Phillip Phillips, American Idol Finale

Michael Becker/FOX

American Idol has finally entered the 21st century.

The TV show that for so long defied the era of diminished TV ratings aired its least-watched finale ever Wednesday night, early projections say.

But being in the modern world does have its advantages.

If Idol fell to an all-time low, then its fall was all relative.

According to Fox, the show's estimated 21.5 million viewers, the most on the night, makes the Idol finale TV's most-watched entertainment show since the Oscars telecast back in February.

The finale also was a marked upgrade over Idol's Tuesday show, which featured the sing-off between eventual champ Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez, and which fell to a season- and near-franchise-low for a performance episode, with 14.9 million viewers.

Overall, the performance finale was down nearly 6 million viewers from 2011's; the finale was off some 8 million viewers.

The plunge and/or return to Earth comes as Idol was on track to be denied the season-long ratings crown for the first time in nearly a decade.

It also comes as Idol is due for a "creative reinvigoration," as Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly has put it, and possibly headed for another shakeup at the judge's table, as Jennifer Lopez is said to be "too busy" to continue, E! News has reported

No one said living in the 21st century was easy.

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