“American Idol” was a juggernaut in its early seasons, but it saw consecutively dwindling viewership year after year starting after season 6. The show reached a ratings high with 37.4 million viewers in season 6, but it steadily lost viewers after that.
Season 15 had the lowest ratings yet since the first season; it had only 10.9 million viewers and a 2.9 rating with the coveted 18-49 demographic.
Season 15 may have had dismal ratings, but it opened to greater numbers than the previous year’s premiere, and it had outstanding social media numbers. On opening night, the show got 100,000 tweets that were seen by an audience of 2.5 million. The previous season got only 78,000 tweets on opening night.
The show has also blown up on YouTube. “American Idol” maintains its own YouTube channel and puts up clips of the current and past shows, such as wild card performances, special appearances, and finale moments.
There are hundreds of videos just from the last season alone, and most of them have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of views. One performance by Idol original Kelly Clarkson has more than 18 million views. Another performance by Idol judge Jennifer Lopez has almost 3 million views.
Many people have turned to YouTube videos since they can see exactly what they want and not have to sit through the poor performance or the corny chit chat — not to mention all the commercials. Also, it’s easier to find a few minutes to watch a YouTube video than it is to sit down for a whole hour or two of a TV show.
Others are turning to YouTube to watch some of their favorite Idol moments from past seasons. Idol may be done but it is still a reality TV pioneer, and it has produced some of the biggest pop stars currently recording.