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Strictly in X Factor ratings duel

Strictly Come Dancing is favourite to triumph in the ratings battle against The X Factor as the two shows have their first head-to-head clash of the year tomorrow night.

BBC1's Strictly has been on a roll in the past two years while ITV's singing contest has seen its audience slide with bookies predicting the dance show will stay one ahead.

The programmes will both be screened at 8pm tomorrow evening for the debut of this year's Strictly, giving a rare direct clash and forcing fans to choose between them.

Bookmaker William Hill puts the BBC contest as the 1/3 favourite to come out on top. Spokesman Rupert Adams said: "We really like the look of the Strictly line-up and think that even the return of Cheryl will fail to save Simon blushes."

The X Factor has overhauled the judging panel this year with Simon Cowell and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini - formerly Cole - returning, in an effort to boost the show's fortunes.

But after a promising start on Saturday for the launch show last week which drew 9.5 million viewers, it had slipped 8.2 million the following night - which is 1.7 million fewer than the equivalent edition last year.

Pixie Lott is the best backed contestant to win this year's Strictly at 3/1 according to William Hill, with Saturdays star Frankie Bridge, Blue singer Simon Webbe and rugby star Thom Evans next up at 6/1.

Also taking part are Caroline Flack, Mark Wright, Sunetra Sarker, Jake Wood, Steve Backshall, Judy Murray, Scott Mills, Alison Hammond, Jennifer Gibney, Gregg Wallace and Tim Wonnacott.

Viewers will learn which professionals have been partnered with each of the celebrities during tomorrow's launch show.

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