The ratings for this year’s X Factor final went up compared with last year, overnight ratings show.
An average of 5.3 million people tuned in to watch Dalton Harris beat Anthony Russell and Scarlett Lee on ITV on Sunday.
It was a far cry from the 17 million who watched Matt Cardle win in 2010, when the show was at its peak.
But it was an improvement on last year’s overnight figure of five million, when Rak-Su triumphed.
The viewing figures do not include those who watched on +1.
“Obviously, it’s only a minor increase but I think The X Factor did rectify a couple of format holes this year,” says Shaun Kitchener, digital entertainment editor at The Daily Express online.
“For example with the elimination process, the sing-off last year was between the top two rather than the bottom two, so they’ve brought the old style back.
“And getting rid of [former judges] Louis Walsh and Sharon Osborne, much as they felt like part of the furniture, did make it more exciting.”
One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson, Robbie Williams and wife Ayda Field joined Simon Cowell on the panel this year.
What next for The X Factor?
Despite the lower ratings in recent years, The X Factor – along with Britain’s Got Talent – is set to stay on air until 2022, according to Cowell.
“We’ve just been offered an extension on both shows because of the 16 to 34-year-old audience,” he told The Sun last month.
“We’re losing people now but fortunately the young audience has actually grown this year and all the advertisers and the sponsors want that income on a Saturday.”
Kitchener points out: “As much as the viewing figures are down for The X Factor, in this day and age it’s still quite hard to get five million on a Saturday night.
“Maybe ITV are thinking, ‘Well if we don’t have X Factor, what else are we going to have?'”
ITV controller Kevin Lygo recently said it is still “an incredibly important show for us for all sorts of reasons” and that they were working hard to “keep it fresh”.
He told the Edinburgh TV Festival in August: “Ratings have been going down a bit but it’s still enormous. The idea that you could launch a new show today that would be as big as The X Factor is now… nobody’s done it in years and years.”
The success of Britain’s Got Talent is also significant – it may have encouraged ITV to renew The X Factor in order to keep a good relationship with Cowell and therefore cement the continuation of the summer talent show.
What can Dalton expect next?
Possibly a Christmas number one – but, although it used to be a seasonal tradition, no X Factor winner has had a festive chart-topper since Ben Haenow in 2014.
Last year’s winners Rak-Su went to number two. Their follow-up entered the chart at number 39.
They were recently dropped from Cowell’s record label Syco – a fate also suffered by other recent winners such as Matt Terry, Louisa Johnson, Haenow and Sam Bailey.
In fact, James Arthur is the only X Factor winner to remain on Syco.
(Little Mix, the most successful X Factor winners, also split from the label last month, but because of disagreements over their management rather than poor record sales.)
Other X Factor winners have forged different careers – Alexandra Burke, for example, has gone on to a successful career in the West End and appeared on Strictly Come Dancing last year.
“In terms of top tier success, you do have to go back to James Arthur and Little Mix, which was five or six years ago now,” says Kitchener.
“The charts are so different now, it feels like the ‘pop star’ is less a thing. It’s more about how individual songs fare, and how they do on streaming. The process of making a pop star isn’t as straightforward as it was back then.”
Harris is now a double talent show winner
Harris’s winner’s single – a cover of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s The Power of Love – was released straight after Sunday’s final.
The Jamaican-born singer was mentored by One Direction star Louis Tomlinson on his first season as an X Factor judge.
“I think I’m still not able to feel anything, it’s just crazy,” Harris told ITV’s Lorraine on Monday.
“I found my artistry with [Tomlinson], we worked well together, and he’s a really good friend.”
Harris has previously won the Jamaican equivalent of The X Factor – taking home the show’s prize of one million Jamaican dollars ($7,900, £6,200) in 2010.
He went on to release three albums, but said he decided to enter the UK competition to reach a wider audience.
“I needed to go to school, and I needed to be able to take care of myself, because I was a homeless kid, so entering that competition enabled me to take care of myself,” he told Lorraine.
“So it was kind of a big help, and then I knew I wanted to be an artist and I knew I had to go to a big platform.”