Ratings: You Loved the Idol Finale This Big - 38.6 Million Watch Winner Crowned

American Idol played to an average of 29.3 million total viewers — reaching a peak of 38.6 mil come coronation time — as it brought Season 10 to a close on Wednesday night.

Compared to the Season 9 finale (quick, name who won!), that’s a gain of 21 percent in audience, while this year’s demo rating of 9.2 represents a 12 percent bump.

All told, the Season 10 finale delivered Idol‘s first season-to-season gain in total viewers in five years, and its first demo increase in three.

Michael Slezak’s American Idol Finale Recap: Low and Steady Wins the Race

Elsewhere on the final night of May sweeps — and yes, other shows were on:

* The Middle ended its season with 7.43 million viewers and a 2.2 rating, dipping a bit week-to-week. (Dipping a bit….)

* With 10.22 million viewers and a 4.1 rating, Modern Family wrapped its sophomore run with slight gains versus last Wednesday.

* Cougar Town‘s hour-long season-ender averaged 5.1 mil/1.9, down 5 percent on both counts.

* ABC’s Happy Endings enjoyed — wait for it — a happy ending, gaining 18 percent in viewers (with 4.06 mil) and 21 percent in the demo (1.7) versus last week’s double-episode average. And it’s coming back in the fall!

* Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior closed the case on its one-and-done run by dropping 10 percent in total audience (to 7.52 mil) and holding steady in the demo (at 2.0).

What did you watch and enjoy as May sweeps came to a close?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Kirstin says:

    The Finale itself was more entertaining but the the two left standing were boring as all get out. I dub them the Stepford Finalists.

    • Larry says:

      That is brilliant! ‘Stepford Finalists’ perfectly sums up this season of AI.

    • CandaceTX says:

      @Kirstin: zing!

      I like Scotty, happy he won. Is he the most exciting winner ever? nah! But he might be the sweetest, most innocent, God-fearing little lamb to ever hold a mic sideways.

      Glad it’s over. Now I can focus on The Voice.

    • opus says:

      I am SOOOOO tired of these comments about Scotty and Lauren being boring. I am extremely excited that Scotty won and wish his album was available now. By the way, I am not a teenage girl nor particularly a country music fan; I just find Scotty’s voice to be amazing. GO SCOTTY!!!!

    • Larry wow there are many Larrys around at least three or four says:

      haha I was calling their chosen ones the Stepford singers too. Little malleable ones who the judges can praise as perfect while knocking down those who have what it takes to be an artist and dare and stand up against steam-rolls or merely dare to defend the way Michael Jackson wrote his own frickin song!

  2. TrulyRoxie says:

    I watched the finale long enough to see Casey and Haley sing their duets and then I changed channels.

    • CandaceTX says:

      Haley didnt need Casey – she had Tony Bennett!! While Casey was clowning around – she was putting in major work and making it look effortless. Haley is a force. Casey is a farce. I started out loving (the potential of) Casey but” #major_disappointment

      Country music aint my thang, but I am happy Scotty won. He seems like a good kid and I really do wish him well.

      *how freaking awesome and lovely was Gladys Knight??!!!

      *Looooooved the duet with Haley and Mr. Bennett (respect)

      *Actually enjoyed the duet with Scotty and Tim McHunky quite a bit – but I can’t discern whether that was due to hormones or harmonies — Tim has that effect on me, I admit… and I don’t even listen to country!

      Tim was very gracious and gave Scott the chance to shine, and Scotty stepped it up.

      *Gaga: gah! Too bad your fall of that cliff was just staged.

      *B: ummmm…..uhhh… hmmm. I got nothin.

      *TLC – unfortunate.

      No closeups, because I suspect TBoz requested it. She looks as though she has gained a little weight- but I give her a pass on that because I know she has serious health issues.

      *Marc Anthony – boyfriend can sing! Major points for Sheila E (looking fab-u-luz).

      *Loved Steven’s Dream On, guess they cut it short, because it mighta kinda sucked without Joe Perry on the guitar parts.

      *Carrie U: I think she turned it down a little in an attempt to showcase Lauren… and she still sang circles around her. I can only imagine if she gone full throttle.

      Carrie looked and sounded amazing. She’s come a long way since AI.

      *Judas Priest on American Idol – never thought I’d type those words in the same sentence. But just like Carrie owned Lauren, these REAL kings of metal totally schooled James.

      One day, James will make a great cover-band singer…but he will never be a Halford, or a Dio, or a Hetfield, or (Black Sabbath) Ozzy, or Dickinson, or… you get the point. Screaming is NOT metal.

      Looking forward to XFactor and The Voice.

      • JD says:

        You didn’t give TBoz a pass on her weight gain. You called it out and insinuated it had everything to do with the camerawork during the performance, ignoring how on point she sounded.

        Disgusting comment. Hope you don’t drown in the shallow end.

        • CandaceTX says:

          Guess that’s your opinion. You’re entitled to it. I mentioned it (or ‘called it out’ as you say) because there were (very cruel) conversations (on other message boards) about how far away the cameras were during the performance — and they were I wanted to point out that she has health issues, to provide a reason for why she looked as she did. But, to your point, I should have just aimed my reply to those boards specifically message boards. No need to be so harsh – you can disagree with me without defaming my character. We can discuss keep it to the facts… and those facts are:
          1. you don’t know me at all to call me shallow 2. The cameras were shooting from so faraway that you could barely see them perform. 3. TBoz has gained weight 4.She does have health problems.

          • JS says:

            I agree. Judas Priest is my all time favorite band probably and Rob HAlford is my all time favorite singer. I am a metal head true at heart. Mostly 80s metal. ANd James just doesn’t have it. He has to strain to hard when he screams and it often sounds umpleasant and uncomfortable to the listener. With Halford it is effortless and on point every time. And he is in his 60s. Experience may be part of it but James needs A LOT OF WORK!!!!! As for TLC. I don’t know why they were accused of lip syncing. If the recording sounded like that they wouldn’t have sold 10 records/ Someone’s voice was completely shot and raspy/cracking the whole time!! And how random was having them perform anyway? Are they reuniting or something?

          • JD says:

            1. I don’t know you. I only know your shallow comment. I don’t surround myself with shallowness so I probably will never know you. 2. No they weren’t. 3. Yes, she has, as you have pointed out three times now, insinuating she’s too fat for the cameras to pan in. 4. Mentioning her health doesn’t negate your shallow comments.

            Bringing up her physical appearance is rude, pointless, and says more about you than anyone else.

        • CandaceTX says:

          @JS throw up your horns!!! \m/ \m/
          Halford rules!

    • Larry says:

      Casey and Jack Black were pretty funny and Casey held his own and more.
      Haley w. Tony Bennett was awesome, cute performance and the only one of the fully serious duets where the Idol singer didn’t pale, she seemed like she belonged, 100%. Awesome little moment.
      Steven Tyler can still sing! live too! (maybe why he was the only one of three to seem to recognize Haley and give her her due, hah the dude and dudette can sing! for taking a stand in the end against nonsense, he along retains his soul haha)

  3. Boiler says:

    This is why good scripted shows have no chance. 30 million people watch 2 TEENAGERS who will likely have mediocre careers, no offense to the kids, and then x-factor comes on with a 5 mill prize and the age can be as low as I think 6 or so

    • CandaceTX says:

      All things will change as they always do.

      Remember (or maybe you don’t), there was a time when Westerns ruled the airwaves. Every other show involved a horse, an injun, a damsel, and gunplay of some sort…

      Reality is the new thing, and people will tire of it and move on to the next thing. Be patient.

  4. Salvador says:

    Season 8 the best ever ALLISON, ALLISON’S DUETS KRADISON

  5. Alex says:

    Couldn’t care less about Idol, so glad that Happy Endings did better! Love that show, and very happy it’s returning in the fall in the post Modern Family time slot!

  6. Jaime says:

    Wait… No Idoloonies? No Haley interview? Wait is this the last recap of Idol 10? PLEASE ANSWER I WANT A HALEY INTERVEIW.

    • Suncatcher says:

      Jaime – SLEZAK said this week that he had tried to line up Haley for Idoloonies but she was already overbooked and working on the finale. Supposedly he will have her this coming week.

  7. Elle says:

    I was done with this show during season 9 when all the good singers left except for Crystal who didn’t even win and all because for some reason girls rarely do well on Idol.Plus with The Voice being super uh-maz-ing and The X Factor coming up is there any point in this show.No offence Steven Tyler and JLo I love you guys but really Idol, just die, please.

  8. George says:

    No Matt Webb Mitovich. We DON’T love Idol this big. We tuned in to watch Haley, James, Pia, Casey and a bevy of guest performers. We didn’t tune in to watch Scotty the Body attempt to eat falling paper. P.S. Lee DeWyze won (in answer to your weak attempt at humor).

    • anon says:

      And not the shocking drop from top three (with Haley) to the top two performances of 16% among key demographic and since it should have climbed the drop is ever worse than that!
      And there were rumors about Haley debuting a single and people wanted to see her and James, Pia, Casey, etc. again and U2/Gaga/Beyonce and such probably got some viewers as well, probably bigger names than often before.
      Even so the final announcement show had run of the mill ratings compared to seasons past overall.
      BUT THE KEY FACT FINAL TWO DROPPED 16% FROM FINAL THREE (when I’m pretty sure it should have risen)

  9. Wow says:

    Thats why this country sucks so much… We have at the very least 38.6 million morons in this country.

    • Michael says:

      Oh really…the country sucks because 38.6 million people enjoy kids reaching for their dreams and working hard for 6 months to improve their vocals rather than being “given” an immediate contract because their voice can be synthesized in the studio to sound good? That makes a ton of sense.

      IDOL rocks, it brings people/families/the country together. And I love every second of it. Can’t wait until season 11.

  10. RM says:

    The ratings were good because the show loaded up performances from several popular, mainstream, and relevant singers like Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Carrie Underwood. People pay upwards of $175 to see these people perform in sold-out arenas. There is
    no way 30 million people would tune into a five minute broadcast just to see whether Lauren or Scotty won. Last year, the biggest act was KISS.

    • Michael says:

      The issue was last year the talent wasn’t good. This year it was GREAT.

    • DPrang says:

      I tuned in to see the guest performers… not 2 young country performers. Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Marc Anthony with Sheila E, Judas Priest with James, Tyler and U2…wow!

  11. anon says:


    She now THAT is the real story. The ratings in the key target dropped a stunning 16% from top three to finale performances even though they should have climbed!

  12. GS says:

    For all the people claiming they only watched for certain parts, guess what?? They don’t care! The point is you DID watch and it counts. Everyone is saying Idol is in the toilet but the ratings obviously say otherwise. Just admit you like to watch it and complain about everything imaginable for your own entertainment. No shame in it. I watched last season and didn’t really like any of them. I love Lauren and Scotty (and James) but I would have still watched if they hadn’t made it. I get so tired of the drama people try to wring out of a fluff show that is there purely for entertainment.

  13. Bob says:

    Where was Joe Perry and the rest of Aerosmith? :-D

  14. Stumpy MacPhail says:

    OK fans seriously, why has Haley not been on Ellen, Jay Leno, Letterman, Idoloonies (for God sakes?) Who is her management team? She needs to do more than open Microsoft stores at shopping centers! Please, please get her on some entertainment shows! We need a Growler fix!!!!

  15. Abby says:

    Yay Happy Endings!

  16. S says:

    I only watched for the other people performing like Lady Gaga and Beyonce haha