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May 27, 2010

Simon says goodbye as 'Idol' ratings slide

_VB21212cr "American Idol" said farewell to charismatic judge Simon Cowell during Wednesday night's star-studded season finale, which included an array of special guests from the show's past -- including former judge Paula Abdul.

The proceedings weren't enough to stop the reality hit's annual ratings slide, however, with the ninth-season closer ranking as the show's lowest-rated finale yet.

The two-hour "Idol" which saw Lee DeWyze crowned as the winner easily dominated broadcast competitors with 24.2 million viewers and an 8.2 adults 18-49 rating. But that's down 18% from last year, when Adam Lambert and Kris Allen faced off, continuing an erosion that began in 2007.

The season launched by improving upon last year in the ratings. As the season progressed, a gap between the years formed, with critics saying this year's finalists weren't very compelling. Overall, "Idol" has retained 91% of its adult demo rating this year compared to last year.

With most veteran series having dropped the same or worse this year, "Idol" has nonetheless helped Fox chalk up another broadcast season as the top-rated network. Fox has won its sixth straight season in a row in the adult demo -- the most consecutive season wins of any network in broadcast history. CBS led the pack among total viewers. 

Here's links to several reviews of last night's show. Below is a track showing "Idol" finale ratings through the years:

MB2_4214(2) 5/20/09…10.0/28…28.8 million
5/21/08…11.4/30…31.7 million
5/23/07…11.5/31…30.7 million
5/24/06…14.2/35…36.4 million
5/25/05…12.5/31…30.3 million
5/26/04…12.0/32…28.8 million
5/21/03…15.9/36…36.2 million
9/4/02 …10.7/30…22.8 million (aired in summer)

Last night's episode rivaled "Idol Gives Back" for star wattage, featuring appearances by Janet Jackson, Christina Aguilera, The Bee Gees, Alanis Morissette, Bret Michaels and several former "Idol" winners.

Below: Paula Abdul, who will judge her own talent competition show next season on CBS, returns to "Idol" ...

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