Readers’ Poll: Did You Watch ‘The X Factor’?

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Nearly two years after he left American Idol, Simon Cowell returned in high fashion last night on the much-anticipated debut of The X Factor.

Though much of the show looked and felt quite similar to Idol (they even brought notoriously wacky judge Paula Abdul along for the ride), there were still a number of format tweaks to help separate it from America’s top-rated show.

Among the many: the contestant age limit is 12 and up (yes, that means 83 year olds can audition, as we saw last night); groups are allowed to enter; and each judge is assigned a group (boys, girls, 30+ and groups) to mentor throughout the season.

So, with the age range almost infinitely stretched, viewers at home were treated to a wide-range of contestants, from 13-year-old Rachel Crow to 42-year-old single mother of two Stacy Francis (see below). We even saw a bit of a softer side from Simon, who mostly left his notoriously hard-hitting comments at bay. (Based on nine seasons of American Idol, something tells us that will change pretty quickly.

Tell us: Did you watch The X Factor? And if so, is it better than American Idol? Or is it too similar?

Vote now in our poll, then voice your thoughts in the comments below.