Simon Cowell's new primetime baby, the "X Factor", debuted its second season Wednesday night to disappointing audience figures, reports the Los Angeles Times.
8.5 million viewers tuned in to see Cowell and new judges Britney Spears and Demi Lovato critique amateur singing voices but that was still down 32 percent from last year.
Entertainment Weekly reports the true star of Wednesday night's talent TV was NBC's "The Voice", which brought in 10.6 million viewers.
Fox's ratings might spell trouble for "The X Factor". The UK import went through a revamp last year after Cowell ditched judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger when the show's ratings fell short of predictions, reports The Washington Post. The shake-up was meant to attract advertiser-prized younger audiences but so far the ratings do not spell success.
USA Today reports that NBC's "The Voice" beat "X Factor" by 18 percent among young adults.
Luckily for Fox, Spears' role as a judge was generally well received, reports the Post. Even the usually-grumpy Simon Cowell told the pop princess, "you're very good at this."
Spears, 30, reportedly inked a one-season, $15 million contract to join the show.