CBS’ broadcast of the 60th annual Grammy Awards live from New York’s Madison Square Garden fell to an all-time low among the key adult 18-49 demographic to a 5.9 rating, according to Nielsen. The three-and-a-half hour show averaged 19.8 million viewers, which won the night and still marked the highest-rated entertainment telecast since the Oscars on Feb. 26, 2017, but it was also the lowest viewer mark for the program since 2008, marking a 24 percent decline since last year.
CBS said the show performed well on its streaming service, CBS All Access, which could have pulled viewers away from the televised edition. According to CBS, viewership was up more than 40 percent on the service and it scored a near-record level of subscription sign-ups.
The politically-tinged show kicked off with an explosive performance by multi-nominee Kendrick Lamar (above), whose record, “Damn.”, went on to win five Grammys although it missed out on the big awards. Those—including album, record and song of the year — were scooped up by Bruno Mars’ more pop-friendly “24 K Magic.”
Singer and actress Janelle Monae gave a salute to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, as she introduced singer Kesha.
“We are also daughters, wives, sisters, mothers and human beings,” Monelle said. “We come in peace, but we mean business. And to those who would dare try to silence us, we offer two words: ‘Time’s up.’ We say ‘Time’s up’ for pay inequality; time’s up for discrimination; time’s up for harassment of any kind. And time’s up for the abuse of power – because, you see, it’s not just going on in Hollywood; it’s not just going on in Washington. It’s right here in our industry, as well.”
Kesha was joined by a chorus of women — including Cyndi Lauper Camila Cabello, Andra Day, and the Resistance Revival Chorus, all dressed in white — as she belted out her anthem of survival, “Prayin’,” off of her album “Rainbow.” Kesha spent several years in court battles with producer Dr. Luke after alleging that he sexually and emotionally abused her, while he countersued for breach of contract and defamation. A New York court dismissed all of Kesha’s charges of abuse in April 2016, and while the singer isn’t backing off on her claims, she went ahead and released “Rainbow” on Dr. Luke’s Kemosabe Records label in August 2017, saying she just wanted to get the emotional album out to her fans.
Other highlights included performances from Broadway stars Ben Platt, who sang “Somewhere” from West Side Story, and Patti LaPone, who sang “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” from Evita.
Elton John, in advance of his Grammy special “I’m Still Standing” to be taped on Jan. 30 and broadcast later this year, paired with Miley Cyrus for a duet of “Tiny Dancer.” And U2 turned in a freezing, pre-taped performance of “Get Out of Your Own Way” from a barge in New York harbor.
The least-watched Grammys came in 1995, when the broadcast only attracted 11.25 million viewers and tied the 1975 show for the all-time low among viewers, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
[Images courtesy of John P. Filo/CBS]