The latest performances show, which saw the political journalist return for one final dance, drew an average of 10.16m (42.6%) between 6.20pm and 7.25pm. The audience peaked with an impressive 11.74m (47.2%) in the final five minutes.
Immediately after Strictly, ongoing fantasy drama Merlin continued to ascend the ratings. The latest episode pulled in 6.42m (25.6%) over 45 minutes opposite The X Factor, logging the show's second best audience of the series. Only the premiere has fared better, with 6.65m (30%) on September 20.
ITV1 kept hold of the lead in primetime, however, with more than three hours of reality TV. A Take That-themed X Factor performances show delivered 10.64m (43.2%) between 7.25pm and 8.55pm, peaking with 12.2m (49.8%) at 8.20pm. The latest update from I'm A Celebrity followed with 8.8m (37.2%), then the X Factor results show - in which Rachel Hylton was eliminated - notched up 9.15m (41.1%).
Pre-X Factor, You've Been Framed brought in 4.42m (18.8%) and Harry Hill's TV Burp had 5.64m (22.8%).
On BBC One, the National Lottery draw interested 4.65m (19.2%), then Casualty brought in 4.78m (19.8%) until 9.10pm. The second episode of Outnumbered followed with 3.44m (14.5%).
ITV1 improved its average primetime share one point to 37.5%, while BBC One fell slightly from 22.3% to 21.9%.
Five's NCIS double bill appealed to 1.05m (4.2%) and 1.37m (5.7%) from 7.15pm, then at 9.10pm, CSI logged 1.51m (6.5%). Law & Order: Criminal Intent drew 929k (4.7%) at 10.10pm. Five was up from 4.7% to 5.1% for fourth place.
Channel 4 had a very poor night, dropping to an average share of 3.2% and last place of the terrestrial broadcasters. Animals in the Womb was the most-watched programme in primetime, with 860k (3.4%) from 7.10pm. Bear Grylls's Born Survivor: Bear Eats had just 600k (2.5%) from 8.10pm, then a repeat of new drama The Devil's Whore interested 760k (3.3%).
ITV2's The Xtra Factor delivered the best multichannel audience of the day, with 1.01m (6.8%) tuning in for post-results reaction from 10.40pm. The pre-results edition suffered slightly from being up against I'm A Celebrity on ITV1, but still managed a decent 651k (3%).
The channel's I'm A Celebrity spinoff show - pushed back to 11.25pm - picked up 395k (4.6%). An early evening screening of The Mummy was also popular, with 533k (2.9%) between 5pm and 7.25pm (+1: 146k, 0.7%).
Ratings data supplied by Attentional