"American Idol" star Taylor Hicks and nine of the popular show's runners-up Friday visit U.S. President George Bush, who could use an upturn in the ratings.

The meeting with the president is a first for the stars of the Fox TV show, which has ratings far above Bush's, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Scheduled weeks ago to coincide with the performers' concert in the nation's capital Friday night, the visit comes at a time when world events take center stage.

White House spokesman Peter Watkins said the president was looking forward to the visit, but a meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair was the most important event of the day.

The White House visit was suggested by first lady Laura Bush's press secretary, Susan Whitson, who was Taylor Hicks' ninth-grade English teacher at Hoover High School in Birmingham, Ala.

"American Idol" has been rated one of the three most family-friendly shows on TV by the conservative Parents Television Council.