ITV bosses are hoping that Simon Cowell's appearance on the UK X Factor will improve the two million drop in viewer figures.
Saturday's boot camp episode reached 8.2 million viewers, whereas last year's equivalent show attracted 10.3 million.
Simon is set to appear in the second installment of the boot camp, in which he will help judges Gary Barlow, Tulisa Contostavlos, Louis Walsh and Nicole Scherzinger.
Despite the plunge, ITV reports that it was the most watched channel between 7pm and 10.30 pm.
Taking in current figures, this is the show's lowest average audience since Leon Jackson's victory in 2007.
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