19 million watch U.K. 'X Factor' finale

53% share of the audience on Sunday night primetime

LONDON -- A record 19 million viewers watched the finale of the sixth series of ITV1's "X Factor" taking the show to its highest rating to date and underlining the power of big entertainment formats on television here.

Some 19.1 million viewers watched 18-year-old Joe McElderry declared the winner of the singing competition Sunday night, as he triumphed over runner-up Olly Murs.

The show averaged averaged 15.5 million viewers between 7.30 p.m. and 9.30 p.m., giving it a 53% share of the audience, according to unofficial overnight figures from ratings agency Barb.

Last night's finale peaked at 19.1 million viewers in the five minutes from 9.15 p.m. when McElderry was announced as the winner, according to ITV.

Previous "X Factor" finals have peaked at between 11 million and 13 million, but the show has yet to scale the heights of ITV's other ratings juggernaut "Britain's Got Talent," which is also fronted by Simon Cowell.

The two shows have dominated the ratings over the past few years, and this weekend "X Factor" continued the trend, trouncing the semi-final of BBC's biggest entertainment ratings winner "Strictly Come Dancing" -- the U.K version of "Dancing With The Stars" -- which had in the earlier years regularly beaten the ITV shows.
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