Roughly 13.3 million people watched the finale of the last season of American Idol in 2016. With the launch of the new season of ABC’s American Idol on March 11th, Branded goes beyond viewership data to understand how viewers feel about the show, the new judges, and the music. Branded polled a sample of 575 American Idol viewers from our community on March 6, 2018, who intend to watch the program this season.  

Our research found that American Idol fans are loyal viewers. Roughly 77 percent of those who intend to watch this season of the program also watched in 2016. And about 7 in 10 viewers have missed watching American Idol since it last aired in 2018. However, American Idol viewers also tend to watch other singing competition shows. Almost 8 in 10 American Idol viewers also watch other singing competition shows like NBC’s The Voice.

Viewers are engaged with the program, with 1 in 2 saying they plan to vote for their favorite contestants this season and an additional 42 percent indicating they might vote. And just over 1 in 4 viewers say they are interested in auditioning for American Idol.

While the majority of viewers have a favorable opinion of all the new judges, Lionel Richie is the most popular. Just over 8 in 10 viewers have a favorable opinion of Richie. The majority of viewers have a favorable opinion Katy Perry and Luke Bryan as well. Looking back, Simon Cowell and Jennifer Lopez are the most popular past judges among viewers.  

Level of Favorability by American Idol Host/Judges

We were also curious about the role of music preference on viewership. Country music tops the charts among viewers with 27 percent says it is their favorite genre to hear on American Idol. Following closely behind, roughly 25 percent of viewers say Pop/Top 40 is their favorite genre and 18 percent say Rock if their favorite genre to hear on American Idol.  And 56 percent of viewers say they have purchased a past American Idol winner’s album.