The series refresh of ITV 1's The X Factor format introducing new judges singer Rita Ora and DJ Nick Grimshaw failed to hit the high notes last night with audiences. It was revealed today (6 September) that last night's return of Strictly Come Dancing waltzed off with the TV ratings trophy, by pulling more than one million more viewers on average.
Strictly's launch crossed over with the The X Factor by 20 minutes. The ballroom dance show broadcast from 7.15pm on BBC One was watched by an average of 8.69 million viewers – topping last year's series debut of 8.43 million.
In comparison, the ITV1 singing show drew in a 7.13 million viewers. The catch-up repeat on ITV1 added 389,000, but that was still not enough to stem the possibility of a failing format for Midas touch music mogul and frontman Simon Cowell.
At 8.15pm, when The X Factor started, and the two shows overlapped briefly, Strictly trounced ITV1's commercial cash cow. It recorded an audience of 9.04 million compared to The X Factor's 5.44 million.
The news will come as a blow for Cowell who had boasted about this year's series as the best yet. He had removed veteran judge Louis Walsh and newcomer Spice Girl Mel B to make room for new judging talent.
The debut of The X Factor's new series last Saturday disappointed viewers who continued to desert the talent show. The much-hyped premiere, that was backed with a prime-time advertising campaign recorded the lowest debut viewing figures since the second series of the show in 2005 and dropped more than one million viewers from the launch of the 2014 series. That debut included the return to the UK judging chair of "nation's sweetheart" Cheryl Ferdandez-Versini after her brutal axing from the US version of the show in 2011.
Dancing with 'celebrities'
Chef and TV personality Ainsley Harriot kicked off proceedings on Strictly with his dance partner Natalie Lowe as he tried to rustle up a recipe for success. Other celebrities on this year's Strictly include Irish crooner Daniel O'Donnell, pop and reality TV star Peter Andre, newscaster Jeremy Vine, and sports presenter Kirsty Gallacher.
During the programme dancer Ola Jordan was subject to an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction as her dance partner, Olympic Games sprinter Iwan Thomas, spun her round in celebration after completing a difficult dance move.
The dancer later tweeted, "Ha ha! @Iwanrunner Brilliant! In this 1 second he ripped my skirt, broke my nail and my boobs popped out!! This is going to be great series."
The debut of Strictly has already been mired by a row over same-sex pairings for the dance comptetition. Openly gay Eggheads quiz star CJ de Mooi, who is in a civil partnership, told the Daily Mirror that he had been approached and then turned down for the show after requesting a male dance partner.