UPDATE: The final ratings for American Idol are in. The star-studded finale posted a 9.2 rating in adults 18-49, up 12% from last year, and 29.3 million, up 21% from last year. Some 38.6 million tuned in between 10-10:07 PM when Scotty McCreery was crown the winner. It is still the first time in five years that the finale grew year-to-year among adults 18-49 and in three years among total viewers.  

PREVIOUS: Fox’s American Idol reversed the downward finale rating trend last night. The two-hour Season 10 closer drew a 8.9/25 in adults 18-49 and 28.2 million viewers in the fast nationals. That is up 9% in the demo and 17% in total viewers from last year’s finale, the first time in five years that the reality juggernaut has posted growth for the finale among adults 18-49 and in three years among total viewers. Because of a seven-minute overrun, which is not accounted for in the fast nationals, the American Idol numbers are expected to grow further in the finals, which will be available within the hour.

The only network to put up originals against the American Idol finale was ABC, which aired the season finales of the comedies that are returning next season. The Middle (2.2/7) was down 12% from last year’s finale. Following a Modern Family repeat at 8:30 PM, the season ender of the Emmy-winning comedy (4.1/11) was down a modest 5% from last year’s finale and will likely erase some or most of the deficit in the finals. That won’t happen for fellow sophomore comedy Cougar Town (2.0/5), which was down a steep 29% from last year’s finale. After the hourlong Cougar Town, the first-season ender of Happy Endings (1.7/4) at 10:30 PM was up 31% from its last telecast. Two other originals aired in the 10 PM hour, both already-canceled dramas: CBS’ Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior ended its run with a 2.0/5, flat with last week, and NBC’s Law & Order: LA (1.4/3) was up a tenth from the Monday episode.