Some 26.1 million viewers tuned into last night’s 10th season debut of American Idol, which saw both the inauguration of a new panel of judges, and their bold, New Era of Civility-appropriate revoking of “judging” in favor of endless scenes of Jennifer Lopez pretending to be a nice person and a haystack in the shape of Steven Tyler singing over everyone. However, while it’s still the No. 1 rated show in the country—easily topping the combined ratings of all the other major networks plus The CW—those figures are down considerably from last year’s opening at 29 million viewers, a 14-percent decline in viewership that Fox executives claim was expected. Of course, the real test will be seeing how subsequent broadcasts fare, once audiences figure out that Steven Tyler isn’t going to stop doing that.
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