Grammy Ratings Get A Boost From Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson Tribute

Gil Kaufman 02/01/2010 18:07
Lady Gaga performs at the 2010 Grammys

Lady Gaga performs at the 2010 Grammys

It should be no surprise that major wins and performances by some of last year's biggest-selling artists helped lift the ratings for Sunday night's 52nd annual Grammy Awards.

A buzz-inducing performance from Lady Gaga and Elton John, a stunning aerial show from Pink and talked-about nominations for Taylor Swift and Beyoncé helped boost ratings by 35 percent over last year's show. Variety reported that, according to Nielsen, the telecast drew approximately 26.6 million viewers, the highest numbers since the 2004 show.

"I think the 12- to 34-year-olds really tune in for this kind of stuff, and they know when their people are going to be on the air," said Stuart Levine, assistant managing editor at Variety, referring to young viewers who are fans of Gaga, Swift and Beyoncé and who likely tuned in to the broadcast in much larger numbers than usual. "Artists like Beyoncé and Gaga are such pop-culture icons at this point that their performances really draw people in. [Big 2009 winner] Robert Plant [who took home five awards last year, including Album of the Year for his bluegrass collaboration with Alison Krauss, Raising Sand] and Bruce Springsteen are great for my demo, but my 15-year-old daughter doesn't really tune in for them but will watch anything Lady Gaga and Beyoncé do."

A Record of the Year win by young turks Kings of Leon and six trophies for Beyoncé were sure to keep young viewers' interest. Another factor is the big night for Swift, who took home four awards, including Album of the Year.

(...) Also boosting interest in the show were a pair of special performances, including one by Andrea Bocelli and Mary J. Blige that was a fundraiser for Haiti relief, and a 3-D all-star tribute to Michael Jackson featuring Jennifer Hudson, Usher, Carrie Underwood, Smokey Robinson and Celine Dion. The thundering rap summit featuring Eminem, Drake, Lil Wayne and Travis Barker probably didn't hurt when it came to drawing in younger viewers either, Levine said. "They'll watch it on TV the first time, then download the music, watch it on YouTube and Hulu and other sites after, over and over," he said.



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