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Ratings: 'American Idol' premiere draws 29.8 million viewers

January 13, 2010 |  9:37 am

Sorry, Paula. Looks like "American Idol" is doing just fine without you.

Tuesday's two-hour ninth season premiere drew 29.8 million viewers -- down very slightly from the 30.4 million who watched the 2009 premiere --  and a 11.7 rating/29 share among adults 18-49, according to early estimates. Victoria Beckham served as the first of many guest judges.

That number is likely to fall off in the coming audition weeks, as is typical of "Idol's" viewing patterns, then shoot back up once the finalists are picked and the live shows begin. Ratings could go up even earlier this season when new judge Ellen DeGeneres makes her debut during Hollywood Week.

More analysis to come on the Company Town blog.

-- Denise Martin

Photo: Randy Jackson, guest judge Victoria Beckham, Kara DioGuardi and Simon Cowell at the Denver, Colorado auditions on "American Idol." Credit: Fox