‘American Idol’ Shows Impressive Ratings With 2-Hour Reveal Episode

As the semi-finalists are announced, “Idol” posts strong gains over last year's numbers

"American Idol" received solid ratings for Thursday night's show, a two-hour episode that revealed the current crop's 24 semifinalists.

Thursday's "Idol" pulled 21.6 million total viewers. That's a slight dip from last Thursday's show which drew in 22.2 million total viewers, but a 19 percent improvement over a comparable episode last year, which pulled in 18.1 million viewers on February 25, 2010.

The "Idol" numbers for Thursday's show also helped the series maintain its dominance over its rivals. The Fox show's closest competition came via CBS, where "Big Bang Theory" in the 8 p.m. slot had a modest gain over last week. This week's "Big Bang Theory" had 12.51 million viewers versus the previous episode's 12.41 million. "Rules of Engagement," airing at 8:30 p.m., garnered 9.63 million viewers.

ABC's "Wipeout," which went against "Idol" in its first hour, posted a gain of 1.1 million viewers over last week's episode, grabbing 7.1 million viewers.