The surprise exit of Sophie Habibis from The X Factor was seen by 11.93m (42%) on ITV1 from 8pm, peaking at 13.14m (44.5%) for the last 15 minutes.
Strictly Come Dancing just lagged behind with 10.43m (39.2%) on BBC One between 7.30pm and 8pm, as Nancy Dell'Olio became the latest celebrity to exit the new series.
The X Factor grabbed a further 255k (0.9%) on ITV1+1, and spinoff show The Xtra Factor grabbed 1.03m (3.9%) for ITV2 from 9pm. Afterwards, series three of The Only Way Is Essex continued with 1.14m (6.6%) on ITV2 from 10.15pm and 120k (1.5%) on timeshift.
Also on the multi-channels, Misfits returned to E4 with 885k (4.7%) in the 10pm slot and 222k (2.5%) on timeshift.
Back on the terrestrials, Songs of Praise stayed tuneful with 2.94m (14.7%) from 5.30pm, Countryfile nabbed an impressive 8.17m (35.1%) from 7pm and Antiques Roadshow took 6.49m (22.9%) from 8pm. Da Vinci: The Lost Treasure was enjoyed by 2.8m (10.3%) in the 9pm slot, and Have I Got a Bit More News For You amused 2.33m (15.2%) from 10.30pm.
ITV1's The Cube returned with 4.13m (16.2%) from 6.45pm and 133k (0.5%) on +1. Downton Abbey climbed to 9.71m (36.5%) on ITV1 from 9pm and 242k (1.4%) on timeshift. The Adrian Chiles-fronted That Sunday Night Show fetched 1.97m (10.2%) from 10.15pm.
Channel 5's showing of Cats and Dogs captivated 1.34m (5.5%) between 6pm and 8pm, before Paul Merton's Adventures tumbled to 487k (1.7%). Big Brother appealed to 1.27m (4.7%) in the 9pm hour and a screening of Kiss of the Dragon appealed to 634k (4.4%) from 10pm.
A repeat of Top Gear revved up 1.38m (5.4%) on BBC Two from 6.30pm, before TinTIn's Adventure with Frank Gardiner mustered 820k (2.9%). New Louis Theroux enchanted 2.17m (8%) from 9pm and Match of the Day 2 scored with 2.06m (10.4%) from 10pm.
Grand Designs built 820k (3.2%) on Channel 4 from 6pm and 127k (0.4%) on +1. River Cottage Veg served up 1.28m (4.5%) in the 8pm hour and 298k (1.1%) on timeshift. The Secret Millionaire took 1.51m (5.6%) from 9pm and 196k (1%). Alan Carr: Chatty Man amused 1.18m (6.6%) from 10pm and 155k (1.9%) an hour later.
Overall, ITV1 won primetime with 29.8% (+1: 0.6%) against BBC One's 22.1%. BBC Two came in third with 6.2%, followed by Channel 4's 4.8% (+1: 0.7%) and Channel 5's 3.7%.
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional