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"American Idol" Slips on Local Ratings Charts

Not even an enhanced Bikini Girl could help this season's two-hour finale of "American Idol" register a local rating close to the 2008 finale.

Wednesday's finale had a 16.3 rating on WUTV, representing 16.3 percent of area households. The number of people who time-shifted the program rather than see Kris Allen be declared the winner over Adam Lambert live could add a few ratings points.

However, even the added time-shift viewers are unlikely to mean the rating Wednesday will approach the 21.2 rating that the battle of the Davids had a year ago.

Despite the decline, you have to be impressed by a 16.3 rating for a show that only has two minutes of suspense when the winner is declared at the end.

Nick Magnini, Channel 29's general manager, acknowledged the ratings slippage, but added:"It still is a dominant show. I'll take a 16.3 any day."

The question now is whether Allen's surprising victory over a clearly more talented Lambert will impact the credibility and popularity of the show next season.

I didn't tune in that often, but saw enough during the season to realize that Allen wasn't in Lambert's class as a singer or performer. But I have to agree with those who believe Allen's cuteness factor was more likely to get the votes of adoring young females who are experts at speedy text messaging.

I wouldn't go see him at a free concert in Delaware Park.

Though the "Idol" judges constantly say the show is a "singing competition," it really becomes a popularity contest at the end and Allen got more votes for being Mr. Congeniality. 

-- Alan Pergament

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