LOS ANGELES (MCT) - Ryan Seacreast declared it "the end of an era," and Janet Jackson even kept her shirt on. But in the eyes of Nielsen, Simon Cowell's last episode as chief justice of "American Idol" was the least-watched finale since its first season, when the show ran during the summer and was just starting to become a phenomenon.
About 24.2-million people tuned in Wednesday night to see Lee DeWyze get crowned the new "American Idol" over Crystal Bowersox, who seemed to be the people's choice. Although that is a strong number that any network would kill for, it is also about 16 percent off the 28.8 million who watched last year's finale. Among adults ages 18 to 49, Wednesday night's finale averaged an 8.2 rating, off 18 percent from last year's 10.0 rating. A rating point in that demographic equals 1.3-million people.