Judges Randy Jackson (L-R), Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj and host Ryan Seacrest. (© Mario Anzuoni / Reuters/REUTERS)

“American Idol” pulled an “X Factor” on Wednesday — even after adding big name judges to the table, the ratings for the season premiere still dropped from last year.

About 17.8 million people tuned in for a first look at Mariah Carey vs. Nicki Minaj, compared to last season’s 22 million who watched last year’s season premiere, featuring Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler.

A similar fate fell upon Fox’s other singing competition, “X Factor,” this past season. Even after Simon Cowell ramped up the judging line-up — Britney “please let her have a meltdown” Spears, Demi “please bring in the teen audience” Lovato — the show still scored only approximately 9 million people in the Season 2 premiere, less than the 12.5 million who tuned in for the series debut.

Anyway, “Idol” still easily beat everything in else that was on TV — also in the highly-coveted 18-to-49-year-old viewer category — including new episodes of ABC’s “Modern Family” and CBS’s “Criminal Minds,” which came in No. 2 for total viewers with 12.5 million on Wednesday night.

Another test will come Thursday with the two-hour conclusion of the “Idol” season premiere, though its big competition — CBS’s comedy lineup — is in repeats.