Strictly Come Dancing's opening 2019 show had the usual glitz and glam but one thing missing was the battle for ratings with rival show The X Factor.

And surprisingly, Strictly judge Craig Revel-Horwood is gutted the regular show isn’t on this year – as it’s to be replaced by an All-Star version.

Speaking on the red carpet at MAMMA MIA! The Party, at London’s O2, Craig tells us, ‘Yeah I love The X Factor – I used to do a lot of my casting through the show, it was like a pre-audition for me as a director/choreographer. I’d go “Ooh that person’s fantastic I think I might book them for a job”, so I will miss that but something will come in it’s place. There’s always going to be talent shows, or an X Factor of some description out there. People love those shows, it’s just they’ll have to change the format.’

Speaking about why he thinks Simon Cowell‘s The X Factor isn’t going up against them this year. Craig said, ‘Ratings… I think because Strictly is loved by the nation, also the competition is already with celebrities so there’s no one trying to by anything they’re not or wannabes they’re all just there to want to learn to dance and I think that’s great.’

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But despite Saturday’s Strictly Come Dancing opening show pulling in a peak of 8.5m viewers – it’s almost 2 million fewer viewers than the 2018 opening show. And Craig continued to explain Strictly’s cross-age appeal.

‘I think it’s gone into the hearts and minds of the nation, over the years,’ he said. ‘Now I think there are other generations – people who were aged five at the time – who have watched Strictly all their life now on the show so it’s quite extraordinary that people have grown up with it. It’s something the family can enjoy from 90 year olds to three year olds – it’s all-inclusive. And we’ve got people from different kinds of sports – this year there’s table tennis. Who’s interested in table tennis? All the people interested in table tennis so you’ll get all those viewers as well.’

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If dress run is anything to go by. Week one of #Strictly 2019 is going to be an incredible show!

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He added, ‘When we first brought rugby players onto the dance floor people thought “Oh no that’s not going to work” and actually it was amazing, incredible and brought rugby fans into the show, which is great.’