American Idol Top Story

Ratings: ‘American Idol’ Finale down 44% from last year – 5/17/2013

Update: Bing Bang adjusted up tp 4.8 and 15.48 million viewers, Grey’s up to 3.1, The Vampire Diaries up to 1.1, Hannibal up top 1.1

The American Idol Season 12 Finale had a 3.6 adult rating on Thursday — down a staggering 44% from last season’s ratings. These are already the final numbers. Wow. Wow. Wow.

This is actually just a little higher than The Voice’s 3.5 rating last Tuesday. Idol had 14.30 million viewers.

The Big Bang Theory had a 4.4 rating and 14.78 million viewers, the #1 and most-watched show of the night.

As further insult, Idol lost head-to-head to a rerun of The Big Bang Theory at 8:30 p.m. (3.2 vs. 2.8).

I’m flabbergasted. There is no comeback from here for American Idol. Worst season ever. Next season will open softer than this season and this show is really going to struggle one year from now. Simon Cowell’s revenge is almost complete.

American Idol has really no one to blame but themselves. The show has masterfully and brilliantly fended off ratings decline over the years — and still managing to be the #1 show while hemmoraging viewers. But this season, they completely lost it. Suddenly, all the masterfully-crafted PR of “creating stars” and “the #1 singing show” and “the American Idol brand” now are things of the past and imagination. The numbers prove it. The American Idol we all grew to love is no more. It will never come back.

Long live American Idol!

The Vampire Diaries had a 1.0 rating and 2.20 million viewers.

Grey’s Anatomy had a 3.0 rating and 8.63 million viewers.

The Office had a 3.0 rating and 5.70 million viewers.

Beauty and the Beast had a 2.0 rating and 8.93 million viewers.

Scandal had a 3.2 rating and 9.134 million viewers.

Hannibal had a 1.0 rating and 2.40 million viewers.

Via TVbytheNumbers

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how about Idol takes a break for the meantime. And have American Idol All Star. All previous contestants from season 1- 12 that didn't do well in the industry,  comes back on stage for America's vote. That would be interesting. 


It's about a lot of things, but the judges' chemistry is a big part.  The reason that the dog-and-pony show The Voice is more popular (though not by that much) is the incredible chemistry between their judges.  They should pay Levine and Shelton big money for their cool and easy-going rapport.  Having a hot Usher in the mix was a big deal too.

But it and X-Factor have produced ZERO recording stars, despite having five total outings.  So if I were a singing contestant, I'd stick with AI.  They are invested in your recording career and much more connected to the industry.  Candice is going to have an album in 2 months.  It's in the top 10 on iTunes right now.  Where are Cassadee Pope and Steven Tates' albums?


Forgive me for not being pessimistic, but Idol has a core of viewers that is still unmeasured but has definitely been tested since season 8 (We ignore season 7 because the head to head that was hoped for was legitimate. David Archuleta and Cook were both legit contenders for the crown). I don't think anyone can say honestly that Idol can't come back. This season was just a rehash of the last five years with a pool of talent that was dry but more importantly, the story arch of the season was sealed during the top 10 episode. We all knew that the boys had an uphill battle when it come to taking the crown and the last 4 seasons have been all about a woman winning it back. Once that story was over, the general audience left. 

Each season has had its own story arch and this one failed tremendously. Season 8 was the insurrection of those who were not supposed to be there: Kris Allen and Allison Iraheta. 

Season 9 was about Lee Vs. Crystal and it began the real debate about the white guy with a guitar. The semi-finals was one of the water cooler moments of that televised year when several contestants were cut before the finals that were thought to be real contenders for the crown. 

Season 10 was the definitive moment where we learned that women were never getting anywhere near the crown because they are held to a different standard (or for whatever reason, I mean really. There are plenty). 5 women went home in a row including the most shocking boot in history, Pia Toscano at position 9. Then, when that was over, we had the underdog of the year, Haley Reinhart. 

Season 11 is the pinnacle of Idol in my opinion. They found a top 7 that was immensely talented (the MOST talented in my opinion and that of many others) where it made a return to season 5, where everyone had a genre to root for and a contestant they felt was a real contender. Even though we got Phil Phillips as a winner, he delivered the greatest single in years and some follow ups that weren't too shabby. 

Now, this season happens and there is no story. It's a forgone conclusion that the girls are going to win, and even though the top 2 were legit contenders  there was no really strong men. And this is what the opinion posted by Rickey is missing. That we all have acknowledged that we think Idol screwed us and the general audience and tried to stack the deck. All that needs to happen is an apology in the form of hardwork and trust building from here on out. I think that Idol should take a year off and then come back with a pool of talent that is like season 11, producers who know how to pick songs like Adam and Kris in season 8, and some underdogs we never saw coming like Reinhart in season 10. I'm not saying that Rickey is totally wrong, but I'm saying that the possibility for Idol to come back to a semblance of its former numbers is literally very possible if you take the right steps. 


This season should have been a dream season for me - there were some really talented women singers - including my usual favorite, country singers -  in the top 5. 

There were no annoying guys with obnoxious fan bases - at least not that had a chance of winning. It seemed as if the voting public, with perhaps one exception, was getting rid of the no talent deadweight in a logical manner. 

Yet, I never became more than a casual viewer and never voted once. I watched a few video or two every week, I read a few recaps ad I checked to see who went home each week. But I don't think I watched more than five minutes at a time during the actual broadcasts.

I can only speak for myself, but I think I'm just tired of the "Idol" routine. And if I think logically about it, it's long overdue.

i.e. We all know that voting is a waste of time if you don't have an AT&T cell phone that lets you text non-stop for hours. AT&T cell service sucks in my town, and I would never get another phone from them. 

I feel stupid that I didn't stop voting years ago, but some years, I did it because it made me feel good to support my favorite anyway.

It might help draw me back if Idol finally tried to fix the voting problem. "Dancing With the Stars" puts limits on the number of votes you can cast per phone number or email or Facebook account. I might bond with a singer more if I felt that I could get in as many votes as a hyperactive middle-school kid.

Right now, there's also a glut of reality shows. "Idol" isn't unique at all.


Okay it's not the same show that made stars but like LOL, Long live idol! 


So we want to know why ratings are down. At the beginning of the year we read about the raciest lawsuit against Idol. We also saw the so called complaining of the white guitar male winning. So already we knew as I predicted an afro American woman was winning. So yes the fix was in and when an competition show is not legit people don't watch. I mean Idol were better off Amber winning than Candice as Candice didn't even make the top 40 on two previous seasons and Simon called her a lounge singer. My opinion was all these singers are no where near some of the Voice singers in quality but I thought Angie was the clear winner in originality and star potential.  I did not watch the final and never will watch again. Take a hint from the Voice and let the ITunes sales have a decision on the winner. We as fans just want a LEGIT show. 


Why can't we focus on the positives and report that AI was the #1 show of the night?  :)


Wasn't watching because it was a foregone conclusion since the top 20.  Paul Jolley was the only one worth gawking at and they didn't even try to hide his gay.  It's television, people.  I need suspense... and eye candy.


It's really sad that the season that had two of the most talented final two ever sucked this badly. Reasons it sucked?

1. Nicki

2. Mariah

3. The BLATANT manipulation of finalists to GUARANTEE a female winner.

4. The absolute lack of at least one MALE contestant that had at the very least, a personality.

As far as the finale goes...the so-called "guest talent" mostly consists of dinosaurs (yes, I know Frankie Valli was a legend forty years ago). What made his appearance even more pathetic was the fact that at 80 years old, he sang and looked better than the five eunuchs that were "chosen" as the top 5 boys.

Aretha's remote performance wearing her mumu-of-the-day was bizarre to say the least. It did have one highlight: while the girls were singing "Freedom", I was singing "Kreedom".

Highlights of the night: Canidice/JHud duo, Kree/Keith Duo, The "Kreedom" chorus during Aretha's bizarre remote appearance and last but not least, the beautiful friendship that has blossomed between Kree and Candice. It was also refreshing to see two talented women who don't look like toothy Barbies make it all the way to the finale. For ONCE, it WAS about talent.

Lowlights: Mariah's pre-taped lip sync and JLo's "performance" (and I use the term loosely).

