With American Idol 2011 underway, it’s time to examine some statistics about the show’s rich history. Not all is well in Idol Land, according the graphic. Its ratings have been on the decline for the past few years, and many wonder if this season will in fact be its last. But strange things happen in the TV world, and by the time the competition starts, Idol may well be in the middle of a strong rebound.

As far as TV shows go, American Idol was an immediate smash right from the start. It became the most watched show in America in its second season, and by 2005, the show was drawing an average of 30 million viewers per episode. But all good things must come to an end, ay? 2008 was the beginning of Idol’s slide, and unfortunately, the shows producers haven’t been able to stop the bleeding.

The graphic displays some unique charts about the show that will either confirm or change your preconceptions. Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing. Right? Wrong. Turns out the shows’ fourth-place finisher from season 5, Chris Daughtry, sold more debut records than anyone in Idol history besides Carrie Underwood. The chart also reveals that none of the top ten artists from Idol competed in the last two seasons.

Another chart reveals that most winners come from the south, possibly because most of the shows viewers reside in the south, though that claim may be a bit too bold without a real empirical analysis. The final chart indicates that Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross are sung more often by the contestants than any other music superstars, racking up a combined total of 27 sung songs through the shows history. Ready for the grading portion? Hmm…to be as harsh as Simon or not to be as harsh as Simon. Simon Cowell is no longer with American Idol and has moved on to his own new show X Factor.

Design: C+

The graphic has adequate colors and adequate charts, but there’s nothing eye popping about it, so we can’t reward it with an A.

Content: A-

The content was more solid and presumably involved the creators digging their Paula Abdul heels in and doing some real research, which sadly, is more than we can say for many graphics that people choose to submit to the Infographic Showcase. The debut album sales chart portion of the graphic could prove to be a nice guide for many years to come, as that particular set of statistics is stagnant and cannot change.

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