UPDATE, 9:34 AM: Final American Idol finale numbers are in from Nielsen. While the show remains at an all-time low, it did see an expected adjustment upward. The 8-10:07 PM Idol garnered a 3.6 rating with 14.3 million viewers, which is down 44% in ratings from Season 11’s finale and down 33% in viewership. The show was up 24% from its May 8 episode.

PREVIOUSLY, 8:19 AM: Thursday saw a flurry of finales including American Idol (3.4/11) ending its 12th season with an all-time finale low and The Office closing its doors for good. Declaring a winner from the final two female contestants, the more than two-hour live Idol was down 47% in preliminary ratings from the 6.4/18 final numbers of Season 11’s finale on May 23, 2012. It’s the first Idol finale to have less than 20 million viewers. The show, which went nearly eight minutes over the hour and will likely be adjusted up in the final numbers, pulled in 13.61 million viewers from 8-10:07 PM last night. That’s nearly 8 million viewers less than the 21.5 million who watched last year’s season finale. For the first time ever, the Idol finale wasn’t even the highest-rated show of the night — the Season 6 finale of The Big Bang Theory (4.4/16) topped Thursday. Facing off in the 8-8:30 slot, Idol garnered a 2.8 in adults 18-49 against the CBS geek sitcom. Idol was also way down from the 6.0/16 rating and 17.93 million viewers of the Season 12 premiere on January 16. Thursday’s finale was up 28% in adults 18-49 over last week’s show and saw a bounce from the 11.6 million viewers who watched May 9. With 13.608 millon watching, Fox won Thursday in total viewers and adults 18-49. (See complete list of American Idol finale viewership and ratings numbers below)

Related: Anyone Care Who Won ‘American Idol’? (more…)