The BBC One contest's first results show - featuring a guest performance from Lana Del Rey - averaged 8.62m (35.1%) between 7.30pm and 8pm, peaking with over 9m as Sam Buttery and Sophie Griffin's departures were announced.
However, the show registered a week-on-week drop of 1.5m.
Countryfile, airing from 6.30pm, offered the singing competition a strong lead-in with 7.04m (32.1%), while The Antiques Roadshow interested 5.53m (21.6%) in the 8pm hour.
At 9pm, Silent Witness fell to 4.81m (18.8%), as Vera picked up the pace for ITV1 - the Brenda Blethyn detective drama soared to 5.01m (20%) between 8pm and 10pm, adding a further 261k on +1. Vernon Kay's All Star Family Fortunes also climbed for the channel, recording 3.82m (16.1%) earlier at 7pm (+1: 240k).
Elsewhere, the penultimate Homeland pulled in 2.02m (8%) for Channel 4 at 9pm and 323k on timeshift, while fellow US drama Once Upon a Time mustered 1.1m (4.3%) for Channel 5 (+1: 190k).
Among the other US dramas airing last night, a Desperate Housewives funeral was seen by 723k (3.8%) on E4 at 10pm (+1: 171k), while 511k (2%) watched Sky1's latest screening of Hawaii Five-0.
BBC Two's factual combination of Simon Reev's Indian Ocean (2.34m/9.1%) and Ewan McGregor's Cold Chain Mission (2.14m/7.6%) continued to perform solidly, then the final Match of the Day 2 of the 2011/2012 season scored 2.91m (15.8%). All three shows were simulcast on BBC HD.
For the second Sunday this year, ITV2 finished above Channel 5. Movie The Incredible Hulk attracted 923k (3.8%) from 7pm (+1: 301k), a Benidorm repeat amused 802k (3.1%) at 9pm (+1: 144k), and The Only Way Is Essex attracted 1.07m (5.4%) at 10pm (+1: 184k).
Overall, BBC One topped primetime with 23%, beating ITV1's 16.1% (+1: 0.9%). BBC Two claimed third place with 8.7%, followed by Channel 4's 6.2% (+1: 1.1%), ITV2's 3.9% (+1: 0.9%), and Channel 5's 3.8% (+1: 0.5%).
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional