X Factor final ‘lowest rated in years’

The X Factor final pulled in disappointing ratings on Saturday night – becoming the least watched final since the climax of the very first series in 2004.

According to overnight figures an audience of 8.54m tuned in to see Sam Bailey, Nicholas McDonald and Luke Friend make their first bid for the series title and a life-changing record contract.

That represents a drop of 1m viewers from the first half of the 2012 final, which was watched by 9.5m viewers.

And it also pales in comparison to the first part of the 2010 final, when a massive 14.1m viewers tuned in to see One Direction eliminated.

The show also pulled in consistently strong figures for other finals, with 13.2m watching the first half in 2008 and 12.1m in 2009.

The figures also meant that it was beaten by Strictly Come Dancing once again, with 9.92m watching the semi-final between 6.40pm and 8.20pm on BBC One.

However Strictly also suffered a drop in audience, with the semi-final being the least popular since the 2009 series.

Saturday night’s X Factor saw Luke Friend finish in third place, leaving Sam and Nicholas to compete in Sunday night’s show.

Sunday’s show, which kicks off at 7.30pm on ITV, is expected to score a larger audience as the winner is crowned.