'American Idol' Finale Attracts 19.6 Million Viewers, Down 15%

Idol Finale

The performance finale of "American Idol" Tuesday night attracted 19.6 million total viewers, according to preliminary ratings numbers provided by The Nielsen Company, down 14.7% from the performance finale ratings last year.

Last year's competition night between eventual champion Kris Allen and Adam Lambert averaged 23 million viewers.

"Idol" was still the most watched show on television during the night, handily beating a repeat of "Dancing With The Stars" on ABC -- which went on to score its lowest rated finale ever with the crowning of Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger as champion, with an average of 18.1 million viewers from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. -- "The Biggest Loser" on NBC and "NCIS" on CBS, according to tvbythenumbers.com.

The first half-hour of "Idol" had 17.9 million viewers; the number jumped to 21.3 million in the second half-hour. "Glee," which followed "Idol" on Fox, averaged 11.4 million viewers, on par with its average in recent episodes.

More 'American Idol' on Billboard.com:

Idol Finale Recap: Lee Fights Nerves, Crystal Shines

Idol Finale: 10 Things You Didn't See on TV

Simon Cowell, Adam Lambert Pick 'Idol' Winner

Can 'Idol' be Saved? | Photos: "Idols" Then & Now