American Idol Ratings: The Best and Worst Years of American Idol

Have you ever wondered what the most watched season of American Idol was? Or how far the American Idol ratings have fallen since it’s peak? Well, thanks to some hefty research from The Wrap, we can now view all of American Idol’s glory days… and fall from grace, in one handy infographic.

American Idol Judges save
American Idol Judges save – Source: FOX

We’re not even really sure we actually wanted to know how far our beloved American Idol has fallen over the years, but this amazing infographic does lay bare some interesting facts. For instance, did you know that the most watched season of American Idol was actually season 5? The one where Taylor Hicks won and Katharine McPhee came in second as runner-up?

Or what about the year where the American Idol ratings crashed the most from one season to the next? That would be American Idol season 11, the one Phillip Phillips won and Jessica Sanchez came in second. Featuring American Idol judges Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, and Randy Jackson, season 11 had 2.3 million less overall viewers than season 10. That year, American Idol also dropped from an 8.5 rating in the advertiser-coveted 18 to 49 age group to a lowly 6.0.

American Idol Ratings - Source:
American Idol Ratings – Source:

Even though the current season of American Idol 2014 only boosts a record low 3.7 rating in the 18 to 49 age group, and has only an average of 12.9 million viewers, that’s still rather good ratings in general for a primetime show.

So it’s not like American Idol has suddenly become the worst show on television. The main issue is just whether or not it still has good enough ratings to justify it’s massive cost and those huge salaries to American Idol judges like Jennifer Lopez.

American Idol may be back again for 2015, but how long will it last beyond season 14? We’ll just have to see how much farther those ratings slip next year…




  1. I loved season 5…At least five of them contestants went on to become highly recognized superstars…..WTG American Idolnet..I couldnt agree with you more…I loved season 5

  2. I want a teen girl to win next year. I hate to see a teen girl lose to a WGWG. I hate The Voice because I’m sick of coaches eliminating teen girl contestants.

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