American Idol Ratings Hit a Slump

Premiere takes a dive in numbers among younger viewers.

Posted: 01/17/2013 09:00 AM EST

Diva feuds and a revolving door of celebrity judges aren’t enough to keep the ratings for American Idol from slipping. The reality-based singing contest entered its 12th season with a sharply lower viewership

For the two-hour premiere an average of 17.8 million total viewers tuned in, which was a lagging 19 percent drop when compared to last season’s viewership. According to Nielsen, the decline among viewers age 18 to 49 — the group advertisers most desire — was also at 19 percent. That dip (the worst premiere since the first season) suggests that Idol continues to lose its appeal among younger viewers. 

There was already speculation about a decline, especially during the premiere, because of the new panel of judges replacing Jennifer Lopez  and Steven Tyler. Two of the new additions — pop divas Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj — joined the team under a swirl of rumors that they didn’t get along. After the two reportedly began feuding, one spat was famously caught on video.

While Idol’s numbers have shown decline, is has been noted that FOX, the network of the singing competition, still beat the combined results of ABC, CBS and NBC. In a statement, the network also said the ratings slump was “expected” because of the show’s changes in celebrity judges.

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 (Photo: Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)

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