I hope Keith Urban returns as a judge. He was the only one who actually gave them good advice and acted like a coherent adult all season long. Besides, he's good eye candy! :-)


I am not shocked by the low ratings...the judges and producers wanted a female winner and the show is paying for it. Next season, they will focus mostly likely on a guy with a guitar


@henderking I think there's some potential in that idea, though Idol is doomed if they promote it as an "Idol All-Star rejects' 2nd chance" contest. 

Anyone remember "World Idol?" Anyone remember who won ... without going to Wikipedia? 

Well, I think this is a better idea than "World Idol." But I think "Idol" needs a lot more if it's going to move back up in the ratings.


@henderking If they didn't "do well" after the massive exposure that Idol gave them, they're not going to "do well" now that they're older. Someone else has replied to this with a list of their picks for such a venture....Christina Christianson, Leah Labelle, Blake Lewis???? I'm afraid that show would get cancelled mid-season like Charlie's Angels reboot.


I have been wanting this since season 1!

Let's pick people from each season :D

Season 1 - Christina Christianson, or Tamyra Gray
Season 2- Trenyce,
Season 3 - Latoya London, John Stevens, Leah Labell
Season 4 - Bo Bice, Vonzell Solomon
Season 5 - Elliot Yamin, Bucky Covington, Paris Bennet
Season 6 - Melinda DooLittle, Lakisha Jones, Blake Lewis
Season 7 - Honestly, I would accept anyone from this season save for Ramiele or Chikezie
Season 8 - Allison Iraheta (I would only consider Danney Gokey so that we could have a villain),
Season 9 - Didi Benami
Season 10 - Pia Toscano, Naima Adedapo, Haley Reinhart,
Season 11 - Hollie Cavanaugh, Colton Dixon, (or anyone from the top 7)
Season 12 - Any of the girls from the top 5 but obviously, I prefer Amber :P

Maybe we should have 2 from each season perform for a semi-final round and then see who makes it from each season? :D


@IdleTime So true! I think the judges on The Voice have amazing chemistry and a large part of the reason I watch it is b/c of that. American Idol focuses too much on the judges and when they don't have chemistry it made it unbearable to watch. At least for me. 

The thing about The Voice I don't like is that they let through people who have had record label deals before, like Cassadee and then she wins b/c she already has a huge following whereas Idol is more for unknowns, which I do like. And going by who has more albums out, American Idol people definitely, no question. It's too bad that XFactor and The Voice don't do much for their artists afterwards b/c I like the contestants on The Voice more than the rest of the singing shows. 

My real question is where are the first 2 winners of the Voices albums? And the girl who won the X-Factor? A contract means nothing if you take 2 years to put out the album. People will have forgotten about you which is why I think Idol is going so fast to put out Candices this year. 

Rickey moderator

@takakupo The main reason that I say there is "no comeback" is that Idol has crossed the "psychological barrier" of being a phenomenon to truly a "has been". Now when they say that they "make stars" it doesn't hold any weight because this season has proven otherwise in the ratings. This will loom large in the search for new judges in the coming months and probably with a new production team. The show will stammer out of the gate in January 2014 -- again off the heels of The Voice and The X Factor in the fall -- and the downward cycle begins again, now with even worse numbers than this season.

The best that it can do is stay stable at some sort of number like "Survivor". But there are no more bragging rights at being the "best". 

They cynical me is debating whether I should champion the return of Nigel Lythgoe or not. But I think the best course of action at this point is to completely start over with something new. Either way, a loss-loss position for this show.

For the past couple of seasons, they should have aimed for how to make the show "stable". Unfortunely, the various "changes" they implemented damaged the show severely. 8 million viewers lost in one year. The floor just collapsed from under them.


And one more highlight: Jeanelle kicked some SERIOUS butt with the Band Perry!


@Mikhail XO Many of the loyal viewers are the ones still watching. It's the general audience that doesn't give a fuck. 


@Rickey @takakupo Sorry, I've rewritten these huge responses like 3 times and I just can't reply without ranting. I see what your saying Rickey and I can't disagree with most of it. The historical trends of televisions are in the favor of your argument. I, however, remain more optimistic because the problems have been identified, clear as day, throughout the last decade with easy fixes and I don't think there's any need to start over or beg for Nigel to come back, but just fix these problems and gain the trust of the viewers back with good, honest, clean television programming. That's all I can say.