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'American Idol' Ratings Down

Twelfth season premiere sees 19 percent drop in viewership

Michael Becker/FOX
January 17, 2013 5:00 PM ET

Ratings for the first episode of American Idol's 12th season were down significantly, with an average of 17.8 million viewers tuning into the two-hour premiere, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Overall viewership, as well as viewership among 18- to 49-year-olds – the most coveted demographic among advertisers – dropped 19 percent compared to last year. In a statement, however, Idol's network Fox called the drop "expected" and noted that the show still beat the combined results of ABC, CBS and NBC.

'American Idol' Is Back: Five Reasons to Watch

Last night's premiere marked the first episode with new Idol judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban, who took over following the departures of Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. The lead-up to the premiere was marked by an ongoing feud between Minaj and Carey that involved the rapper reportedly threatening the pop diva, who promptly beefed up her security.

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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