Even Alicia Keys’ fine hosting job couldn’t save the Grammy Awards in the ratings.
Last night’s show drew around 16.5 million viewers, down from nearly 20 million last year and 19 million the year before. The numbers may increase in adjustment later today but they’re not good.
The key demo isn’t so hot either. Last year it was a 5.9. This year it’s starting out as a 4.7 and may inch up to around 5. But that means a million or so of the younger audience wasn’t there despite the winner of the night, Billie Eilish, being 18 years old.
The absence of Taylor Swift was felt: she made her point. Also, there were unnecessary segments like an irrelevant tribute to Prince by Usher (it was fine, but why now?) and to rapper Nipsey Hustle (the audience didn’t really know who he was).
The public scandal caused by ousted Grammy chief Deborah Dugan no doubt turned people off. And then the tragic death of Kobe Bryant became an ABC News special at 10pm, when the Grammy numbers really nosedived.
The first hour got 18 million people. The second hour was 17 million. And the third hour dropped to 14 million. The show ran long, so many viewers on the East Coast probably didn’t wait up to see who won Best Album and Record. Of course, a lengthy musical tribute to the show’s producer, Ken Ehrlich, probably should have been cut to speed things up.