Could changes to the Strictly Come Dancing line-up be a good thing for X Factor?

As Len Goodman prepares for his last turn in the judge's chair, and Strictly bids farewell to some popular dancers, X Factor's 'greatest hits' panel could make the Saturday night battle interesting again, says Mark Jefferies

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Strictly Come Dancing is the most popular Saturday night show going.

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But the news that Len Goodman will be saying “SE-VEN” for the last time this series is not heaven for bosses.

At this stage there will only be whispers of concern but, just like in sport, you never really want to change a winning team, or a winning formula.

And Strictly has a situation where some of its most popular dancers will not be on board this year either.

Gone are Ola Jordan, Kristina Rihanoff and Aliona Vilani (although the latter may come back to help with some choreography).

This trio of girls who have left were familiar faces to the audience, and Strictly is a show that does not need or like too much change.

On the male side, Gleb Savchenko has quit, while Anton Du Beke is 50 next week and Brendan Cole is 40, so they cannot last too much longer.

And whilst the new dancers who have signed up could be a hit, they will take some getting used to.

So throw in the fact that this time next year there will be a new judge, and suddenly there are at the very least, a few bumps in the road to sidestep.

And that’s why Anton is favourite to replace Len and maintain some much needed continuity.

Over on ITV, Simon Cowell also seems to have realised that too much change is a bad thing.

The merry-go-round that is choosing his judging panel for The X Factor each year has stopped in 2016, with Cowell selecting what he called a “greatest hits” panel – but what in reality is a return to old judges who were in the show when it was more popular and successful (when Sharon Osbourne was last on the panel, for instance, X Factor used to easily beat Strictly in the ratings).

Getting Dermot O’Leary back as host is also a good decision to provide some stability, someone you can rely on in the live stages and who is confident amidst the chaos.

So while I can’t see X Factor overtaking Strictly this year, it may come a bit closer than in 2015.

And then once Len goes, if some new dancers don’t waltz away with the viewers’ hearts, 2017 could see the battle for Saturday night really get interesting again.

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Mark Jefferies is Showbiz Editor at the Daily Mirror and co-edits their Square Eyes TV column