'American Idol' Finale Ratings Up 17 Percent Over Season Nine

Star-studded Scotty McCreery coronation drew 28.2 million viewers.

Scotty McCreery is just the shot of adrenaline "American Idol" needed. As if any more proof was needed that the show was in rebound mode after a lackluster season nine, the overnight ratings for the season 10 finale on Wednesday night provided more good news.

After rolling up a record-setting 122 million votes on Tuesday night following the Scotty vs. Lauren Alaina showdown, Wednesday night's two-hour finale was up 17 percent from the 2010 coronation, with a total viewership of 28.2 million, beating out last year's Lee DeWyze crowning by 4 million viewers.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, those numbers — along with a 9 percent uptick in the all-important 18 to 49 demo — represent the first time "Idol" has experienced year-to-year ratings growth for a finale in that demo since 2006 and in total viewers since 2008.

While the brass at the Fox network are surely grinning about the good ratings news, McCreery said he had plenty of reason to smile after winning the competition as well. "Carrie Underwood asked us when we met her, 'Your cheeks hurt yet?' " McCreery laughed to reporters backstage after the finale, recalling a conversation with a woman who knows a thing or two about being in his shoes. "I'll be smiling for a good while now, I promise that."

He also said he might rope in his #2, runner-up Lauren Alaina, to guest on his debut album. "Me and Lauren have talked about it for a while," he said of a potential duet. "We'll see if that works out. It'd be really cool."

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