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Strictly ahead in TV ratings war

Strictly Come Dancing scored a further ratings victory last night as it beat rival The X Factor for a second night running.

Saturday's edition of the BBC1 dance contest pulled in an average audience of 8.1 million, while the ITV singing show drew 7.7 million, including viewers of its +1 catch-up channel.

But Strictly was actually down by more than a million on the 9.2 million who tuned in to see the second instalment of the series' launch last year.

The dance show's launch on Friday had 700,000 more viewers than The X Factor, after ITV unusually opted to screen an extra edition in a head-to-head clash. Simon Cowell's show was left with one of its lowest ever audiences, with just 5.8 million.

Last night's X Factor, with the series at the "boot camp" stage, was almost on a par with the 2013 equivalent edition which drew 7.8 million.

Strictly viewers saw pop star Frankie Bridge achieve the highest score of this year's new celebrity contestants.

The Saturdays singer and her dance partner Kevin Clifton impressed the judges with their waltz to Adele's Someone Like You.

Supported in the audience by her bandmates and husband, former England footballer Wayne Bridge, the 25-year-old was praised for her "graceful" performance with an umbrella prop.

With a mark of 30 out of 40, Len Goodman said: "That without doubt is the best dance of week one."

Bruno Tonioli said: "Deliciously romantic, I lived every moment with you. Because one thing is dancing, another thing is giving meaning to what you do.

"What a way to start."

Craig Revel Horwood said: "Graceful, elegant, romantic, you followed Kevin's lead beautifully."

Darcey Bussell added: "You are a joy to watch."

After her routine, Bridge said: "It feels like it didn't happen now, but it felt good. The pressure is on now."

With no public vote or elimination this weekend, the scores are carried over to next week, when the first couple will leave the competition.

Friday night's scoreboard leader Jake Wood - best known for playing Max Branning in EastEnders - was given 28 by the judges for his jive to Good Golly Miss Molly with partner Janette Manrara.

Blue star Simon Webbe and This Morning presenter Alison Hammond were also praised by the judges for their performances.

After Hammond performed the Cha Cha to Chaka Khan's I'm Every Woman, Revel Horwood said: "That is one of the most confident performances for a first time I think I've ever seen.

"You have an instinctive gift towards music and rhythm and dance. I thought it was exuberant and a joyous experience."

Goodman said: "You're my type of girl - big, bold and bouncy."

But Masterchef presenter Gregg Wallace was left at the bottom of tonight's scoreboard when he failed to impress the judges.

After dancing the Cha Cha to Katy Perry's Hot N Cold, Revel Horwood said the performance was "sub-zero".

"You were like a wind-up toy out there," he said. "It was like a pressure cooker about to explode."

But Bussell admitted she "weirdly liked that".

"Your little bottom sticks out," she said. "Your shoulders have a life of their own. But there's something OK. I actually like you without your glasses as well."

Meanwhile, former The Only Way Is Essex star Mark Wright, who performed the Cha Cha to I'm Your Man by Wham!, was supported in the audience by fiancee Michelle Keegan.


From Belfast Telegraph