American Idol Wins the Night Against the Winter Olympics

Great ratings for American Idol last night, considering it was competing directly with the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

As an aside, Idol Season 5 beat the Winter Olympics routinely back in 2006. But then, Idol was hitting it’s peak at that point…

via Mediaweek:

-Ratings Breakdown:
Not even the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games could stop the American Idol juggernaut, with Idol-ignited Fox outdelivering NBC by 3.23 million viewers and 3.7 rating points among adults 18-49. Tied for the distant No. 3 spot were ABC and CBS.

A two-hour edition of Fox’s American Idol, which unveiled seven of the 24 semifinalists, averaged 23.64 million viewers and a 9.1 rating/22 share among adults 18-49 from 8-10 p.m., with the half-hour breakdown as follows:

American Idol (Fox)
8:00 p.m. – Viewers: 21.83 million (#1), A18-49: 8.3/23 (#1)
8:30 p.m. – Viewers: 24.35 million (#1), A18-49: 9.4/23 (#1)
9:00 p.m. – Viewers: 24.14 million (#1), A18-49: 9.3/22 (#1)
9:30 p.m. – Viewers: 24.22 million (#1), A18-49: 9.4/22 (#1)

Needless to say, this is quite an accomplishment opposite The Winter Olympics,

Over at NBC, the first Tuesday of the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games scored 20.41 million viewers and a 5.4/14 in the demo in prime-time, with the half-hour breakdown as follows:

Vancouver Olympic Winter Games (NBC)
8:00 p.m. – Viewers: 17.39 million (#2), A18-49: 4.0/11 (#2)
8:30 p.m. – Viewers: 19.81 million (#2), A18-49: 4.9/12 (#1)
9:00 p.m. – Viewers: 21.00 million (#2), A18-49: 5.7/13 (#2)
9:30 p.m. – Viewers: 20.75 million (#2), A18-49: 5.6/13 (#2)
10:00 p.m. – Viewers: 22.38 million (#1), A18-49: 6.3/16 (#1)
10:30 p.m. – Viewers: 21.14 million (#1), A18-49: 6.0/17 (#1)

About mj santilli 33688 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!


  1. Wow. I’m actually kinda surprised to see this. I naturally assumed AI might come in second versus the olympics, especially since it’s not even the voting rounds yet, and the olympics is such a “once in a blue moon” event. But, hooray Idol! I was watching last night :-)

  2. Yeah, I’m surprised they held on to so many viewers given how unbelievably boring the show was. Maybe it helped that the American figure skaters were on after 10:00?

  3. I’m pretty sure AI didn’t win it’s rating in Canada. The Cdn men’s hockey team played their first game last night.

  4. Idol beat the winter Olympics back in 2006 during Season 5. In fact, back then it sorta creamed them if I recall. But, I don’t think the events were live then, and of course, Idol was at it’s prime that season.

  5. Wow! I was sure the Olympics would trounce Idol in the ratings. Shows how much I know. LOL I’m happy to see AI still holding its own.

  6. i can’t help but think that this has something to do with how badly NBC’s Olympic coverage BLOWS.

  7. I watched the Olympics and Lost instead, since Idol was so tedious last week. I thought the OLympics coverage was good last night.

  8. I watched the Olympics and Lost instead, since Idol was so tedious last week. I thought the OLympics coverage was good last night.

    Ha, so did I. I flove me some men’s figure skating though, so I’m not really giving NBC credit for their coverage. (Also, if you think the Idol judging is whack, can I just say Johnny Weir was seriously underscored.)

  9. The ratings have remained very strong for the auditions and hollywood, Paula’s departure doesn’t seem to have affected the show, so far so good.

  10. I watched IDOL instead of the Olympics. Honestly, I think things like the tragic luger crash, the repeated cancellations/delays of big events due to poor conditions, etc., have caused people to take less interest in the Olympics this time around. I don’t necessarily think it’s NBC’s coverage that is causing rating issues as much as issues with the event itself.

    I’m pleasantly surprised, though, to see the great results for IDOL because the audition rounds and first couple of Hollywood shows weren’t so thrilling. Actually, last night’s show wasn’t so great (so much repetition) and normally I’d expect to see a drop off for tonight, but since the remaining Top 24 are being announced IDOL may luck out and keep its ratings.

