Strictly Come Dancing or X Factor?

Nothing seems to make good entertainment like TV reality shows. Sitting in the comfort of our homes, we love to see the relative unknowns becomes favourites of the all the citizens of the British Union Jack. Two shows that are currently trying to edge each other out are Strictly Come Dancing (SCD) and X-Factor. SCD brings dancing professionals and celebrities together and is currently in its 8th season. The show is hosted by Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly. Standing shoulder to shoulder with SCD in terms of TV ratings is Simon Cowell’s X Factor. This singing competition is currently in its 7th season. Simon Cowell shares the judging table with Cheryl Cole, Dannii Minogue, and Louis Walsh.

Both shows have come a long way since their beginnings. During the long haul, each of them has tried to innovate in order to retain viewership. SCD underwent a revamp for this season in terms of sets as well as the professional dancers brought in. A change in the format of the inaugural episode was also brought in with the professional dancers being introduced to their celebrity partners. Not to forget the interesting pairing of Anton Du Beke with firebrand but matronly, Ann Widdecombe.

BBC officials worked around timings of both shows to make them more accessible to people with one being aired at 6:30 PM and the other 7:45 PM. This perhaps has to do with Simon Cowell going ballistic with BBC officials on timing both the shows competitively for two years in a row. Despite this, X-Factor seemed to have seen more people tune in to the inaugural episode. Perhaps the residual public anger over the sacking of popular SCD host Arlene Phillips and the entry of Alesha Dixon still remains.

Some of the other reasons working against SCD are the fact that they have been placed in a sub-prime time slot and don’t have as many high profile celebrities as X-Factor keeps throwing up. Both BBC and iTV refuse to accept that there is actually a ratings war going on between the two programs. However, it is there for all to see. Besides the celebrities on X-Factor, face offs like the one between Katie Waissel (pictured above) and Cher Lloyd will have people coming back for more.

That having been said, if the TV ratings charts of various companies are closely examined you will see that though X-Factor may be leading in the rat race now, but SCD seems to be slowly catching up. In fact audience share of the two programs tipped in favour of SCD around two weeks ago with them having a 0.5% advantage over their competitors. This could be attributed to the Saturday night shows or even possibly to the unbelievable pair of Anton and Anne.

Possibly another problem with shows such as these is the dependence on public opinion. Despite there being nationwide favourites on shows, you see dramatic exits such as that of Jimi Mistry and Flavia due to an unexpected turn of public voting. When you give the public such drama in reality shows, they are bound to expect a lot out of you. Both shows announced Halloween specials this year. While X-Factor managed to live it up a bit with costumes and theme based songs, SCD did not really do so well. The grapevine had Anne Widdecombe riding in on a horse when nothing of the sort happened. On the other hand, public interest has been especially heightened in X Factor with the promotion of Cheryl Cole’s latest new single “Promise This”. Several other celebrity judges have been able to promote their work via this show. It has worked both ways. The show got an increased celebrity factor and the public interest across age spectrums was duly maintained.

Cashing in on public interest both shows go out of the way to gather attention. Like when SCD brought together the famous Take That duo of Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow for a duet. Simon Cowell definitely turned all the shades of red.

The hosts and the judges of each of the shows are something to watch as well. For example how in the world does Tess Daly manage on those irreverently high heels? It has to be agreed that the selection rounds are the most hilarious in either one of the shows. Here X Factor judges seem to have a better sense of humour than SCD which makes the show all the more enjoyable. SCD is more staid when it comes to performances and prefers to make it all about the dancing. These judges have also been able to bring on a huge bevy of popular stars on the show which seems to have struck a chord with the audience.

And finally let’s come down to the participants. No doubts both shows have got talents the kinds of which are unprecedented. While X Factor has its Cheryl Cole and the Susan Boyle replica of Mary Byrne, SCD has Flexible Felicity (in the words of Bruno Tonioli) and Pamela Stephenson to set the stage on fire.

Any which way you look at it, the war between the two programs is on. In fact the lines on the graphs are so tightly knit, don’t be surprised to see a battle break out there as well.

Which do you prefer – Strictly Come Dancing or X Factor?

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