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American Idol

American Idol 2013 Still Dominates The Voice and The X Factor

Before American Idol 2013 began, the question of whether ratings would continue to nosedive this season loomed large. Would new judges Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey and Keith Urban excite the viewers enough to get them tuning in? Could new twists for auditions and voting bring in higher quality talent and prove the show still deserved its number one ranking?

For all of American Idol’s past ratings domination, the show has definitely acquired enemies and critics alike. Some detractors even seemed to hope the show would fail the first night into its 12th season. Quite a few fans swore new judge Nicki Minaj would absolutely keep them from watching, according to, and possibly even bring about the demise of the show all by herself!

The truth is -- the American Idol 2013 premiere didn’t dominate, but it didn’t fail, either. As Buzzfeed put it, the ratings were down “but not disastrous.” An average of 17 million viewers watched the two-hour premiere, which Nielsen reported as a 19 percent slump compared to last season. What probably hurt the powers-that-be the most was the decline in viewers 18 to 49 (a 6.0 rating). This age group is generally considered the sweet spot when it comes to advertisers dropping the big coin.

With a season slogan that says “Others dream, Idol delivers,” American Idol has tried to pull the focus from the drop in ratings and put it more on the idea they, unlike The Voice and The X Factor, are putting out hitmakers like Phillip Phillips, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and more. So just how do they compare to these other shows in the ratings?

The American Idol 2013 premiere beat out The Voice hands down, despite some predictions it may someday top the long-running show in the ratings. When The Voice premiered last September, only 12.3 million viewers tuned in, compared to the 21.9 million viewers for Idol a virtual landslide by any standards. Of course, you could argue that The Voice hasn’t been around as long and such a comparison is not exactly fair.

Credit: Michael Becker/FOX © 2010 Fox Broadcasting Co.    

Despite having Simon Cowell at the helm, The X Factor has also disappointed in the ratings compared to American Idol. According to some critics, Simon himself doesn’t even seem that interested in the show. Entertainment Weekly’s Annie Barrett didn’t mince in any words when critiquing The X Factor’s second season.

“The song-and-dance productions were as clunky and forgettable as ever, Britney’s face got real old real fast, and Mario and Khlomeister still can’t even figure out which camera to gape at,” she wrote. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

The X Factor season two finale, a benchmark episode for any show, only had 9.6 million viewers and a 3.1 rating, which was down 18 percent from its first season finale. The show was even down 37 percent in comparison to The Voice’s finale, which aired right around the same time. Entertainment Weekly speculates that it could be Simon’s “TMZ-friendly hiring choices,” compared to the stellar lineup of musicians on The Voice. It remains to be seen whether the mega-star power at the 2013 American Idol judges’ table will help or hurt the show.

The moral of the ratings story seems to be that, while American Idol 2013 may take a dip in ratings, it’s still good to be on top.

Do you think Idol will hang on to its lead in the ratings?

Sources: Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Buzzfeed