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"American Idol" Ratings Down 19 Percent

Michael Becker/FOX(LOS ANGELES) -- Despite the headline-grabbing "feud" between new judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, audience totals for the 12th season premiere of American Idol Wednesday night were down 19 percent compared with last year's premiere.

Wednesday's show attracted 17.8 million total viewers compared to the 21.9 million who tuned in to watch the 2011 premiere, according to Variety.  In comparison, the January 2007 premiere of American Idol attracted 37.4 million viewers.

Despite the lower ratings, the Idol premiere still beat its Wednesday night competition on ABC, CBS and NBC.

Even though viewer totals for Idol premieres are not what they once were, Wednesday's debut still topped the most recent premieres of other music competition shows.  Last September's premiere of The Voice attracted 12.2 million while the fall debut of The X Factor drew 8.7 million viewers.

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