Idol Off Its Peak And Simon's Pique
American Idol roared back onto the air Tuesday night with an 18.6 rating and a 27 share -- putting it well above every other regular series airing this season. Nevertheless its total audience of 33.2 million was down significantly from its peak season debut last year with 37.3 million and also down from 2006's 35.5 million. Several critics expressed surprise that the usually dyspeptic and sometimes cruel Simon Cowell reacted mildly even to some of the more deplorable performances. "The King of Mean was replaced by the Prince of Nice," wrote Adam Buckman in the New York Post. Craig Berman on MSNBC.com suggested that perhaps airing the show from Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, brought out the judges' "kinder, gentler" side.