Entertainment & Arts

X Factor returns with a ratings boost

Sharon Osbourne
Image caption Sharon Osbourne returns after six years away

The return of The X Factor to Saturday night saw the ITV show win back some of the viewers it lost for last year's opening show.

An average 9.2 million tuned in to watch the launch show, peaking at 9.7 million, to see the return of Sharon Osbourne to the judging panel.

Sunday night's show was watched by even more viewers, averaging 9.9 million and peaking at 10.4 million.

Last year's opener fell to 8.7 million, down on the 12 million of 2011.

Boss Simon Cowell has promised changes to boost flagging ratings.

One of the big changes is the re-introduction of intimate auditions before the judging panel before contestants perform in front of an arena audience.

Image caption Sam Bailey was the surprise hit of the first audition

Osbourne has been brought back to replace the departed Tulisa Contostavlos. She was last on the judging panel in 2007, having been one of the original cast back when it started in 2004.

One of the highlights of Saturday's show was the appearance of prison officer Sam Bailey, who surprised the judges with her rendition of Beyonce's Listen, which saw all four judges rise to their feet in admiration.

From the start The X Factor will be running two shows every weekend, with the Sunday night programme showing the contestants performing in front of a live audience as well as the judges.

The BBC's own Saturday night entertainment staple, Strictly Come Dancing, returns on Saturday,

The two shows will have a short overlap between Strictly ending and X Factor starting.

The full line-up of Strictly Come Dancing contestants will be revealed on Wednesday night but four names have already been disclosed.

Broadcaster Vanessa Feltz, Countdown maths whizz Rachel Riley, golfer Tony Jacklin and Abbey Clancy, wife of footballer Peter Crouch, will all be donning Lycra and sequins for the new series.

ITV launched its own celebrity dancing shown on Saturday.

Stepping Out, which saw six celebrity couples learning to dance together, attracted an average of 3.7 million for its first show.

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