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While many reality competition series have seen drops in ratings and declines in overall pop culture impact, the same can't be said for NBC's America's Got Talent, though, which is ending its eleventh season with some of the best viewership numbers in years. Last night's finals round-up was not only the most-watched show of the evening, but it totally crushed the competition. Simon Cowell approves.
On Tuesday night, the final ten wild and wildly skillful contestants gave it their all to prove to audiences and the judges that they have what it takes to get the million-dollar grand prize. And there were definitely enough people that tuned in to see their acts. Across the penultimate episode's two hours, the average number of viewers was right at 13.6 million, which is as massive as can be expected in the modern TV climate. And it did just as impressively in the all-important 18-49 demographic, nailing down a 2.7 rating.
Those results not only blew away the competition, but they also mark quite an improvement for America's Got Talent. According to Deadline, the finals reached a five-year high in total viewers, with the last time ratings were that high coming in September 2011. It also matches its own season high for the key demo. The telecast took NBC to the top of the list for ratings on Tuesday night, though it bears pointing out that the only other new program that aired last night was CBS' Big Brother, which brought in its normal audience. Still, a lack of opposition doesn't necessarily mean success.
Thankfully, there were tons of reasons to tune into America's Got Talent for those finals. Early favorites such as the young golden-voiced Grace Vanderwaal and the NFL magician Jon Dorenbos are still there, as are the limber-as-all-get-out Sofie Dossi (who can shoot arrows with her feet, because why not?) and the pizza boy crooner Sal Valeninetti, whose rendition of "Mack the Knife" was as good as it gets. And who can forget the bizarre mime Tape Face? Check out his act from last night, in which judge Mel B looks less comfortable than she ever has in her life.
Nothing like toilet seats and confetti to show the world that you're a talented individual. But nobody ever wants to compliment me when I do it.
America's Got Talent Season 11 finale airs tonight, September 14, on NBC at 8:00 p.m. ET. One can only assume that the ratings will be even bigger than they were last night, although a few new shows are making their debuts that could draw some eyes away. To see what you'll be able to start watching after you get Tape Face out of your brain, check out our fall TV schedule.