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'Idol' Talent Race Reaches Fever Pitch on Fox, draws 16+ million viewers

By Reality TV World staff, 08/30/2002 

Reuters reports that the frenzy surrounding television hit "American Idol" reached fever pitch late on Wednesday as the Fox TV talent search narrowed its list of contenders to the soulful Kelly Clarkson and hunky Justin Guarini in front of millions of prime time viewers. In the course of the contest, "American Idol: The Search for a Superstar" has won some of the summer's highest viewer ratings and on Wednesday attracted its biggest audience yet.

An estimated 16.7 million people tuned in to see Nikki McKibbin get nixed, making "Idol" the most watched show of the night and likely the most watched show of the week, according to data tracking firm Nielsen Media Research. The previous high for the show, which airs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, was 15.3 million viewers last week. That's when fans gave the boot to singer Tamyra Gray in one of the show's most controversial moments owing to her huge popularity.

Next week marks the show's finale with Justin and Kelly set to perform in a regular one-hour edition on Tuesday night. That will be followed by a special two-hour finale on Wednesday, in which the original 30 finalists will return and the final winner will be announced. Both of next week's shows will be broadcast live from the Kodak Theater, home to the Academy Awards, in Hollywood.

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