X Factor switches to Sunday episodes to make way for the Rugby World Cup

Simon Cowell's singing contest will air in a bumper Sunday night instalment as ITV hosts England v Australia

If you’re wondering why no-one is singing their heart out on The X Factor tonight, it’s because for the second time this series the singing contest has been moved from its Saturday night slot to accommodate the Rugby World Cup. 

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ITV’s commitment to this year’s sporting tournament means that for the next few weeks X Factor will switch to bumper Sunday editions only, which means on ITV tonight viewers can watch the rugby match between England and Australia.

Ahead of the series start, Cowell told me he was confident the move wouldn’t affect the singing show

“We’ve made some changes to the format, I think it works. The Sunday is going to work for us for about a month.”

This first single Sunday episode focuses on the second half of Boot Camp, where the contestants take on their second solo audition in front of the judges. The action is taking place in the grounds of Watford’s The Grove hotel, a change from the arena of recent series. 

Once over that hurdle, the successful acts will be whisked back to Wembley’s SSE arena where they’ll take part in the dreaded Six Chair Challenge. Oh yes, the one that’s a bit like musical chairs but so much worse. This runs for three consecutive Sundays before the show returns to its Saturday night slot for the first visit to Judges’ Houses. 

It means it will be a while before X Factor goes directly head-to-head with Strictly Come Dancing which returned to BBC1 yesterday evening, although eyes will be on those all-important viewing figures nevertheless. Instead the two shows will clash for 45 minutes tomorrow evening (4 October) as Strictly airs its results show from 7:15-8pm while X Factor’s two-hour broadcast goes out from 7-9pm.

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Rugby World Cup tonight from 7:15pm, The X Factor returns tomorrow (Sunday 4th) from 7pm