Ofcom has ruled that controversial dance routines by Rihanna and Christina Aguilera during the last series of The X Factor did not breach broadcasting rules, although they were "at the limit" of acceptability.
The programme received 2868 complaints in the aftermath of show, which featured provocative, sexualised dance routines from the two artists, aired before the 9pm watershed.
However, Ofcom ruled that the routines were "at the limit of acceptability" and noted that 2,000 of the complaints had been received following a report in a "daily national newspaper". The newspaper in question is understood to be the Daily Mail, which reported on "viewer outrage" at ITV's choice to air the performances before 9pm.
The media regulator criticised the paper's coverage, noting that the pictures used were "significantly more graphic and close up than the material that had been broadcast in the programme, and had been taken from a different angle to the television cameras". This gave the impression that the material that was broadcast was more graphic than it actually was.
Ofcom noted that ITV "regretted that some viewers were taken aback by the performance, but it believed that it took appropriate steps to minimise potential offence", and said that because Aguilera's routine was based on her film Burlesque, the costumes should be seen "in context".
It has since stated that it will be issuing "new guidance about the acceptability of material in pre-watershed programmes that attract large family viewing audiences".