The eliminations of The Risk and Johnny Robinson from The X Factor 2011 were seen by 12m (41.8%) on ITV1 from 8pm, peaking at 13.02m (44%) for the final 15 minutes.
Strictly Come Dancing just lagged behind with 10.69m (39.6%) on BBC One between 7.30pm and 8pm, peaking at 11.24m (40.7%) for the second half as singer Lulu became the latest celebrity to leave the new series.
The X Factor grabbed a further 212k (0.8%) on ITV1+1, and spinoff show The Xtra Factor grabbed 1.11m (4%) for ITV2 from 9pm and 127k (0.6%) on +1. Afterwards, series three of The Only Way Is Essex continued with 1.22m (6.1%) on ITV2 from 10.15pm and 208k (2.3%) on timeshift.
Also on the multi-channels, Misfits returned to E4 with 757k (3.5%) in the 10pm slot and 206k (2.1%) on timeshift.
Back on the terrestrials, the final episode of series two of Downton Abbey climbed to an impressive 10.46m (41.5%) on ITV1 from 9pm and 190k (1%) on timeshift.
ITV1's The Cube had 4.03m (15.16%) from 6.45pm and 186k (0.6%) on +1. The Adrian Chiles-fronted That Sunday Night Show fetched 1.71m (10.1%) from 10.15pm.
Songs of Praise stayed tuneful with 2.8m (14.3%) on BBC One from 5.30pm, Countryfile nabbed an impressive 7.67m (32.3%) from 7pm and Antiques Roadshow took 6.53m (22.6%) from 8pm. Michael McIntyre: Hello Wembley! was enjoyed by 2.81m (10.1%) in the 9pm slot, and Have I Got a Bit More News For You amused 2.48m (14.8%) from 10.30pm.
Channel 5's showing of The Man in the Iron Mask captivated 1.305m (4.5%) between 6pm and 8pm, before Paul Merton's Adventures took 598k (2.1%). Big Brother appealed to 1.19m (4.3%) in the 9pm hour and a screening of Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery took 413k (2.6%) from 10pm.
A repeat of Top Gear revved up 1.35m (5.2%) on BBC Two from 6.30pm, before Coast mustered 1.17m (4%). Will It Snow? educated 2.18m (7.8%) from 9pm and 124k (0.4%) on BBC HD. Match of the Day 2 scored with 2.22m (10.9%) from 10pm and 119k (0.6%) in HD.
River Cottage Veg served up 1.12m (3.9%) in the 8pm hour and 290k (0.7%) on timeshift. The Secret Millionaire took 1.49m (5.3%) from 9pm and 208k (1%). Alan Carr: Chatty Man amused 910k (4.3%) from 10pm and 226k (2.3%) an hour later.
Overall, ITV1 won primetime with 31.7% (+1: 0.7%) against BBC One's 21%. BBC Two came in third with 6.7%, followed by Channel 4's 4.5% (+1: 1.1%) and Channel 5's 3.1%.
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional