After months of build up and promotions, Simon Cowell's latest television talent competition series kicked off on Wednesday, September 21 and the ratings are in.
The show received 12.4 million viewers for its premiere, according to The Hollywood Reporter, significantly less than the 10th season premiere of "American Idol" back in January with 26.2 million viewers.
When "American Idol" began back in 2002 with Cowell and Abdul, the series received 9.7 million viewers.
During the episode, members of the audience and judges Cowell, record executive L.A. Reid, Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger recoiled in horror as a man named Geo Godley dropped his pants and was implied to have been wearing nothing underneath as he performed an original song, "I'm a Stud." Abdul left the judges' table and headed to a restroom, later telling Cowell she had become ill.
Godley did not pass onto the next round.
Several contestants did appear to impress the judges, even Cowell and Reid, who appeared to display Cowell's acerbic persona. Stacy Francis, 42, impressed the crowd with her cover of Aretha Franklin's "Natural Woman." Marcus Canty, 20, became so emotional after the applause he received for his performance of Stevie Wonder's "I Wish" that he sat down on stage for a few moments.
Chris Rene, a 28-year-old, tattooed father just weeks out of rehab, sang an original song - a move proven to be a risky one on such singing contest shows. After a smooth rendition of "Young Homie," the audience and judges appeared visibly Cowell called him a "star." Cowell is rarely seen calling anyone a "star."
Cowell quit "American Idol" after the end of the ninth season in 2010 and said on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in May that two years ago, as ratings began to decline, he became bored with the series. "The X Factor" is based on a show that Cowell judged and developed in the United Kingdom. The new series will offer its winner a $5 million record deal - which is reportedly the most valuable such prize among all past similar shows.
"American Idol" and "The X Factor" also possess different sponsors, although the product placement is similar. "American Idol" features the judges sitting with Coca Cola cups; "The X Factor" has Pepsi. "American Idol" is brought to you Ford Motors; "The X Factor," Chevrolet. AT&T was the official wireless sponsor of "American Idol," while Cowell himself appears in one of the Verizon television ads that aired during "The X Factor."
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