Strictly: Millions See Louis Smith Take Gold

Almost half the entire television audience tuned in to watch Olympian Louis Smith win gold on Strictly Come Dancing.

Strictly trounced this year's X Factor final with an audience of 14 million at its peak, while averaging 12.4 million during the main show.

This accounted for 49% of the total audience during the 85-minute programme and was 1.3 million up on its ITV rival's final two weeks ago.

The later results show, which saw Smith take the crown, was watched by 11.9 million people.

The Olympic silver medallist came top of the public vote after stripping down to a pair of skin-tight leggings for a showdance with his professional partner Flavia Cacace.

The 23-year-old delivered a spectacular routine to pick up the glitterball trophy ahead of Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh and Denise van Outen.

Actress Dani Harmer was the first to be knocked out in the final, leaving after the first two dances.

When asked how the victory compared with the London Olympics, Smith said: "They are both very different, but I can finally say I've won something in the year 2012."

He earned a quartet of 10s from the judges after lifting his partner high above his head and performing a handstand on top of a giant globe.

Judge Darcey Bussell told him: "You blew me away. That had grace, it had fluidity. It was sensual as well."

Smith received praise from all four judges, with Bruno Tonioli saying he had the "strength of a superhuman" while Craig Revel Horwood described it as "fabulous and amazing".

After the show, Smith said he was smiling so much his cheeks were "starting to shake".

He described the win as "just mad", and put the pair's victory down to being "a partnership".

Smith said he had the perfect place for his newest trophy - as a centrepiece in his new home.

He said: "I have just got a house being built with a nice fireplace, and I'm hoping it is going to go right at the top, right in the middle."

Meanwhile former ballet star Bussell has been confirmed to return as a judge for a second series after proving popular with viewers.

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes