2012's first auditions show, featuring Mel B on the judging panel, was seen by 8.09m (39.4%) on ITV1 between 8pm and 9.15pm and 616k (2.9%) on +1.
Despite the talent show topping the night by some distance - peaking with 9.2m in the last half hour - the average figure of 8.1m is down a hefty 2.7m year-on-year and is a far cry from the 12m launch audience of 2010.
The Voice UK and Britain's Got Talent secured a higher audience and peak for their respective openers in March.
Simon Cowell's other property - Red or Black? - made a quiet return with 3.25m (19.6%) at 7.15pm. Split into two parts sandwiched between The X Factor, the tweaked Ant & Dec-hosted gameshow fared better later on with 3.59m (17.3%) at 9.30pm (+1: 230k/1.9%).
The Jonathan Ross Show's first Olympics-themed show drew a decent 3.47m (19%) from 10pm, adding 275k (2.5%) on ITV1 +1.
Over on BBC One, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull attracted 4m (24.6%) from 6.30pm, Secret Fortune grabbed 3.23m (15.6%) at 8.15pm, Casualty logged 4.2m (20.1%) at 9.10pm and Match of the Day's new season began with 3.62m (24.1%) from 10.20pm.
Classic Dad's Army (1.71m/6.4%) gave BBC Two its highest audience of the night at 7.45pm, while Celebrity Big Brother entertained 1.31m (6.2%) on Channel 5 at 9.10pm (+1: 147k/0.8%) and Micky Flanagan's Out Out Tour anchored Channel 4's schedule with 1.25m (6%) from 9.15pm (+1: 180k/1.1%).
Overall, ITV1 topped primetime with 25.8% (+1: 1.5%), claiming a fairly comfortable win over BBC One's 21%. BBC Two was third with 5.3%, Channel 5 followed with 4.5% (+1: 0.4%) and Channel 4 finished last with 4.4% (+1: 0.7%).
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional