Fox's 'Idol' busts a move

Final performance episode shows gains; 'Dancing' finale slips

For its final performance episode of the season, Fox's "American Idol" demonstrated some year-over-year growth Tuesday night after weeks of record lows.

"Idol" (26.1 million viewers, 10.1 rating/27 share in adults 18-49) was up a slight 4% in the demo compared with last year, but it is expected to climb a notch or two higher in the nationals. The growth gives "Idol" its best news in weeks after taking a media drubbing for its ratings declines.

The "Idol" performance also helped propel Fox's "Hell's Kitchen" (12.6 million, 5.6/14) to its highest rating ever.

David Cook of Missouri was crowned the new American Idol on the show's season finale Wednesday night, clobbering Utah's David Archuleta by more than 12 million votes. A record 97.5 million audience votes were cast.

The fall of "Idol" has received the most news headlines, but ABC's top-rated reality show "Dancing With the Stars" also has had a rough season. ABC came in second place for the evening with the season finale of "Dancing" (19.1 million, 4.9/12), off 21% from last year for its lowest finale to date. A repeat of Monday's performance show (8.9 million, 1.9/5) served as a lead in.

Kristi Yamaguchi was named the new champion, becoming the first woman to win the ABC dance-off since its inaugural season. The Olympic gold medal figure skater came into the final contest with a perfect score and bested fan favorites Jason Taylor and Cristian de la Fuente to claim the trophy.

"It's not just (winning) but what it represents," she said. "It's all the hard work and the time spent together and the friendships made, challenging yourself and learning something new."

Third-place CBS had a two-hour "NCIS" finale (16.3 million, 3.4/9), which posted its best rating since November. At 10 p.m., the series finale of "Shark" was higher than usual (10.5 million, 2.5/6) and placed second in the hour.

NBC, coming in fourth, aired repeats (averaging 4.5 million, 1.6/4). The CW aired the first-season finale of "Reaper" (2.7 million 1.2/3), which was up slightly from last week but on par for the season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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