May 22, 2018 / 10:01 AM

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Grammys 2018: Awards Show Drops To All-Time Low Ratings, Engages 19.8M Viewers



The 2018 Grammys was the biggest night in music that saw the attendance of the industry's brightest stars. However, not everyone was watching. 

The event was held for the first time in 15 years in Madison Square Garden, New York recorded its lowest rating among its target demographic. The three-and-a-half hour telecast on Sunday, Jan. 28, drew 19.8 million viewers with a 5.9 rating among adults aged 18 to 49. That is a 24 percent drop from the ratings recorded a year ago. 

Ratings Game

The awards night was hosted by television's James Corden and saw live performances from chart-topping artists such as Bruno Mars, Cardi B, Kesha, U2, Elton John, Miley Cyrus, Sam Smith, Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, and more. Stars like Alessia Cara, Childish Gambino, Little Big Town, and The National went onstage to collect their trophies. Lorde, Camila Cabello, Lana Del Rey, Hailee Steinfeld, Katie Holmes, Heidi Klum, Anna Kendrick, Chrissy Teigen, and other celebrities were in attendance. 

Despite the appearances of the entertainment industry's biggest and brightest stars, the 60th Annual Grammy Awards fell flat. In terms of ratings, Nielsen revealed that last year's show was a lot more popular to its key demographic with 12.7 rating among households. 

According to Deadline, this year's show hit the worst demo rating since 2009. 

However, the 2018 Grammys brought good things to CBS this year. The music event is still the most-watched primetime entertainment since the Oscar's in October. The show also helped boost sign-ups to CBS All Access, the network's own streaming platform. 


The rather disappointing demo rating of this year's awards show could be attributed to the number of controversy surrounding it. Before its broadcast, many questioned why Lorde, nominated for Album of the Year for Melodrama, was not performing while her male peers took the stage (her mother hinted at the latent sexism at the Grammys). 

And while the show tried to jump on the #MeToo bandwagon, it was criticized for its lack of love for female artists. Vox published a piece calling out the Grammys for "[putting] on a big show of supporting women without actually supporting women." The site cited Kesha's powerful performance of a song she wrote against her abuser, but the industry does not seem too keen on changing the broken system that allowed the abuse to happen in the first place. 

Meanwhile, USA Today noticed that the awards ceremony continue to snub the critically acclaimed hip-hop artist in favor of the chart-toppers. This year, Bruno Mars (whose music is more pop than hip-hop) reigned supreme with six wins while Jay-Z, who was awarded an industry icons honor, went home with zero.

"And the Grammys extended their shameful streak of awarding album of the year to the obvious radio-friendly pop release over the category's more critically-acclaimed hip-hop nominee," the writer argued.

The Grammys, next year, will return to Los Angeles. It is not clear whether Corden will be invited back to host. 

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