Entertainment & Arts

X Factor final seen by 17 million

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Media captionMatt Cardle: 'It feels strange to win X Factor'

More than 17 million viewers tuned in to see Matt Cardle win this year's X Factor, early overnight figures show.

An average 17.2m people saw the former painter and decorator from Colchester, Essex come first on the ITV1 show.

At its peak at 2045 GMT, it was watched by 18.8m - almost 60% of the total viewing audience across all networks.

The 27-year-old told ITV1's Daybreak he was still "numb" after Sunday night's victory over Rebecca Ferguson and teen group One Direction.

"I have not really got the feeling back yet," he said on Monday. "I am still in a bit of a spin about the whole thing."

The X Factor's main competition for audiences came from BBC One, where 5.8m and 4.1m tuned in to watch Antiques Roadshow and Inspector George Gently respectively.

The UK snooker championship attracted 1.3m on BBC Two, while an average of 1.1m saw Celebrity Come Dine With Me on Channel 4.

'One heck of a nice guy'

Cardle's debut single - a cover of Biffy Clyro's Many of Horror, to be released as When We Collide - will now be a strong contender for Christmas number one.

After reprising the song on Sunday and being mobbed by his fellow contestants, Cardle joked: "I hope next time I sing it, I sing it a little bit better than that."

Biffy Clyro's original is already in the Top 20, and a campaign has started to get the original to number one at Christmas.

Image caption Liverpudlian Rebecca Ferguson was beaten in the public vote and finished second behind Cardle

Cardle told Daybreak he was "really happy" with the choice of debut song, saying it was "not your average X Factor single".

"All I can wish for is that the people who voted go out and get the record," said the man that judge Simon Cowell had called "one heck of a nice guy".

The singer also paid tribute to his fellow finalists, calling Ferguson "one of the sweetest girls you could ever ask to meet".

Liverpudlian Ferguson was graceful in defeat on Sunday, saying she was "happy to get this far".

Her mentor Cheryl Cole, meanwhile, described her as "an absolute dream to work with".

'Just the beginning'

Cowell said he was "absolutely gutted" for his group One Direction, but added: "This is just the beginning for these boys."

According to figures released by ITV, 15.4m votes were cast during the 10-week series.

Cardle scored the most votes every week, apart from the first week when supermarket worker Mary Byrne came top.

Image caption Simon Cowell said he was "absolutely gutted" for One Direction, who finished third

The figures showed that if the act with the lowest number of votes had been eliminated - rather than be saved by the judges - finalist Cher Lloyd would have been sent home in Week Seven.

It also revealed that girl group Belle Amie would have been sent home in Week Two rather than in Week Four and that Katie Waissel would not have scraped past Week Five to survive until Week Eight.

On Saturday show, the finalists performed duets with some of the biggest names in pop, including Rihanna and Robbie Williams.

One Direction sang She's the One with Williams, while the star returned on Sunday with his Take That bandmates to perform with the final three acts.

Cardle sang with chart-topper Rihanna, while Christina Aguilera performed with Ferguson.

But teaming up with Black Eyed Peas star Will.i.am did not stop teenager Lloyd being voted out of the competition that night.

Cardle's victory gives Dannii Minogue her second winning act of the show, following Leon Jackson in 2007.

Cole's acts Joe McElderry and Alexandra Burke won the last two competitions.

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