Even with all-star talent like Britney Spears and Demi Lovato, the revamped second season of The X Factor couldn’t drown out The Voice. Last night’s buzzed-about Season 2 premiere of Simon Cowell‘s Fox reality talent competition floundered in the ratings, pulling in an average of 8.5 million viewers over the two-hour episode — a drop of 3.5 million from last year’s series premiere.
In head-to-head competition, The X Factor and its new pop-powered panel simply drew fewer viewers than the chair-swiveling crew over at The Voice. It’s worth noting that The Voice also dropped in the ratings in its season premiere Monday night (Sep. 10). But on Wednesday, the show came out on top in the 8 p.m. slot with 10.7 million viewers against The X Factor‘s 7.5 million. At 9 p.m., The X Factor eked out a lead, rising to 9.5 million — but in that hour, too, the show was bested by its NBC competition, with America’s Got Talent claiming the lead with 11 million viewers.
Reviews of The X Factor‘s debut episode have been positive, with viewers responding positively to Spears’ blunt criticism and Lovato’s effervescent delivery (as well as Cowell’s predictable snark and L.A. Reid, um, being L.A. Reid). Still, if these lackluster ratings don’t pick up, we’ll all be sitting in revolving chairs by 2013.