Last night’s two-hour American Idol finale brought out the star power, but in the end it was Candice Glover’s night. The first all-female AI finale in nine years and first female winner in six years, Candice Glover (as well as her competitor Kree Harrison) alternated performances with some of the biggest stars in music before Glover closed the show with her powerful vocals as she held back tears to sing her new single “I Am Beautiful.”
“Persistence, determination and a lot of talent. You deserve it,” Ryan Seacrest told Glover, who auditioned for AI twice before her win this season.
Meanwhile, the judges showed off their powerhouse singing with former contestants. Keith Urban‘s new single “Little Bit of Everything” made its television premiere, while Mariah Carey brought us back to the ’90s with a montage of her hits, complete with a wind-blown look. Even former AI judge Jennifer Lopez took the stage with Pitbull for their clubtastic summer jam “Live It Up.” Adam Lambert, Jennifer Hudson, PSY, Jessie J, Travis Barker, The Band Perry, Aretha Franklin, and Frankie Valli also took the Idol stage.
Despite the A-list performers, the Season 12 finale didn’t rack up the numbers. According to Deadline, the two-hour finale last night was down 47 percent from last season’s finale. Idol pulled in 13.61 million viewers last night — 8 million less than the 21.5 million who watched last season’s finale. Season 12 is the first Idol finale to have less than 20 million viewers.
Additionally, the New York Daily News reports that Idol season 12 ratings suffered a 20 percent drop overall compared to season 11 ratings. “While Idol drew a staggering 30 million viewers during its peak in 2006 and ’07, that number withered this year to roughly 12 million,” the paper notes.
I am very proud of how we forever changed television and the music industry. It’s been a life changing opportunity #idol
— Randy Jackson (@YO_RANDYJACKSON) May 9, 2013
Jackson is (well, was) the only judge remaining from the show’s inception in 2002. While his departure marks a milestone in the show’s history, he said he is looking forward to having time to focus on his management company, Dream Merchant 21.
American Idol premiered this season with 17.8 million viewers, down a few million from the 21.9 million viewers who tuned in for 2012′s premiere. This season’s sole bright spot has been the Charlotte audition show (i.e. Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey’s blowout argument), grabbing the top ratings spot overall that night (January 23) with 16.07 million viewers after loads of pre-promotion for the episode. Still, that was still a drop from the premiere, signifying that viewers were getting bored of the experiment.