In Depth

‘American Idol’ Ratings: Lowest Performance Finale Ever

Tuesday night’s “American Idol” was the series’ lowest-rated final performance night ever.

Last night’s episode drew an 8.3 rating/24 share among adults 18-49, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research figures. About 23.1 million viewers tuned in to see Adam Lambert and Kris Allen give their final performances before a winner is crowned tonight.

Compared with last year’s live-plus-same-day numbers, last night’s “Idol” dropped 18% in the demo and 15% in total viewers.

Week to week, “Idol” posted a 4% increase, but that bump pales in comparison to the 12% weekly increase for the comparable episodes last year. In total viewers, this year’s final performance saw a 2% weekly increase, while last year there was a 9% increase.

Final numbers are expected to reflect a bump in “Idol’s” performance once the show’s three-minute overrun into the 9 p.m. hour is taken into consideration, maxing out at an 8.4 or 8.5 rating in the demo.

“Idol” was up against fierce competition for the night, including the finale of “Dancing With the Stars” and NBA basketball coverage. Check out Ratings Chart Attack later today for a full recap of the night.