Ratings for American Idol 8‘s pee-in-your-pants shocker of a finale were down from last year, a reversal after ratings rebounded for last season’s finale. That made the finale the second lowest-rated ever, only beating season one’s Sept. 2002 finale.
During the 127 minute results show, about 28.8 million people watched, according to TV By the Numbers, although that number could change slightly with DVR viewers and because of the seven-minute overrun. And The Hollywood Reporter notes that the finale “peaked at 34 million viewers in the final half-hour countdown.” (About 23 million watched Tuesday night.)
Overall, the show’s ratings fell this season, but it remains television’s number-one show by a long shot. Variety notes that the finale “was easily the top-rated program of the May sweep” and “drew roughly three times the demo score of the next highest-rated program on Wednesday, the season finale of ‘Criminal Minds’ on CBS.”