  11. I watched men’s figure skating last night. It was awesome. Plushie isn’t as good as he used to be, but he’s pretty damn good for having just started training 11 months ago ♥ And male skaters are just hot.

    I switched back and forth between the Olympics and Idol at first, but Idol was just so boring last night. I’m surprised so many people watched it. The producers should thank their lucky stars for Ellen, because without her this show would be tanking.

  12. i should clarify. west coast olympics coverage blows. i am forced to wait until midnight every night to see the results of an event that took place hours earlier. pisses me off. im glad idol held its ground.

  13. West Coast Olympic coverage pisses me off too. I dislike having to avoid the internet for fear of spoilers. BUT… I can understand their reasoning. If they started broadcasting the show live, at like 4 in the afternoon, everyone would be at work and they wouldn’t get half so many viewers.

  14. I taped AI and watched it after the Olympics. IMHO I could have easily skipped that show and wouldn’t have missed anything. I guess last year did me in on sob stories and drama. The one who was arguing with them because she didn’t make the cut, if they had changed their mind I would have screamed. I got sick of seeing people crying and sobbing. I didn’t watch any of the auditions and now Im thinking I will skip the Hollywood weeks. I may end up like Adam and eventually just tune in for the top 10.

  15. Even though I really dislike Plush’s persona, he was unbelieveably good for not skating for 3 1/2 yrs. Evan L. was great too. Johnny Weir was mesmerizing and should be higher. From the early skaters I liked Lambiel from Switzerland and the last Slovak was good, too. IMO the made-up drama of Idol can’t compete.

  16. I think Idol will have even better ratings tonight. I think airing a few of the top 24 was actually brilliant last night, made people turn in and they will turn in again tonight to see who completes the 24. Also, the second hour was pretty boring as the chair episode always is, but did people really think the first hour was boring? That was the most singing I had ever seen in a hollywood episode…

  17. Sherena,

    i hear what you’re saying. But they could start at 8pm and show the event in its entirety and be done by 10 or 11 and not midnight.

    as this is an american idol blog, i am done with my olympics’ coverage rant (for another four years anyway). sure felt good, though.

  18. I watched Lost and taped AI. The Olympics weren’t even on my radar.

  19. WOW!!! i’m so surprised that AI beat the olympics. i really thought it wouldn’t.

  20. I tivoed both and kept switching back and forth and then went back later and sped through both to see what I missed. Tiring! I loooved Johnny Weir last night. He was seriously underscored. The crowd booed when his scores came up last night. He was so entertaining. Made my night compared to the sadness I felt for some of the contestants on idol that didn’t make it. Ellen is bringing one of those on her show Friday who got dismissed but who she really liked. Maybe Charity?
    I’m excited to see snowboarding and speed skating tonight. Love both idol and the Olympics. Have to say though that the Olympic coverage has been a bit drawn out. Otherwise, great stuff.

  21. Well, if its AI or Shaun White and the half pipe tonight….no contest, Shaun wins hands down.

  22. Also, if you think the Idol judging is whack, can I just say Johnny Weir was seriously underscored.

    OMG, YES, he was. Those Olympic judges are totally whack. He was technically sound, showed *artistry*, and was highly entertaining. Seriously, what is their problem? I hope he throws down the long program of his life tomorrow night.

    I watched AI then switched to the Olympics after. I also taped the re-airing of the prime time stuff from the middle of the night to catch what I missed while I was watching AI. It didn’t dawn on me when I was watching live, but it totally seemed planned that all 3 of the Americans skated after 10, once AI and Lost were over.

    And since we’re kinda discussing the Olympics in this thread – I haven’t watched men’s figure skating in a while, so I know who some of these men are, but am not that familiar with them. All 3 of the top 3 scorers last night had really great programs, but Evan Lysacek just blew me away… he took my breath away, and when he sank to his knees on the ice, I almost started crying with him. He is SUCH a beautiful skater. And the intensity! THAT is passion for your craft. Chills. I hope he can just throw it down tomorrow too. Plushenko is a really fantastic technical skater, but I didn’t get that “OMGWOW” feeling with him like I did with Lysacek, and even the Japanese guy and Johnny Weir.

    Anyway… yeah. Go Team USA! :)

  23. I also loved the passion of Evan Lysacek and tonight’s Shaun White. It is 4:30 AM and I am enjoying it immenesely. I watched all of American Idol both nights!

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