ITV bosses are hoping that Simon Cowell’s brief return to the X Factor on Sunday night will have provided a boost to viewing figures, following a slight drop in ratings for Saturday’s show.

The first boot camp edition of the weekend double bill scored an average audience of 8.2m, 0.3m of whom watched the show an hour later on the ITV+1 catch up service.

And while the show picked up the biggest viewing figures of the night on any channel, the audience was still 2m lower than it was at the same stage of the competition last year.

In 2011, an average audience of 10.3m watched the first boot camp show, with a peak audience of 11.8m tuning in.

By contrast, the audience for Saturday’s X Factor peaked at 9.2m viewers.

Simon made a brief return to Sunday’s show to inform the judges which of the categories they would be mentoring in this year’s live shows.

Gary Barlow was given the over 28s, Louis Walsh the groups, Nicole Scherzinger the boys and Tulisa the girls.

Next weekend will see the judges’ houses double bill of shows, during which this year’s 12 finalists will be revealed.

It will also be the last weekend that the show does not have rivalry from Strictly Come Dancing in the ratings – with that series due to kick off with a double bill of shows on October 5 and 6 – the latter being the night that The X Factor’s live finals begin.