Credit: Michael Becker/FOX © 2010 Fox Broadcasting Co. Photo: Simon Cowell Headshot

All of those Simon Cowell boasts about X Factor being bigger than American Idol fell majorly flat last night. The former American Idol judge’s new project just isn’t hitting its notes; X Factor premiered to 12.5 million viewers. This doesn’t come close to being “bigger” than Idol — the Season 10 opener clocked in at 26.2 million viewers.

And boy, did he have high hopes for the premiere: Simon told The Hollywood Reporter that anything less than 20 million viewers would be a “disappointment.” We’d hate to be around Mr. Crankypants Cowell today!