CORRECTED: 'Idol' ratings get Lennon-McCartney boost

Thu Mar 13, 2008 3:20pm EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - It took "American Idol" seven seasons to secure permission to use the Lennon-McCartney catalog, but access to the Beatles' songs paid off in big ratings for the show's Tuesday installment.

According to preliminary national data from Nielsen Media Research, 29.3 million people on average watched the two-hour show. But during the last half-hour, perhaps as people realized that it was Fab Four fiesta, the number rose to 31.6 million people. (Last week's installment, the No. 1 show on television, averaged 28.5 million viewers.)

The resulting Internet buzz Wednesday seemed focused on The Beatles; the band topped Billboard's "Buzz 100" for blog mentions. At iTunes, the "Across the Universe" deluxe edition of the movie's soundtrack popped into the top ten albums. The performance singles from Lennon-McCartney night were expected to go on sale Thursday.

The top searches on Google also revealed traces of Beatlemania. They included searches for the lyrics to "Across the Universe," "In My Life," "If I Fell," as well as general searches for "Eleanor Rigby," and "American Idol March 11."

On the performance side of things, contestants David Cook and David Archuleta were among the top Google-searched artists -- Cook's rock rendition of "Eleanor Rigby" and Archuleta's botching of "We Can Work It Out" both stood out.

Reuters/Billboard

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