Both ABC’s Dancing With The Stars and Fox’s American Idol are having off cycles, and that was on display last night when Dancing held its season finale and Idol its performance season finale. ABC and Fox’s lineups were identical to last May for proper comparisons — Idol‘s performance finale was from 8-9 PM, followed by the season finale of Glee, and the Dancing closer aired from 9-11 PM. Idol (4.2/13 among adults 18-49, 14.4 million viewers) was down 32% in the demo from last year’s performance finale, a much steeper drop than the 6% 2010-11 dip. It was reality veteran’s lowest-rated performance finale ever. Compared with last week’s performance episode, Idol was down 14%, in line with last year’s decline. Glee (3.0/8) was up 20% from last week’s telecast at 8 PM to a three-month high but down 35% from last year’s finale.
Following a Dancing With the Stars recap, the two-hour finale of the dancing competition (3.2/9, 17.5 million) was up 45% in 18-49 and 33% in total viewers from last week’s results show to a season high on the night. But vs. last spring’s finale, Dancing was down 30% and, like Idol, posted an all-time low for a finale. After topping Idol for the first time in total viewers on the same night last year, the Dancing finale did it again this year, widening its margin from 0.855 million viewers last spring to 3.1 million last night. ABC and Fox finished tied for No. 1 on the night among adults 18-49 (3.6/10), with ABC pulling ahead in total viewers (14.6 million vs. 11 million).
NBC’s originals included America’s Got Talent (3.2/9, down 6% from last week) and a Dateline 20th Anniversary special (1.6/4). CBS aired repeats, while the CW’s LA Complex (0.2/1) was flat.