'American Idol' finale beats 'The Voice' for the first time but it's still not a win for ABC

For the first time since ABC picked it up, “American Idol” was able to edge out NBC’s similar singing competition “The Voice” in Monday night ratings. However, it was the season finale of "Idol" and the penultimate episode of "The Voice," plus previous "Idol" finales have drawn much higher numbers.

The conclusion of the 16th season of “American Idol” drew roughly 8.7 million total viewers, according to TV Line. “The Voice” topped out close at 8.6 million. So, while “Idol” eked out a win over its biggest competition, it was nothing all that great to celebrate.

The “Dancing With the Stars: Athletes” finale led into the “Idol” finale at 8 p.m., garnering large viewership despite its abridged one-hour broadcast time. While “Idol” had its star-studded finale lead-in, “The Voice” gave it a significant run for its money with a non-finale episode. Additionally, “American Idol” had the benefit of airing until 11 p.m. EST while “The Voice” bowed out at 10 p.m. EST. This gave it an extra hour to rake in high numbers while NBC’s dropped significantly once the non-competition show “Running Wild With Bear Grylls” took over. According to Deadline, “The Voice” and “Idol” were tied in ratings for that overlapping hour.

While ABC is doubling down on its revival of the former Fox singing competition with an early second seaon renewal, it may not be its best bet as it’s routinely underperformed since shifting networks. Just two years ago, its Fox finale garnered a massive 13.3 million viewers, a much higher viewership than Monday night. This has some wondering whether ABC’s strategy to take over the show was misguided as now it’s sitting on a very expensive series that’s clearly underperforming.

This latest season saw the show’s lowest-performing night to date, including during its lengthy run on Fox.

ABC’s version of the once-canceled singing competition show is reportedly the most expensive season yet. According to the Wall Street Journal, the celebrity stars for the revived show are being paid 60 percent more than in previous seasons. Katy Perry is raking in a reported $25 million for the season, while host Ryan Seacrest and judge Luke Bryan are each making $12 million. Lionel Richie is being paid a reported $10 million for his participation.

Fox News' Brian Flood contributed to this report.