'Idol' finale draws record low ratings

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NEW YORK -- Ratings for the "American Idol" finale plunged to a record low for the 12-year-old show.

According to Nielsen Co. figures Friday, Candice Glover's victory over Kree Harrison was watched by 14.3 million viewers. That's a 33 percent drop from the year before, when 21.5 million viewers saw Phillip Phillips claim the "Idol" crown. That represented the show's previous record low finale audience.

"American Idol" saw an even steeper 44 percent drop among advertiser-coveted young adults for Thursday's finale.

The lack of interest in the winner of this year's contest parallels the show's declining ratings for the season. Fox is scrambling to revive the singing contest that once dominated TV, revamping the judges' panel and making yet-to-be detailed format changes.

Original judge Randy Jackson has already announced his exit.

Mr. Jackson has served as a judge on all 12 seasons of "Idol." He first appeared on the panel alongside Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul when the competition debuted in 2002, becoming famous for his easygoing "yo, dawg" rapport with contestants.

"I love everybody that walked on this show," he said. He added, "Hopefully, I touched their lives a little bit. They certainly touched mine."

Ms. Glover, the booming 23-year-old R&B vocalist from St. Helena Island, S.C., looked stunned when "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest announced she bested the soulful 22-year-old country singer Harrison from Woodville, Texas.

"Three times," exclaimed a weepy Ms. Glover, referencing the trio of times it took before she made it to the finals of the Fox singing competition.

After her coronation, an emotional Ms. Glover sobbed her way through her new single, "I Am Beautiful."

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