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'The X Factor' U.K. Draws Lowest Season Finale Ratings Since 2005

Nicole Scherzinger press conference P
Ray Mickshaw / FOX
Nicole Scherzinger sat on "The X Factor" U.K. judging panel this year.

Sunday's season 10 finale of the Simon Cowell-created show on ITV drew an average of 9.7 million viewers.

LONDON -- The U.K. season finale of The X Factor on Sunday drew an average audience of 9.7 million, becoming the lowest-rated season-ending episode of the show since 2005, according to ratings consultancy Attentional.

Sunday night's episode of the Simon Cowell-created singing competition on ITV brought to an end the 10th season of the talent show in Britain and was the most watched show of the night in the U.K. despite its drop from previous seasons.

Last season, the finale had attracted 10.9 million, or 11.1 million when including the audience for the re-airing. In 2011, ITV had reached an average audience of 13.1 million for the final episode, while in 2010, an audience of 17.2 million had tuned in for the show's highest-rated finale ever.

Sunday's audience performance beat out 2005 when the finale drew an average of 8.1 million viewers, according to data from that time period, following 9.7 million in 2004.

A peak audience of 11.9 million watched this Sunday, again falling behind last season when the finale had peaked with 12.8 million.

The first part of The X Factor season finale on Saturday night had drawn fewer viewers, becoming the lowest-rated Saturday finale episode since the show's launch in 2004. The average Saturday audience amounted to 8.5 million, including viewers catching up on the show with an hour delay, down about 1 million on the final Saturday last year. But it was enough to make the episode the highest-rated Saturday night live show of the 10th season.

ITV has seen the show remain one of the highest-rated entertainment shows on British TV, but it has been drawing weaker ratings in recent years. Cowell had an on-air role through the 2010 season. BBC's dance competition Strictly Come Dancing, ITV's own I'm a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here and Downton Abbey have beaten it this season, at least in some instances.

The U.K. audience average for the full The X Factor season generally trended higher from the 7.4 million in the first season until a high of 14.1 million in season seven. But the average fell to 9 million last season from 12.4 million in 2011.

The 10th season featured judges Gary Barlow, Nicole Scherzinger, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh. Changes to the panel and format are expected next season.

ITV recently renewed The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent for three more years.  

"Thank you to the entire production team who worked on X factor   uk. And of course the judges and the talent. And to everyone who watched," tweeted Cowell on Monday. "And next week it's the X factor USA final. You have no idea what goes on behind the scenes! It's going to be a great final. Watch and see."

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai