Belfast Telegraph

I haven't slept says triumphant Ben

X Factor winner Ben Haenow said he has not slept since his triumph - and is still coming to terms with his win.

The 29-year-old van driver from Croydon said the win had still not sunk in and explained: "I think it will take a couple of months before that happens."

Speaking on ITV's Lorraine programme this morning he said the experience of being in the show had been "incredible".

He told presenter Lorraine Kelly he had no sleep overnight since he triumphed over fellow finalist Fleur East.

"I sat in bed for an hour like that - literally thinking 'what just happened?'," he said.

He pointed out the contrast between the audience he has attracted on The X Factor and some of the crowds he pulled while he tried for many years to get a break with small gigs.

"We've played a lot of pubs and clubs and we didn't have a great turnout of people," he said.

Ben said the low point was when just one person attended a show.

"I think they got there accidentally. I don't think they turned up to see us. They had a good time whoever they were."

Although he has a round of promotion to push his winner's single Something I Need, which was released after last night's show, he expected to get a short break next week.

"I think I'm going to get a couple of days off over Christmas. Just relax and get back and see my family and have some good food."

He added: "The experience over The X Factor has been incredible and the people who work on The X Factor work so hard to make that show. I can't thank everybody enough."

The X Factor drew its lowest ever ratings for a finale as Ben had his moment of triumph.

The show had an average audience of 9.1 million viewers, 200,000 fewer than the previous low in 2005.

And it was a colossal eight million down on the 2010 final when Matt Cardle's win brought in an average audience of 17.2 million.

The climax of ITV's singing contest was beaten by the Strictly Come Dancing results show, which pulled in 9.6 million to see Jake Wood booted out at the semi-final stage.

The X Factor pulled in 9.7 million in 2013, when Sam Bailey landed her record deal.

Last night's figure included viewers of ITV's catch-up +1 channel, which were not included in the days when the previous low point of 9.3 million was recorded nine years ago.

The final also saw its peak audience tumble dramatically with a high of 10.5 million watching the winner crowned - compared with the 11.9 million figure in 2013.

The return of Simon Cowell and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini to the judging panel this year was expected to boost ratings but they appear to have been unable to affect the audience decline. They were last on the show in 2010 when Cardle's win had marked the ratings high.

X Factor's final had been up against the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year ceremony on BBC One, which drew an average of 6 million to see Lewis Hamilton take the top prize - 400,000 up on last year's viewing figure.

Simon, the chief judge and programme boss for The X Factor, has already indicated that the programme - which will run for at least another two years under a deal with ITV - needs a change in format.

"If you keep doing the same thing every year, eventually people will get fed up," he said last week.

The X Factor's audience has trailed that of Strictly - which has its final this Saturday - throughout the year.

However last night's final was up on the 8.3 million who watched last Sunday's semi-final results.

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