American Idol Season Premiere Ratings Report

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Last night's season eight premiere of American Idol drew 30.1 million viewers. Here's a closer look at its ratings.

Still Going Strong: With 30.1 million viewers, per Nielsen estimates, the show's eighth-season debut was the night's - and the season-to-date's - number one telecast.

Good or Bad? Compared to the seventh-season premiere, American Idol was off 10 percent, which is approximately the standard decline for even TV's most successful shows these days. Compared to last May's David Cook-crowning finale, the series was down 5 percent.

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Where Did It Rank Historically? Tuesday's was the fifth-biggest, or, if you prefer, the fourth-smallest, premiere in show history. It goes down as the franchise's fifth straight premiere with at least 30 million viewers.

Free Tip for Idol Contestants: Work the cougar vote. No demographic watched the show in greater numbers than women 25-54.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.