The X Factor Season 3 Premiere: Is the Third Season a Charm?

    September 12, 2013

The X Factor Season 3 premiered Wednesday night to what some are calling disappointing ratings.

But Simon Cowell, who brought the show to the US from the UK two years ago, says he has it right this time. Cowell has said the current season is “the closest so far to the show we wanted to make.”

Season 3 features two new judges: Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio. They replace Season 2 judges L.A. Reid and Britney Spears. Another change: Mario Lopez will solo host without his Season 2 co-host Khloé Kardashian.

The X Factor came to the US in 2011, but the show had seen enormous success on the other side of the pond prior to that. The UK version premiered in 2004 and is still going strong.

Cowell said early tapings of Season 3 “definitely had more of the feel of the British show.”

Despite Cowell’s high hopes for Season 3, only 6.2 million viewers tuned in for the one-hour premiere Wednesday night. Season 1 opened with 12.7 million, and Season 2 with 8.4 million.

Does the dip in numbers reflect on The X Factor specifically or on a broader trend for television singing competitions? Ratings analysts will no doubt be weighing in on that after the September 23 premiere of Season 5 of The Voice and the January 2014 premiere of Season 13 of American Idol. Both shows consistently top The X Factor in ratings.

In the meantime, the Season 3 premiere generated some positive buzz on Twitter.

Host Demi Lovato is a crowd favorite, apparently worthy of her own #Lovatics hashtag:

Simon Cowell’s shirt even garnered a few words of praise: