Despite the sort of obvious conclusion, American Idol 5‘s two-hour finale spectacular was watched by 36.3 million people, the most-watched finale in five seasons, and the fourth most-watched program this year.
During the last half-hour, 42.9 million were watching. It began “with 27.4 million viewers and 10.5/32 in 18-49, climbing steadily to a peak of 42.9 million and an astounding 17.0/38 in its final half-hour,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Those are “gains of double-digit percentages compared with last year’s finale” among total viewers and those 18 to 49, Variety reports. The Hollywood Reporter puts it in simpler terms, noting that the viewership “was nearly nine times the population of Hicks’ native state of Alabama and the most-watched ‘Idol’ finale yet.”