Saturday, April 20, 2024

Grammy Awards: Ratings Worst Ever, Down 24% from Last Year, Reasons Will Be Debated Hotly


Were they too political? Too rap oriented?

For whatever reasons, the 2018 Grammy Awards scored the lowest rating ever for a Grammy show, down 24% from last year. And this was without competition of any notable kind.

It was also the lowest-watched show since 2009. The total viewers came to just under 20 million.

There will be plenty of speculation about why this happened. But it can’t really be that the show was too political since no one could have predicted that going in. And the now famous video spot of various celebs reading “Fate and the Fury” aloud was in the second half of the show.

Everyone will be a Monday morning quarterback. But I did wonder why the show began with an extended performance piece by Kendrick Lamar– clearly announced as a satire– in which a lot of people were killed on stage. Not exactly upbeat. The next segment, after James Corden’s introduction, was Lady Gaga singing about her dead aunt. From there, you were either interested in the very depressing, or you were gone.

On top of that, the Grammys faced several obstacles. The biggest one was the snubbing of Ed Sheeran, whose “Divide” album is still at the very top of the charts. Sheeran would have been the main attraction of the show, but he received no major nominations and wouldn’t appear because of it.

Then there was the Lorde issue: she was not offered a spot on the show because of her stand on Israel. Then to obscure that fact, they let it seem like it was some kind of anti-female thing, which it wasn’t. But that’s what it became.

There were a lot of weird choices made by the production team. Right after Lady Gaga sang two dirges, Pink appeared and sang another one. Oy vey. There were no thrilling moments. There were moving moments– like Kesha– but there was no fun, no sense of humor, a taped segment from U2 that was palmed off as a live one…

As Sam Cooke sang, a change is gonna come to the Grammys for next year after this debacle. When the show returns to Los Angeles, there’s going to be a lot of re-thinking about how this happened. It can’t happen again.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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