ITV1's The X Factor airs at 1930 on Saturday evenings
The start of ITV1's new series of The X Factor pulled in an average of 10.2 million viewers on Saturday night.
At its peak, the show was watched by more than 11 million people, capturing half the total television audience.
The first episode of last year's series drew 9.5 million viewers, with the finale - which saw Leon Jackson win - gaining an audience of 12 million.
The new series saw the debut of new judge, Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole, who has replaced Sharon Osbourne.
Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and Dannii Minogue remain on the panel.
In an interview with the Radio Times earlier this month, Minogue revealed that she had a difficult relationship with Osbourne, who quit after four years on the show.
"We weren't friends," said Minogue, "We weren't always fighting, but Sharon made it clear that she didn't like me, so she won't be missed. Not by me."
Simon Cowell was scathing about some hopefuls
She added that the new line-up "works brilliantly", and played down suggestions that there would be friction between her and Cole.
In the opening show of the talent search show, Cole was seen leaving the set when a friend from Popstars: The Rivals auditioned, saying it would be "biased" and "weird".
Cole was a contestant on the show in 2002 and was chosen to become a member of Girls Aloud.
The show contained a series of auditions of varying quality, with duo Dreamtime branded "one of the worst acts I've had on this show" by Cowell.