Frank Ocean accepts the award for best urban contemporary album at the 55th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, in Los Angeles. Looking on from right presenters Kelly Rowland and Nas.(Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK — While the Grammy Awards couldn’t come close to the freakishly high ratings generated in 2012 because of Whitney Houston’s death and Adele’s smashing success, this year’s show had the second-largest audience for the program since 1993.
The Nielsen company said Monday that music’s annual awards show was seen by 28.4 million people Sunday night on CBS.
The Grammys this year were packed with high-powered musical moments and, in its awards, celebrated the industry’s diversity rather than overwhelmingly honoring one artist. It also had a few water-cooler moments: Which boyfriend was Taylor Swift specifically dissing in her latest performance of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”? Was Chris Brown flaunting his revived relationship with Rihanna?
The music academy’s decision to turn the televised Grammys into more of a showcase than an awards show appears to be bearing fruit, too. The show’s audience was nearly 2 million higher than the 26.7 million who watched in 2011. From 2005 to 2009, the Grammy Awards audience fluctuated from 17 million to 20 million viewers.
Last year, 39.9 million people tuned in to see how the industry would react to Houston’s death just before the awards and celebrate the coronation of its hottest star, Adele, who won six Grammys.
This year’s show featured the musical return of Justin Timberlake, collaborations honoring Bob Marley and Levon Helm, and performances by the majority of stars up for major awards.
The Grammys far outpaced the Emmys, which had 13.3 million viewers last September for its more traditional awards show, and the Golden Globes, which had 19.7 million viewers in January. The upcoming Oscars usually get more than 30 million viewers.