We've Got Hollywood Covered

Ratings: ‘American Idol’ Series Finale Ends on High Note

Fox singing competition series’ star-studded ending delivers sweet numbers in total viewers, key demo

The “American Idol” series finale sent the Fox singing competition out with a sweet ratings swan song, according to preliminary Nielsen numbers.

The finale averaged 12.9 million total viewers over its two hour broadcast, along with a 3.0 rating in the advertiser coveted adults 18-49 demographic.

The numbers are even more impressive when you break them down. In the 8 p.m.-9 period, the show averaged 11.7 million viewers and a 2.6 rating. But that rose to 14.1 million viewers and a 3.3 rating from 9-10 when the final winner was crowned. The show also rose in both measures during every half hour, peaking at 14.5 million viewers and a 3.4 rating at 9:30.

For comparison, the “American Idol” Season 14 finale marked a new low for a finale for the series, managing only 8 million viewers and a 1.7 rating. That’s a 62 percent rise in total viewers and an 76 percent rise in the key demo year over year. Thursday night was also “Idol’s” biggest finale audience in three years.

Set at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, the finale featured a slew of returning contestants, including past winners Scotty McCreery, Jordin Sparks, Carrie Underwood and a very pregnant Kelly Clarkson, who pre-taped her performance.

The two-hour finale was jam-packed with performances and medley’s from some of “Idol’s” most notable alums. Katharine McPhee, Kree Harrison, Diana DeGarmo, Chris Daughtry, Pia Toscano, Fantasia Barrino, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Hicks, Candice Glover, Melinda Doolittle and Jessica Sanchez were among the dozens of returning contestants.

Fox easily won the night, airing only the “American Idol” series finale.

CBS finished a distant second behind  in total viewers, averaging 7.3 million viewers, and tied for second in the key demo with a 1.6 rating.”Big Bang Theory” was the only the only show to rival “Idol,” scoring 13.2 million viewers and a 3.0 rating at 8. “The Odd Couple” season premiere followed at 8:30 with 7.8 million viewers and a 1.6 rating. At 9, “Mom” got 7.3 million viewers and a  1.5 rating. At 9:30 “2 Broke Girls” scored just under 6 million viewers and a  1.4 rating. And “Rush Hour” was down in its second week at 10 with just under 5 million viewers and a 0.9 rating.

ABC finished a third in total viewers with an average of 6 million viewers and tied for second in the demo with a 1.6 rating. “Grey’s Anatomy” got 7.3 million viewers and a 2.1 rating at 8. “Scandal” managed 5.9 million viewers and a 1.7 rating at 9. “The Catch” got just 4.9 million viewers and a 1.1 rating at 10.

NBC finished in fourth place with 4.9 million viewers and a 0.9 rating. A repeat of “Little Big Shots” aired at 8. “The Blacklist” drew 6.2 million viewers and a 1.2 rating at 9. A repeat of “Law & Order: SVU” followed at 10.

Univision came in fifth with 1.8 million viewers and a 0.7 rating.

The CW finished sixth in total viewers with 1.6 million but tied for sixth in the demo with a 0.6 rating. “DC ‘s Legends of Tomorrow” nabbed 2 million viewers and a 0.7 rating at 8. “The 100” got 1.3 million viewers and a 0.5 rating at 9.

Telemundo came in seventh in total viewers with 1.4 million but tied for sixth in the demo with a 0.6  rating.