Entertainment & Arts

X Factor final ratings at 10-year low

Fleur East Image copyright PA
Image caption Londoner Fleur East is the favourite to win this year's talent contest

Ratings for the X Factor final dipped to a 10-year low on Saturday, despite attracting more than a third of the available audience.

The ITV talent show drew an average audience of 8.4 million, including those watching on catch up services.

Only 2004 drew lower ratings, when 8.1 million watched Steve Brookstein become the first ever X Factor champion.

Italian Andrea Faustini was voted off the show, with Fleur East remaining the hot favourite to win the contest.

She and Ben Haenow will go head to head in the final show on Sunday.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Haenow sang Thinking Out Loud with Ed Sheeran on Saturday's show
Image copyright PA/Reuters
Image caption Faustini - who sang without the support of poorly mentor Mel B - was voted off

The singing contest has seen a marked decline in its audience over recent years. In 2010 - which saw Matt Cardle crowned the X Factor winner - the equivalent show drew 14.1 million viewers.

The return of Simon Cowell and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini to the judging panel has failed to boost viewing figures, with BBC One rival Strictly Come Dancing clearly emerging as the more popular of the two talent shows over the course of their respective runs this year

Strictly Come Dancing's semi-final was watched by 9.8 million viewers on Saturday, taking more than 42% of the available audience.

However, the BBC One show was also down 100,000 viewers on the equivalent show last year. Presenter Caroline Flack led the leader board on Saturday after receiving a perfect 40 from the judges for her Salsa, with partner Pasha Kovalev.

EastEnders star Jake Wood left the show on Sunday after finding himself in the dance-off with Towie star Mark Wright.

Wood, who plays Max Branning in the BBC soap, paid tribute to his partner Janette Manrara: "It's a huge disappointment to go out in the semi-finals, but for a 42-year-old dad-of-two, who's never danced before, Janette has worked wonders," he said.

Image copyright Guy Levy/PA
Image caption Caroline Flack receiving four '10s' for her salsa on Saturday

Faustini sang without the support of his X Factor mentor Mel B "on doctor's advice" on Saturday's X Factor show, as she was unwell.

Host Dermot O'Leary told the 10,000-strong crowd at Wembley Arena that the former Spice Girl was "absolutely gutted" to be absent.

Tulisa Contostavlos, a previous judge on X Factor, took her place on the panel, but it was confirmed on Sunday afternoon that Brown would be returning for the final showdown between East and Haenow.

It will be a triumphant year for the returning Simon Cowell, as he is mentor to both the remaining finalists.

Haenow and East have both recorded a version of the One Republic track Something I Need as their winner's single.

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