Sunday 25 February 2018

X Factor final drew second-lowest season finale ratings despite Adele, One Direction and Coldplay

Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Simon Cowell achieved something of a coup by getting Adele on board to sing at Sunday night's X Factor final, but not even the hugely popular 'Hello' singer could save the ratings.

The Sunday night show, which saw Louisa Johnson and Reggie n Bollie go head to head in a sing-off to win the competition, drew an average of just 8.4 million viewers.

This was 1.1 million fewer than tuned in last year to see Ben Haenow win, and it was just 300,000 more than the lowest of 8.1 million who tuned in to see Steve Brookstein win the first year in 2004.

As well as Adele, Cowell brought One Direction on board to sing two songs from their new album, in what was billed as their last ever performance before their upcoming 18-month hiatus.

Louisa Johnson with mentor Rita Ora as she's announced the winner
Louisa Johnson with mentor Rita Ora as she's announced the winner

Coldplay also performed the lead single from their new album on the Wembley Stadium stage.

The drop in ratings may have had something to do with the fact that many fans saw the final as a one-horse race with Louisa the clear favourite to win.

On Saturday night, when Che Chesterman was eliminated, the show drew a paltry 5.95 million viewers, despite performances from Rod Stewart, Ben Haenow, Little Mix and Fleur East.

In contrast, rival BBC show Strictly Come Dancing's semi final drew an average 9.67 million viewers on Saturday and on Sunday it hit 10.8 million as Aniti Rani was eliminated in favour of Katie Derham.

This series of the X Factor has drawn an average of 7 million per episode compared to 8 million last year despite, or perhaps due to, Simon Cowell's shake-up.

He replaced long-standing presenter Dermot O'Leary with Olly Murs and Caroline Flack and regular judge Louis Walsh with BBC Radio One presenter Nick Grimshaw.  He also poached Rita Ora from BBC series The Voice.

The show has also been criticised for the controversial Six Chair Challenge round which can see acts win a chair to the next round only to lose it again, and for the 'gladiatorial' way in which the audience has been encouraged to shout out their opinions on the acts during the auditions process.

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