Page last updated at 13:55 GMT, Sunday, 13 December 2009

X Factor final expected to attract millions of viewers

Olly Murs and Joe McElderry
Olly Murs and Joe McElderry will compete to be X Factor winner

The X Factor final is expected to attract millions of viewers and could give ITV its most lucrative weekend yet after months of falling audiences.

Joe McElderry is the favourite to win after four hours of prime time television which will bring in an estimated £18m from advertising sales.

Olly Murs is the 18-year-old student's rival in the second part of the final after Stacey Solomon was voted off.

Meanwhile, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show will air on BBC One.

The public will vote on whose sporting achievements, among those shortlisted, have been the most impressive.

This weekend's two, two-hour X Factor shows could attract £18m in advertising... helping ITV1 finally end its month-by-month decline in revenue
Torin Douglas
BBC media correspondent

Both Ladbrokes and William Hill put Joe's odds of winning at 2/9, while Olly is the 3/1 outsider.

Nick Weinberg, a Ladbrokes spokesman, said: "Joe looks unstoppable."

But not everybody believes the outcome is a foregone conclusion.

On Saturday, as the first part of the final opened, judge Simon Cowell said: "This is the closest competition I've ever been involved in. I can't pick a winner any more."

George Michael took to the stage to sing Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me with Joe, with the former Wham singer saying the teenager "rose to the occasion".

The singer added: "I think he's got a great future."

'Quiet storm'

Meanwhile, 25-year-old Olly sang Angels, which he performed with Robbie Williams.

The former Take That singer said the finalist was "like a quiet storm" and added: "He's unbelievable, I should be taking tips from him."

X Factor is expected to be extremely lucrative for ITV1.

The series has run all autumn, during which it has dominated peaktime viewing on both Saturday and Sunday.

The 40 ITV1 shows are thought to have brought in more than £75m in advertising, plus revenue from the phone-votes.

And one analyst claims the total benefit to ITV is almost £100m, including income from showings on its website and the ITV2 spin-off show.

BBC media correspondent Torin Douglas said: "This weekend's two, two-hour X Factor shows could attract £18m in advertising - and more than 18 million viewers - helping ITV1 finally end its month-by-month decline in revenue."

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