Love it or hate it, the ninth season of American Idol premiered with a strong viewership and has, for the moment, dispelled any notions of slumping ratings. Considering the addition of Ellen Degeneres and the news that Simon Cowell will be leaving the show when his contract expires after this season, it makes sense that audiences would at least be curious to see how this season began.

From Variety:

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, the two-hour “Idol” kickoff, which featured auditions in Boston, averaged an 11.7 rating/29 share in adults 18-49 and 29.8 million viewers overall, with these numbers expected to rise a bit in the nationals. This means that, impressively, it figures to come in ahead of last year’s opening-night ratings (11.7/28 in 18-49, 30.45 million viewers overall).

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