Idol and Lost square off

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Tonight, the titans clash: The season finale of Fox's American Idol airs directly opposite the season finale of ABC's Lost.

The Simon Cowell reality show has been enjoying series-high ratings in this, its fifth season. The J.J. Abrams castaway drama has been slowly shedding viewers, and last week it emerged badly bruised from a head-to-head battle with Idol, posting the lowest ratings a new episode of the show has ever recieved.

In last Wednesday's showdown, Idol scored 27.1 million viewers and a 10.5 rating/25 share in the adults 18-49 demographic. Lost averaged 14.2 million viewers, good for a 5.9 rating/14 share. That's down 25 percent from the season average of 7.9 rating/19 share, and overall the second half of the season is down 20 percent.

In addition to ratings, TV critics are exhibiting a growing cynicism with the show. In a May 19 New York Times article, Alessandra Stanley writes, "Lost is the sudoku of network television, a brainteaser that puzzles but does not enlighten."

Some critics cite the lack of logic in any given episode. On May 18, San Francisco Chronicle television columnist Tim Goodman wrote, "I want Lost to make some sense, to have a point [or many of them] and to move forward. If I don't start getting some sense, some points, well, a whole new crop of shows are coming next year."

Fans may also be growing weary of the seemingly never-ending questions. An US Weekly poll asked "Is Lost going downhill?" to which almost 60 percent of respondents said "Yes."

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