Gurpreet Singh Sarin Gurpreet Singh Sarin

American Idol scored its lowest regular-season premiere numbers ever Wednesday.

The former ratings behemoth averaged 17.8 million viewers and a 6.0 in the adults 18-to-49 demographic for its Season 12 opener, down 19 percent from last year's 21.9 million and 7.4. Only the series premiere, which bowed in the summer of 2002, was lower. The drop-off, however, is less than the 24 percent erosion Season 11 suffered, and the premiere out-performed the show's closest singing-competition competitor, The Voice, which averaged 14.1 million and a 4.1 last season.

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