TV Ratings: 'X Factor' Season 2 Premiere Slumps, Ties 'The Voice' in Key Demo

Ratings Race: Brit Vs. X-Tina
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Britney Spears and Demi Lovato's X Factor debut failed to connect with TV audiences on Wednesday, as the show's second season premiere pulled in a low 8.5 million viewers.

The show, which ran from 8-10 PM, averaged a 3.3 rating in the coveted 18-49 demo, down 25 percent from its series premiere last year.

Meanwhile, NBC's The Voice — which features Spears' one-time pop rival, Christina Aguilera — tied The X Factor in the 18-49 demo, but pulled ahead in overall viewers, with 10.7 million. (Though, if you want to get technical, the hour-long episode of The Voice actually beat The X Factor in direct competition, earning a 3.3 rating to X-Factor's 2.7.)

Ironically, The X Factor and The Voice finished third in overall viewers, behind America's Got Talent, which posted a steady 11.01 million (2.9 rating).

Which means, round one goes to ... Howard Stern?

NBC only recently decided to add a third night of auditions to its premiere week, much to the decry of X Factor judge Simon Cowell.

In an interview with TMZ, the former American Idol judge called NBC's last-minute decision a "cynical, cold-hearted, unprofessional way of doing business."

The X Factor season 2 continues with an all-new episode Thursday at 8PM.

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