Rita Ora

Rita Ora arrives at the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on Feb. 22, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. 

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

The season opener of The X Factor in the U.K. this weekend attracted the lowest audience for a season launch of the singing competition since 2006.

Last year, the return of creator Simon Cowell as a judge on the ITV show helped boost the ratings for the season debut.‎ The 12th season-launch episode this Saturday drew an average 7.7 million viewers, down from 9.5 million viewers last season.

Start of 'X Factor' U.K. Auditions Canceled After Simon Cowell's Mother Dies

But the show's season debut once again dominated Saturday night in Britain, with a share of almost 40 percent of people who were watching TV at the time tuning in.

The 2013 season premiere had attracted 9.2 million average viewers in the overnight ratings, up from 8.7 million in 2012, which had been the show's lowest figure since 2006, when the season opener drew 7 million viewers. In 2011, the show's best season launch ever reached an average audience of 11.3 million people in the overnight ratings. That compared to‎ 11.1 million in 2010.

The second episode of the new season also drew lower ratings than last year. It attracted 6.5 million viewers, down from 8.2 million last year.

Rita Ora: Why I Swapped The Voice for The X Factor

This season features new U.K. judges Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw, with Caroline Flack and Olly Murs replacing Dermot O'Leary as hosts.

Fox canceled the singing competition's U.S. version last year.

This article originally appeared in THR.com