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updated 1/27/2011 9:12:25 PM ET 2011-01-28T02:12:25

"American Idol" is holding on to its viewers.

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The show's third episode dominated Wednesday night and kept 96 percent of the audience of its premiere, and 95 percent of the audience in the 18-49 demo. It had the highest week one to week two retention since season five.

Steven Tyler's daughter: He's saving 'Idol'

The first-week audience "Idol" held, however, was its smallest in years. The premiere was the lowest rated since Idol's debut, and ratings for the second episode were down 10 percent on night two.

But the show bounced back. "Idol" posted a 9.2/24 among adults 18-49, up 18 percent from last Thursday for the most growth ever from the second to third night. It was also up 10 percent in total viewers (25.2 million, from 22.9 million Thursday).

Grab a hanky for 'Idol's must-see moment

Copyright 2012 by TheWrap.com

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