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A million viewers abandon X Factor
The X Factor has lost more than a million viewers in a year, overnight figures show.
The show, which began its live stage on Saturday night with Gary Barlow announcing he was to step down, is 1.1 million viewers down compared to the equivalent show in 2012.
And it was way behind BBC1 rival Strictly Come Dancing which increased its lead with 1.7 million more viewers.
The X Factor's live debut - after weeks of pre-recorded stages - pulled in an average of 8.1 million viewers on ITV (including viewers of the +1 catch-up channel). The audience peaked at 9.5 million.
But at the equivalent stage last year the figure was 9.2 million, making it the highest viewed programme of the night, with a peak of 10.3 million.
Strictly has been romping ahead this year and on Saturday night it had its highest audience of the series with 9.8 million viewers as Natalie Gumede topped the leader board. The show had a peak of 10.9 million.
The slip in X Factor figures comes despite innovations in the show to boost interest in the programme, including the "flash vote" which was used for the first time on Saturday night. The drop comes after a major audience slump last year.