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X Factor loses one million viewers to Strictly

The X Factor live shows got off to a bad start this weekend losing an estimated one million viewers to its prime-time rival Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1.

Approximately 10.9 million viewers watched the first X Factor live show of the year on Saturday night in which the 16 remaining finalists performed in front of both the judges and the public.

Although ratings for Saturday's show peaked at 12.7 million that was almost a million less viewers than the 13.5 million who watched the programme last year.

The drop in ratings will have come as a surprise for ITV as the X Factor had increased its viewing figures in the early weeks of the show thanks in part to the inclusion of new judges Gary Barlow, Tulisa Contostavlos and Kelly Rowland.

Simon Cowell is reported to have taken a £200,000 hit in X Factor profits following his decision to have no public vote in the opening weekend of live shows.

However, his decision to make the judges kick one of their acts out of the competition in an attempt to revitalise the show's format appears to have backfired.

To add to ITV's woes a large number of viewers complained about the amount of advertising during Saturday night's programme with 30 out of the show's 90 minutes taken up by ads.

In contrast to the X Factor's slump, Strictly Come Dancing managed to entice an extra million viewers back to BBC following a disappointing opening fortnight.

An estimated 8.7 million people watched Saturday's live show compared to the 7.98 million and 7.5 million who tuned in for Strictly's first two weeks back on air.

BBC had initially blamed the loss of viewers on last weekend's heatwave, but ITV bosses will now be hoping that the X Factor's drop in popularity on Saturday was just a temporary blip.

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