Simon Cowells ITV1 talent show The X Factor is set to break ratings records as the current series reaches its climax this weekend, with todays nights results show expected to top 20 million viewers. Despite being its seventh series, the shows 2010 run has been its highest-rating ever, scoring an average of nearly a million viewers more each week than last year. And new audience research shows that much of that uplift has come from apparently unlikely X Factor viewers - the middle classes. Last years X Factor final peaked at 19.1million viewers. If tomorrows results show - which will see Rebecca Ferguson, Cher Lloyd, Matt Cardle or boy band One Direction crowned champion - follows this years ratings trend, its peak audience will be over 20million. That would be ITVs highest non-football audience for at least a decade, and a figure unprecedented in the digital era when satellite channels and websites such as Facebook pull viewers away from even the biggest TV shows. To find a higher audience for a non-sport programme, statisticians have to go back to the Only Fools and Horses Christmas special on BBC One in 2001, which scored 21.3million viewers. The question is whether, in a world of 300 channels, there is a ceiling on the ratings that shows like X Factor can reach, said an ITV insider. Audience research by the agency Brand Driver shows that, despite its brassy image, The X Factor is increasingly popular with middle-class audiences. Around 40 per cent of the shows total viewers identify themselves as professionals or management, with 38 per cent of senior managers saying they regularly view the show. Telegraph