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‘American Idol’ Finale to Air Opposite the Billboard Music Awards

Jill O'Rourke

Jill O'Rourke

ABC/Eric McCandless

While American Idol is airing its live finale tonight on ABC, the Billboard Music Awards will be airing on NBC. This might be bad news for Idol‘s ratings, as the awards ceremony could draw viewers to a competing network.


Was this a bad decision on ABC’s part? Will the finale suffer because of the conflict? Let’s look at several reasons the BBMAs could be a tough act to compete with.

‘American Idol’ to Air Opposite the Billboard Music Awards

The 2021 Billboard Music Awards will be hosted by Nick Jonas, who is currently a coach on The Voice. There was already bound to be some overlap between fans of American Idol and those who want to watch a music awards show. But the host just complicates things further.

Earlier this season, Idol and The Voice were both airing episodes on Monday nights. When it came down to it, Idol‘s ratings suffered compared to its competition. On April 19, The Voice drew nearly 6.2 million viewers, while Idol attracted just over 4 million.


Having Jonas host the awards isn’t necessarily equivalent to airing an episode of The Voice, but it could draw in fans who prefer the show. And based on past ratings, that might not be the best thing for American Idol.

Idol might also be competing with itself in a way. Season 16 finalist Gabby Barrett is nominated for nine Billboard Music Awards. Could this draw fans of the show away from the finale to see if Barrett wins?

SEE ALSO: ‘AMERICAN IDOL’ DEBUTS MOST AWKWARD EPISODE OF THE SEASON


The BBMAs Have Some Big Performers This Year

Nick Jonas isn’t the only draw to the Billboard Music Awards this year. The show is also set to feature some big-name performers who might lure viewers away from Idol‘s three-hour finale. Most notably, K-pop group BTS is set to perform during the show.

Former The Voice coach Alicia Keys is also celebrating the 20th anniversary of her debut album during the awards. Other performers include The Weeknd, Duran Duran, Twenty One Pilots, and P!nk. That’s a pretty appealing lineup, although American Idol will also have some famous guests.

Sunday night’s finale is set to feature appearances from Fall Out Boy, Chaka Khan, Alessia Cara, Sheryl Crow, and more. The show’s judges — Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan — will also perform during the show.

It’s also worth noting that the Billboard Music Awards didn’t have the best ratings last year, although the COVID-19 pandemic likely contributed to this. According to Variety, around 3.6 million viewers tuned in to the awards last year, a 55 percent dip from 2019. The ceremony had to be delayed five months due to the pandemic.

SEE ALSO: ‘AMERICAN IDOL’ JUDGES SPEAK OUT AFTER CALEB KENNEDY CONTROVERSY

Will ‘American Idol’s Ratings Suffer?

At the end of the day, American Idol has already been renewed for a twentieth season, so competing with the Billboard Music Awards might not be as dangerous as it seems. However, it will be interesting to compare viewership on Monday morning.

You can catch both American Idol and the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday, May 23, at 8 p.m. ET — on ABC and NBC, respectively. During Idol‘s finale, the Top 3 will perform for America’s vote, and the winner of Season 19 will be crowned.

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About the Author

Jill O'Rourke

Jill O’Rourke is a contributor at Talent Recap, writing news stories and recaps for shows like ‘AGT,’ ‘The Voice,’ and ‘American Idol.’ She graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in English and Film Studies, and has been writing about pop culture since 2012, with previous bylines at Crushable and A Plus. Jill spends her free time binge-watching sitcoms and daydreaming about life as a hobbit

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