were incredibly close."

The show also saw Rita Ora in tears as she watched Sean Miley Moore's evocative rendition of 'The Show Must Go On'.

The emotive programme was in stark contrast to the series launch event, when fans were able to witness the fun interplay between Simon Cheryl and the newbie judges. While Twitter was divided over the success of the 12th series' debut, figures show it attracted just 7.11million (a 35.9% share of viewers), with a further 536k (2.9%) watching on +1 - down two million from the previous year and the lowest ratings in it's ten year history.