23/09/2012 12:02 BST

X Factor 2012: ITV Hope Simon Cowell's Appearance Will Boost Ratings

ITV bosses will be hoping Simon Cowell's appearance on The X Factor tonight improves the ratings with audience figures down by almost two million on this stage last year.

Last night's 90-minute-long episode of the talent show, which was sandwiched between two programmes of Simon Cowell's gameshow Red or Black?, recorded a peak audience of 9.2 million viewers.

Overnight figures showed the average audience was 8.2 million, with both figures down on the same stage in the last series.

Last year, the first bootcamp programme was watched by an average of 10.3 million and the peak was 11.8 million.

Show supremo Simon Cowell is to appear in the second bootcamp episode tonight, making calls to judges Gary Barlow, Louis Walsh, Tulisa Contostavlos and former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger from Miami where he is filming the US version of the show.

Despite the plunge in X Factor ratings from last year, ITV pointed out today that it was the most-watched channel last night between 7pm and 10.30pm.

X Factor audiences fell last year, with the 2011 X Factor final pulling in an average audience of 13.1 million, compared with the 17.2 million who watched Matt Cardle triumph in the 2010 competition.

It was the lowest average audience for the finale of the series since 2007, when Leon Jackson won the show.

But it still beat Strictly Come Dancing to a higher average audience across the series.

A rule change means anyone over the age of 16 has been able to enter The X Factor whether they are amateur artists, have had previous deals or currently have a management contract.