'The Voice' Beats 'American Idol' In Ratings For First Time

'Idol' ratings continue their decline as 'Voice' has strong first week.

If you think the men
 are having a hard time staying in the game on elimination night on "American Idol," just imagine what's going on behind-the-scenes on Friday mornings when the ratings come in.

The once-unstoppable #1 program in all of prime time has had a humbling season so far, with ratings on a major slide for the second year in a row. But this week brought what is perhaps the deepest cut to date, as rival show "The Voice" posted bigger audience totals than "Idol" for the first time ever.

According to Billboard, "Idol" hit a new ratings low on Thursday night, when Devin Velez was sent packing and it managed just 3.45 million viewers in the coveted 18-49 demo and just 11 million total viewers.

"Idol" is still winning the night for Fox on Wednesday and Thursday, but "The Voice" premiered this week with new judges Shakira and Usher, with Monday's show notching 13.6 million viewers, up 11 percent over the show's fall premiere numbers.

"Idol" had better numbers last month, when it was attracting at least 13.5 million viewers for each episode, but the slow, steady erosion of its formerly untouchable status continues unabated. How bad are things? Both nights of "Idol" this week were down from last week, when 4.6 million 18-49 year-olds tuned in. Compare that to the six million 18-49 year-olds who dialed up "The Voice" on Monday and 5.1 million who tuned in the next night, with 12 million total watching Tuesday night's show and you have a potential new singing competition champ in the making.

"Idol" was the #1 show on all of prime time from the 2003 season through the 2010-2011 season. Ratings for "Idol" peaked in the 2006 and 2007 seasons, when more than 30 million viewers watched both weekly shows. But ratings were off by nearly 20 percent last year and are down by the same figure so far this season.

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