Credit: Ray Mickshaw/©2013 Fox Broadcasting Co.

This time last year The X Factor had just crowned Tate Stevens the Season 2 winner and the show was enjoying a boom in the ratings. The conclusion of 2012’s run earned a 3.1 rating for adults 18 to 49 — not a terrific number in the scheme of blowout TV shows (for comparison, the one-time CBS special of The Sound of Music Live had a 4.6 with more than 18.5 million viewers).

But oh how great a 3.1 seems now at the tail end of X Factor’s third season. The December 19 finale’s two-hour conclusion earned a mere 1.7 with 6.2 million viewers. That’s only slightly better than A Charlie Brown Christmas, which ran simultaneously on rival channel ABC and saw 5.66 million people tune in. Maybe Simon Cowell should have tried punting a football.

That 1.7, although low, is an improvement for X Factor as a whole. This has been the worst season yet for the U.S. version of the reality TV show with last week’s Top 4 elimination show clocking in at 1.2 and the first part of the finale taking a 1.3 on Wednesday, December 18.

Although Simon remains adamant that the show will be back for a fourth installment, we have to admit we’re a little less positive about the whole situation, particularly now that all-star judge Demi Lovato has bid her farewells and Simon’s said he’ll be filling a “different kind of role” on the show.

Then again, Season 3’s winners Alex & Sierra are arguably the most popular act to come out of the American take on the series thus far. If they can pull a One Direction in terms of post-finale success, perhaps that’ll be the cure for X Factor’s many ailments.

Sources: TV by the Numbers, TV by the Numbers


Elisabeth Kramer is an Assistant Editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident Downton Abbey expert. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!