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Idol finale ratings inch upward

American Idol's Season 7 finale Wednesday drew 31.7 million viewers nationally, up a notch from the 30.8 million for 2007's closer.

That's a tonic for Fox, which plans to give the show a limited makeover for next season after overall ratings for the still No. 1-rated series dropped about eight percent from last year's.

The 2003 Season 2 finale, pitting Ruben Studdard against Clay Aiken, remains Idol's all-time champ with 38.1 million viewers. And 2006's Season 5 ender (Taylor Hicks vs. Katharine McPhee) is still No. 2 with 36.4 million viewers.

Wednesday's David Cook-David Archuleta matchup moves into the No. 3 spot on Idol's finale charts.

The first Idol finale (2002), in which Kelly Clarkson of Burleson, TX defeated curly-topped Justin Guarini, pulled in 22.8 million viewers.