The music industry’s biggest night fell flat Sunday, as the Grammy Awards show continued to fall in the ratings.
The awards ceremony drew 18.7 million viewers, a decline of about 5 percent from last year, when 19.88 million viewers tuned in.
Although the year-to-year decline was modest, it is part of a trend that has seen the annual program’s ratings drop 53 percent from 2012, when 39.9 million people watched the show, Fox News reported.
The 2020 show garnered its smallest TV audience since 2008, when 17.18 million people tuned in.
The Grammy Awards ceremony’s lowest ratings — at least in terms of total viewers — came in 2006, when 17 million people watched, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Writing for Forbes, writer Toni Fitzgerald said the ratings dip reflects the media environment of the times.
“The Grammys, and other awards programs such as the Golden Globes, Oscars and Emmys, have been fighting to maintain ratings relevance for years. While certainly they drive conversation, and Grammy-related hashtags did trend on social media all night, there’s no longer an urgency to tune in live,” she wrote.
“In fact, because of social media, people can follow along with the winners through their feeds without even watching the ceremony,” she added. “They feel as though they’re participating in the show without giving the networks the benefit of their viewership.”
— billie eilish source (@billiesource) January 28, 2020
Sunday’s ceremony was a big evening for 18-year-old singer Billie Eilish, who took home five trophies, including for Song of the Year and Album of the Year.
Singer Alicia Keys veered into politics as the show opened, but mostly focused on the sudden passing of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who died only hours before the awards ceremony was broadcast from the Staples Center, where the Lakers play their home games.
“I’m proud to be here. And I’m proud to be here and feel the energy of the artists,” Keys said, according to Deadline. “It’s a new decade. We can reuse the negative energy. We refuse the old system, we want to be respected in our diversity.
“Tonight we want to celebrate the people, the artists who put themselves on the line,” she said, later adding, “We’re unstoppable. Celebrating the music, because I know how much Kobe loved music. So we’ve got to make this a celebration in his honor. He would want us to keep the vibrations hot.”
— Variety (@Variety) January 27, 2020
In what appeared to be an oblique reference to the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump taking place in Washington, D.C., she ended her remarks by saying, “We unite in spite of what went on this week. Music changes the world. It’s when people do nothing that the bad guys win.”
The show also featured singer Demi Lovato, who suffered an apparent drug overdose in 2018, performing her new song, “Anyone.” During her performance, she was seen crying as she sang.
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