The two biggest reality series on TV, Fox’s American Idol and ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, carefully choreographed their finales last night with no overlap, while NBC’s The Voice got its first taste of what is in store for next season when it scheduled to air against Dancing on Mondays. The hourlong performance finale of American Idol (6.2/18, 20 million viewers) was down 6% from the fast national result for the comparable show last spring. (Because of Idol‘s regular gain in the finals, this is an apples-to-apples comparison.) The drop is far more modest than the 23% year-to-year dive Idol’s performance finale took last May. In total viewers, Idol was even with last year’s show. But vs. last week’s Top 3 performance episode, Idol was down 14% in the demo (fast nationals to fast nationals). At 9 PM, the season finale of Glee (4.6/11) was down 4% from the episode, which aired after the final Idol performance show. (This is also a fast nationals-to-fast national comparison as the post-Idol shows are often adjusted down in the finals.) But it was on par (-2%) with its season finale last year, which aired in June, and vs. last week, when Glee aired in its regular Tuesday 8 PM slot, the dramedy was up 28%. Idol and Glee finished as the two top programs of the night in 18-49, leading Fox (5.4/15, 16 million) to victory in the demo.
The 9-11 PM season finale of Dancing With the Stars (4.5/11, 21 million) was up 29% vs. last week, up 15% from last spring’s finale and down 15% from the fall finale. The dancing competition became the first program to outdraw a Tuesday finale of Idol, though the two shows didn’t go head-to-head. ABC (17.4 million, 3.7/10), which also aired a Dancing recap at 8 PM, finished the night No. 1 in total viewers and No. 2 in 18-49.
Facing its future Monday time-slot rival Dancing for the first time, NBC’s The Voice (3.8/9) at 10 PM was dinged, down 16% from last week. It followed the two-hour finale of The Biggest Loser 11 (3.1/8), which was up 11% from last week but down 21% from last spring’s ender to rank as the lowest-rated regular Biggest Loser finale ever. In the finale, the show bid farewell to departing trainer Jillian Michaels and introduced former tennis star Anna Kournikova as a new trainer for next season.