‘Idol’ Draws Second-Largest Finale Audience

May 25, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The fifth season of Fox’s “American Idol” had a big close Wednesday night, with more than 36 million viewers tuning in.

The May 24 finale, which crowned Birmingham, Ala., singer Taylor Hicks the fifth “Idol,” scored a 14.2 national rating in adults 18 to 49, a number that includes live-plus-same-day viewing, according to Nielsen Media research.

That was “Idol’s” fourth-best show ever in adults 18 to 49, and its second-highest season finale since the season two finale in 2003. (16.8).

“Idol” went from a 10.8 rating at the 8 p.m. (ET) half-hour to a 17.3 by 9:30 p.m.

The finale featured performances by Prince, Burt Bacharach, Mary J. Blige, Al Jarreau, Live, Dionne Warwick and former “Idol” contestant Clay Aiken. Last season’s winner, Carrie Underwood, took the stage to perform “Don’t Forget to Remember Me.” “Idol” finalist Katharine McPhee sang “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” with Meat Loaf, while Mr. Hicks was joined by Toni Braxton on “In the Ghetto.”

With most of the broadcast competition going with repeats and movies, ABC aired the two-hour finale of its drama “Lost” at 9 p.m. The plane crash thriller scored a 7.6, its best ratings in adults 18 to 49 since February.