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Posted at 2:55 PM ET, 03/ 4/2011

'American Idol' 2011: 25 million watch unveiling of Top-13

By Lisa de Moraes
The Top 13 on "Idol." (Fox)

About 25 million people watched "American Idol" hold its very first finalists-unveiling-cum-costume party this week - judge Steven Tyler's pirate shirt won, hands down.

The annual pouring of the season's big clump of "Idol" wannabes through the Tea Strainer of Fate to come up the the Top-13 finalists attracted the biggest Thursday night non-sports audience on any television network in four years.

Yes, the two-hour orgy of excess aired against a sea of reruns on the other broadcast networks. But is it "Idol's" fault the February sweep had ended? We rest our case.

Best news yet for a 10-season-old reality TV show: 25 million viewers is a much bigger crowd than the 19.4 million who watched last year's unveiling of the "American Idol" finalists.

This season to date, "Idol" is attracting a crowd that's on par with last season (24.5 million vs. 24.7 million). And, in the TV industry these days, "on par" is the new "up" - particularly when you're discussing a 10-season old reality series.

By Lisa de Moraes  | March 4, 2011; 2:55 PM ET
Categories:  "American Idol"  
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