Back in New York City for the first time since George W. Bush’s first term and drenched in the politics of the Donald Trump era, last night’s Grammy Awards was rockin’ with multiple wins for a very non-political Bruno Mars and a very, very political Kendrick Lamar. The more than three-and-a half-hour- long CBS show also had an audio book audition cameo by Hillary Clinton (see below), a use or two of the censor button, a lot of U2 and Sting, a powerful Time’s Up speech by Janelle Monáe and an equally powerful performance by Kesha and a chorus of supporters.
Hosted by James Cordon for the second year in a row and continuing on Sundays for the House of Moonves, the 60th annual Grammys additionally had a discerning Dave Chappelle win his first award at the ceremony and a handful for country star Chris Stapleton to take home. Amidst a wide spectrum of performances at Madison Square Garden, Patti LuPone showed how a mic drop bridges generations, and there was a “Jay for President” shout-out from Lamar for a Trump scrapping and multiple nominated Jay-Z in the front row.
With a 12.7/21 in metered market ratings, the Recording Academy’s big hootenanny was also way down from the early numbers from the LA-based February 13, 2017 59th annual show. By way down, I mean a just over 20% decline from last year to what looks to be an all-time low for the ceremony.
Facing the midseason debut of The Walking Dead and even a bit more competition on the rest of the Big 4 than last night’s show, last year’s Adele dominated Grammys eventually claimed 26.05 million viewers and a 7.8 rating among adults 18-49 when the final numbers came in.
Year-to-year, those results were up a tiny bit in total sets of eyeballs from the 2016 Grammys, which were held on a Monday, but basically the same as the February 15 show of almost two years ago in the key demo. All of which had a bottom line of the 2017 Grammys being the most watched since 2014 but the second-lowest-rated since 2009 – with only 2016 going lower by half a hair.
Airing earlier than usual this year, at least there wasn’t any zombie apocalypse for the Grammys to worry about getting a bite from last night. The Walking Dead doesn’t return for the second half of its eighth season until February 25. CBS can also be pretty confident that they won the night against mainly encore heavy competition on the rest of the Big 4.
We’ll update with more Grammy ratings as we hear more. In the meantime, here’s past Grammy winner Hillary Clinton going for a double: