Tom Harrington was quoted in an article on the contrasting performances of Strictly and the X Factor, which have raised questions about whether the ITV show has fallen into terminal decline despite creator Simon Cowell attempting to shake it up this year. Tom said singing contests had become “stale” and questioned whether ITV would continue to put the X Factor up against Strictly. He said “shows are often moved around, including by the BBC, which sits on top of the channel listing but doesn’t have everything its own way – it moved The Big Family Cooking Showdown, so as not to clash with Bake Off on Channel 4, and it brought forward Poldark so as not to share a Sunday night again with ITV’s Victoria. Strictly and X Factor have been going head to head in some capacity for years and, up to this time, that consistency indicates that for both the BBC and ITV that arrangement works. That may change, however, with X Factor’s decline”. Tom added that despite the X Factor’s falling audience it remained valuable to ITV. The programme reaches more 16- to 34-year-olds than Strictly – a valuable market for advertisers – and its viewing figures are expected to rise significantly when people watching the X Factor on catch-up services or recordings are taken into account. He said “X Factor has been slipping since the heights of the late 2000s when the discovery of acts like Matt Cardle and Little Mix resonated with viewers. Singing contests have inevitably grown somewhat stale, a trend hurried along by the sheer number of them – in the past year, BBC has announced that neither Pitch Battle nor Garry Barlow’s Let It Shine will return for a second season. That being said, even as it stands X Factor remains a guaranteed pull for a sizeable audience, and one that is relatively young. It is important to note that on Saturday, X Factor was markedly more popular amongst the 16 to 34s than Strictly”.