Strictly leaves X Factor in its wake in weekend ratings clash

Strictly Come Dancing waltzed all over The X Factor in the overnight ratings as the two talent show giants clashed for the first time on Sunday.

The BBC One ballroom series aired its results show, which saw former athlete Iwan Thomas become the first celebrity to be voted out of the series. It drew an average audience of 7.83m with a 33.2% share of the total TV audience.

Over on ITV, an average of 7.49m (including those watching on ITV +1) were glued to X Factor's six chair challenge, which achieved a share of 32.4%.

The figure for fans who viewed just on ITV was 7.12m.

However, X Factor's peak was higher than Strictly's at 9.26m, which includes the figure for ITV +1, compared with 8.13m for the BBC One show.

At 8.8m, the peak for Cowell's singing competition was also higher than Strictly's for those who watched the drama unfold on ITV.

During the show, Simon Cowell, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Nick Grimshaw and Rita Ora were given the categories they will be mentoring this series (overs, groups, boys and girls respectively) and judge Ora selected her final six for the judges' houses stage of the competition.

Back in August, X Factor supremo Cowell had laughed off any talk of a ratings rivalry with Strictly, joking about the lack of a star-studded line-up.

He had claimed his show could easily beat Strictly, saying: "I'd hate to say yes, because I know what will happen if I say yes, it will come back and haunt me.

"This show does feel better, the talent's great, they're interesting, so if it's us versus Peter Andre, I'm going to put my money on us."

Despite losing to Strictly once again in the ratings, Cowell can take heart from the general upward trend of X Factor's Sunday night ratings.

On August 30, the ITV singing show's first Sunday broadcast aired to an average of only 5.94m viewers (not including fans watching via timeshift on ITV +1).

The BBC will be very encouraged by the consistent performance of their celebrity dancing series.

Although it has dropped slightly from the 8.69m who tuned in for the glitzy launch, Strictly has so far maintained an audience above 7.6m viewers.

In an attempt to avoid the two series clashing, ITV published episode times for X Factor right up until the final in December.

However, the two shows are set to coincide over the coming weeks.