Olympics break American Idol’s six-year winning streak thanks to US gold, another terrible Idol episode

American Idol‘s six-year streak of ratings victories ended last night when the show went up against the Olympics, and lost: 18.4 million watched the top 24 be announced, while 30.1 million tuned in to the Olympics.

An NBC press release citing Nielsen ratings says last night was the “[f]irst time that Idol was defeated in P2+ (average viewership) and Adults 18-49 since May 17, 2004,” and the “[f]irst time Idol has been defeated among households since April 15, 2004.” Four years ago, the reverse was true, as the Fox series stomped on the Olympics.

The Olympics’ Wednesday victory in the ratings was helped by Shaun White’s gold and the fact that “it may well have been the single greatest day the U.S. Olympic team has ever had at a Winter Olympics,” as a Sports Illustrated columnist wrote.

But let’s not forget that this was one of the worst American Idol episodes ever: plodding, boring, repetitive, and even die-hard fans probably felt burned after the awfulness that was Tuesday’s episode. It’s like they didn’t even try.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.