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Primetime Ratings: Singing Tops Mudslinging Wednesday Night

The American Idol voters topped the potential presidential vote-getters by a wide margin Wednesday.

Head-to-head in the 9 p.m.-10 p.m. hour, the Idol vote-off show -- bye-bye, Kristy Lee -- averaged an 8.5 rating/21 share in the 18-49 demo, according to Nielsen Media Research overnight numbers, compared with the second hour of ABC's Democratic presidential candidate debate (2.8/7). Idol was also up strongly from last week's vote-off show, which averaged a 7/17.

The good news for ABC was that was the debate did better that its entertainment programming the week before, when Supernanny only mustered a 2.2/5 in the 9 p.m.-10 p.m. hour against Idol.

Fox won the night with a 5.4/15 average in the demo, including a 2.4/7 for the return of Kelsey Grammer/Patricia Heaton sitcom Back to You.

CBS was in second place with a 3.2/9, led by Criminal Minds from 9 p.m.-10 p.m. with a 3.5/9. Big Brother was unable to top the first hour of the debate, averaging a 2.3/7 to the candidates' 2.7/8.

ABC was third with a 2.4/6, led by the debate but hurt by a lightly viewed Men in Trees from 10 p.m-11 p.m. (1.6/4).

NBC was fourth with a 1.9/5, led by Deal or No Deal (2.6/8), while The CW was a competitive fifth at a 1.4/4, boosted by a 1.8/6 for America’s Next Top Model from 8 p.m.-9 p.m.