X Factor semi-final audience drops

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: The X Factor semi-final attracted 2.6 million fewer viewers than last year The X Factor semi-final attracted 2.6 million fewer viewers than last year

The X Factor saw its semi-final audience plummet with 2.6 million fewer viewers than last year, while rival Strictly Come Dancing continued to be a step ahead.

The ITV1 singing contest drew an average of eight million during the 90-minute show, as its ratings slump across the series continued.

At this stage last year the Saturday night edition of the show had pulled in 10.6 million viewers. But compared with the 2010 semi it has proved to be even more disastrous, with the audience dropping almost 42% on the 13.7 million who tuned in two years ago.

Strictly won the ratings battle again last night with an average of 9.9 million viewers. However, even the BBC1 show saw a slight drop on the previous year when it pulled in 10.3 million for the equivalent show.

X Factor normally experiences a lift in viewer interest as it reaches its climax, but last night's semi-final was actually down 200,000 on the previous Saturday.

The show has seen its fortunes wane since show supremo Simon Cowell left the judging panel after the 2010 series. The failure to produce a significant rise as the series nears its end will probably cause some concerns for ITV bosses who normally saw The X Factor as one of their bankers in terms of audiences and advertising.

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