Predictably coming short of seasons past, the "American Idol" finale did score a sizable victory on Wednesday night, pulling a 6.1 rating among adults 18-49 and 20.7 million viewers according to fast affiliate ratings.
History shows the Fox broadcast will likely add one or two tenths of a point to its demo score and nearly one million viewers once final numbers are in, but it is still a far cry from last year's rebounded finale, which brought in a 9.2 demo rating and outpaced 2010 by more than 10 percent.
Last night's score was a 32 percent drop from 2011. "American Idol" did manage to repeat its typical ratings arc of the season, however, rebounding in the finale for highest scores since week two. It improved on Tuesday's performance show and last week's results, which each pulled a 4.4. in the demo, by nearly 40 percent.
The sagging finale ratings for the singing competition comes days after it was reported that the 2012 regular season ratings were down 23% from the year before. The news prompted a Fox network executive to proclaim there would be, "creative reinvigoration" of the "Idol" franchise next season.
The Season 11 finale episode crowned folk rocker Phillip Phillips the winner over 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez. It featured performances by Rihanna, Aerosmith, Jennifer Lopez and more, plus a proposal by Season 5's Ace Young to Season 3's Diana DeGarmo.
The show, in recent years, is said to be predictabile. Phillips is the fifth winner in a row who can be categorized under the "white guy with guitar" moniker. And his win marks the fourth time in five years that the winner is likely suited to a career in the adult-alternative radio format following David Cook, Kris Allen and Lee Dewyze.