American Idol Debuts Well, But Down 19% From Last Season

American Idol Season 12 Promo - Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey, Ryan Seacrest, Nicki Minaj,and  Keith Urban

Yesterday saw Part I of the return of American Idol and the series managed to pull in a total of 17.81 million viewers and a 6.0 rating among adults 18-49. Even those these numbers are quite good, the show is down by an estimated 19% from last January’s debut.

Among total viewers however, the veteran Fox series took a bigger hit than it did between the last two seasons when it dropped 17%, but among adults 18-49, the dip wasn’t as big as last season’s (25%). The 2012 Idol opener brought 21.9 million viewers and a 7.4 rating.

Even though the numbers are slightly disappointing to the network, the numbers still leave American Idol safely ahead of any showing The Voice brought in the fall. It also gave Fox an easy win for the night by all measures, besting the rest of the big four’s demo showings combined.

The Part II premiere, which debuts tonight, usually manages to have a lower draw in of viewership than Part I, which is quite understandable, due to people only wanting to watch the premiere to see how the judges interact with one another. Last year’s brought a 5.7 rating among adults 18-49 and 18 million viewers. Thoughts?

Watch: American Idol, Season 12, Episode 1, Part 1