Strictly Come Dancing dominates X Factor: Celebrity final in ratings battle

By Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter

Strictly Come Dancing’s musicals week trumped the X Factor: Celebrity final in the Saturday night ratings battle.

An average of 2.6 million viewers tuned in to ITV to watch former The Only Way Is Essex star Megan McKenna crowned the first winner of Simon Cowell’s spin-off show.

The broadcaster said 34% of young people watching TV had viewed the show’s climax.

But Strictly’s quarter final on BBC One drew an average audience of 9.4 million, according to overnight figures.

The show, which saw Karim Zeroual claim the first perfect score of 40 this series, was the most watched across all channels and of the series so far.

The inaugural series of X Factor: Celebrity launched in October with an average of 4.8 million viewers – down on the 5.5 million who saw Dalton Harris win the X Factor in 2018.

Karim Zeroual on Strictly Come Dancing (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

Music mogul Cowell hoped to halt the franchise’s falling viewing figures by refreshing the brand with two new versions – Celebrity and The Band.

X Factor: The Band is currently in production.

Saturday night’s X Factor: Celebrity final saw McKenna beat off competition from professional quizzer Jenny Ryan, girl band V5 and identical twins Max and Harvey.

Simon Cowell (Matt Crossick/PA)

It also featured the Pussycat Dolls in their first public performance in a decade.

X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger was joined by Ashley Roberts, Kimberly Wyatt, Carmit Bachar and Jessica Sutta for a risque medley of their hits against a backdrop of flames.

Smoke guns fired and lasers lit up the stage as they danced to Buttons, When I Grow Up and Don’t Cha, before being joined by a troupe of male back-up dancers.