NEW YORK — Nearly 21 million TV viewers seems like a lot but for an “American Idol” season ender, it’s a new low.

The crowd that tuned in Wednesday night when bluesy guitar man Phillip Phillips won the “Idol” crown constituted the smallest for an “Idol” season ender in its history, according to preliminary Nielsen Co. figures.

The number was down by nearly one-third from the 29.3 million viewers who saw country singer Scotty McCreery’s victory a year ago, an audience total that had rebounded by 20 percent from the finale in 2010.