Recapping some Nielsen numbers from recent days, including some very big finales and the premiere of the summer's hottest reality competition:
• The American Idol finale played to a crowd of 27.7 million total viewers, hitting a high of 32.55 mil as Kris got crowned. That audience marks a 9 percent dip from last year, and the show's second-smallest finale draw ever, besting only Kelly Clarkson's Season 1 coronation (which aired during the summer).
• Criminal Minds closed its season with an audience of 13.79 mil, up 785K from its previous finale.
• So You Think You Can Dance kicked off its new cycle with 8.78 million viewers, up 175K from its previous opener.
• Ugly Betty bowed out before 6.27 mil, plunging 28 percent from last year's finale. Friday night, here we come!
• Southland copped 6.4 mil for its freshman finale, up 38 percent versus last week's fantastically competitive slate.