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Saturday 20 September 2014

10 million can't be wrong: it still has the X Factor

Published 10/09/2013 | 05:38

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Dublin contender Melanie McCabe.

This year's dollop of X Factor is hard to swallow...but 10 million people in the UK alone have an appetite for the latest series. The new series is more 'aw' factor than wow factor with sob stories and high emotion ramped up for maximum effect.

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Last weekend's contestants included a checkout girl and a bin lorry mechanic, plus a young yodeller who murdered One Direction's 'What Makes You Beautiful' and got away with it.

'I taught myself how to yodel,' said 17-year-old Barclay Beales. 'Just by watching videos.' I wonder is there any other way to learn.

Then there was Melanie McCabe from Dublin, making her fourth attempt at X Factor. Louis Walsh cried at the girl who revealed that her family were in the middle of losing their home.

'I'm at the point in my life when I feel like everything is falling down around me and I just want something good to happen,' said Melanie. The Irish girl might get her wish as she's now an early joint favourite to win the 2013 competition.

This year's format of 'double auditions' - where those put through from closed audtions on Saturday nights, go before a theatre audience of 4,000 on Sundays - is a bit pointless. Sunday's second auditions bring little surprise but lots of repetition. On the other hand, the return of Sharon Osbourne is to be welcomed. She brings a sense of fun to what could be a very dreary panel.

In the end, it doesn't matter what you or I think of X Factor. The ratings do not lie and the show attracted an average of 9.6 million viewers in Britain on Sunday night, giving it a 37.6% share of viewing between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. And, for five minutes on Sunday night, the audience peaked at 10.7 million, the highest viewing figure for any show over the weekend.

This is one million up on the fourth episode of the 2012 series.

The one cloud on the horizon is the BBC's 'Strictly Come Dancing' which narrowly beat X Factor in the ratings on its return Saturday night.

But there would appear to be plenty of room on the floor for two shows that are faring remarkably well in their old age.

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