`American Idol` ratings plummet by 3.8 million

Los Angeles: The latest season of hit reality TV series `American Idol` has seen a steep fall in ratings, despite the starry addition of Jeniffer Lopez and Steven Tyler to it`s judging panel.

Figures show 26.1 million people saw the two-hour season premiere of the talent hunt. That is down 13 percent from the 29.9 million people who saw last year`s season opener, reported Daily Mail online.

The statistics which were put together by market research group Nielsen show an even steeper ratings drop of 18 percent among the youth audience the Fox network desires.

Lopez and `Aerosmith` frontman Tyler were on for the first time as judges, their style considerably nicer than former judge Simon Cowell, known for his nasty comments. And it seems Cowell`s absence was sorely felt.

The media mogul is understood to have turned down another series of American Idol, despite being offered a staggering USD 180 million-a-year, to focus on bringing his `X Factor` franchises to the US.

Unlike Cowell, who became known as TV`s Mr Nasty during his time on the panel, J-Lo found it incredibly difficult to turn away her first hopeful on the show.

Lopez appeared to be in agony the first time she was shown rejecting a contestant, complaining, "Oh, my God, I hate this! Why did I sign up for this? I want to go home."