American Idol Cast


So, is the Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj feud actually good for American Idol's business?!

Thursday night's two-hour outing of the Fox reality phenomenon attracted 16.2 million viewers and 5.6 ratings in the adults 18-49 demo; that's only slightly down from Wednesday's premiere, which delivered 17.8 million viewers and a 5.9 in the demo.

While Wednesday night's premiere saw a 19 percent drop from season 11's premiere in 2012, season 12's second outing was only down two percent from last year's (18 million viewers), which could mean that viewers are liking what they are seeing.

In past seasons, ratings have dropped at least 20 percent between the first two nights; this season, Idol only saw a seven percent drop. Even more impressive: this is Idol's strongest retention in its second episode since 2009. Score one for the new judging panel!

But do we need to add an asterisk next to these numbers? Possibly, seeing as Idol's biggest competition The Big Bang Theory, which hit 20 million viewers last week, aired a rerun last night that brought in 12 million viewers at 8 p.m. Will the divas be able to hold off the geeks next week? Stay tuned!

After the premiere's somewhat disappointing numbers (though Fox still won the night), a Fox source told E! News that executives were worried that Nicki and Mariah's feud could possibly be turning viewers off to the revamped show.

"People wonder if the fight was faked to get people talking about the new season," the insider said. "It was not fake. And when the video came out, there was a lot of concern among Fox execs that there could be impact on the ratings. The judges need to be likable."

Are you tuning into Idol this year? Are you liking the new judges? Sound off in the comments!

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