The revamped American Idol had a strong debut on Sunday night, reaching more than 10million viewers.
The show’s launch shrugged off Fox’s attempt to blunt the premiere’s impact with its special on O.J. Simpson.
The Nielsen company said that the 10.34 million who watched the return of American Idol represented ABC’s biggest Sunday night audience with regular series programming since 2012.
This image released by ABC shows, from left, Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Ryan Seacrest and Luke Bryan on the set of “American Idol” in New York. The season premiere had a strong debut on ABC, reaching more than 10 million viewers. (Eric Liebowitz/ABC via AP)
Fox’s presentation of a 2006 Simpson interview in which he speculated about how he might have killed his former wife was watched by 4.4million people – an echo of the sensational interest the Simpson case drew two decades ago.
There was bad blood when Fox ended American Idol two years ago, and the Simpson interview was seen as Fox’s attempt to prevent a fast start for ABC.
Sunday’s premiere saw Harper Grace redeem herself, after a disastrous rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner at age 11 went viral.
Redemption center: Harper Grace redeemed herself after botching the national anthem in 2012 during her audition shown on Sunday during the premiere of American Idol on ABC
Worst ever: The warbling, off-key rendition of the national anthem went viral
Nailed it: Harper performed both an original song and Young Dumb & Broke by Khalid
The Texas girl was a YouTube sensation for all the wrong reasons thanks to her off-key performance of the national anthem at a Major League Soccer game back in 2012.
Harper, who sang the anthem while performing as Harper Gruzins, wowed the American Idol judges with her vocals and songwriting skills.
Before her audition, viewers were treated to a reminder of when 11-year-old Harper performed a shocking rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner ahead of a game between FC Dallas home game against the Los Angeles Galaxy in July 2012.
Hollywood bound: Katy Perry told Harper that her voice has yet to reach its full potential
Dream board: The pop star updated Harper’s dream board with her going to Hollywood
New network: Ryan Seacrest was back as host along with new judges Lionel Richie, Katy and Luke Bryan
The judges: Lionel, Katy and Luke represent soul, pop and country music
She told host Ryan Seacrest: ‘If you search ”the worst national anthem” mine is the very first that ever pops up, next to Christina Aguilera and Roseanne Barr. At least my name’s out there.’
Harper, now 16, did not give up on her wish to be a singing sensation and showed the Idol judges her ‘dream board’ – where she wrote down her plan to audition for the show one day.
After hearing Harper perform both an original song and Young Dumb & Broke by Khalid, Luke Bryan told the high school student she had a ‘great voice’ and Lionel Richie agreed.