American Idol Premiere Ratings Take a Plunge

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When do 21.6 million viewers equate to a disappointing episode of television? When you've been the country's top-rated series for years.

Indeed, American Idol earned the highest ratings on TV last night and will undoubtedly do so every evening it airs through the May finale - but its numbers were down 27% from the season 10 opener.

There are many reasons for this decline - all programs suffer viewer fatigue at some point, and the competition (The Voice, The Sing-Off, The X Factor) from similar shows has never been higher - but talent is not be among them.

There were actually a few strong acts last night, three of which we've posted again here:

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American Idol Quotes

Brooke White's tears come from the authentic, good soul that she is. Her heart was breaking because she was overwhelmed with the experience she had with the show and the gift that it brought.

Paula Abdul [after Brooke White was eliminated on season seven]

I read some of this online this morning and just for the record, the rumors — they’re not true. She’s part of our family and we love her.

Ryan Seacrest [on rumor of Paula Abdul being drunk on the show]