American Idol trails The Voice, hits all-time low in ratings (+video)

American Idol is struggling this season in the ratings. The Voice topped American Idol for the first time ever in the weekly ratings race.

By , Staff writer

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    American Idol judges, from left, Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj, Randy Jackson and Mariah Carey. In its 12th season, "American Idol" ratings are trending south.
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The America Idol ratings slide, which began last year, continues.

This was a tough week for the Fox TV singing show which dominated the ratings from 2003 until 2010.

"The Voice," a rival singing show on NBC, had the chutzpah to premiere this week – smack n the middle of American Idol's season. And for the first-time ever, American Idol had fewer viewers this week than The Voice.

Recommended: How much do you know about American Idol? Take our quiz.

"The Voice premiered this week with new judges Shakira and Usher, with Monday's show notching 13.6 million viewers, up 11 percent over the show's fall premiere numbers," notes MTV.com. By comparison, on Thursday night American Idol hit an all-time low with just 11 million total viewers and only 3.45 million viewers in the coveted 18-49 demographic.

The Voice had almost twice as many viewers in the 18-49 year-old group prized by advertisers.

Ouch.

This year's slide in American Idol ratings follows about a 20 percent decline in last year's ratings. This season, American Idol added Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, and Nicki Minaj to its judging table. But that star power hasn't reversed the trend.

While American Idol once stomped on all rivals, a look at the weekly Nielson TV ratings gives an idea of how far Idol as tumbled.  The Top 10 Shows for the week of March 18, 2013: 1) NCIS with 19.7 million viewers. 2) Dancing with the Stars had 17 million viewers. 3) NCIS Los Angeles weighed in with 16.8 million viewers. And American Idol at No. 4 for the week had just 12.9 million viewers.

But American Idol numbers aren't quite as dismal if there's an honest  apples-to-apples comparison with The Voice.  The American Idol Season 12 premiere show in January got 17.9 million viewers. That's more than 4 million viewers higher than The Voice premiere this week. 

Still, the trend line for American Idol is not looking good. In 2012, the first show of the season got 26 million viewers, as The Christian Science Monitor reported. And in 2011, it was 30 million.

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