Nor did the broadcast from LA’s Staples Center distinguish itself.
Advertised tributes to Motown diva Diana Ross and country icon Dolly Parton resonated with audiences, if social media is any indicator. But did the tireless hype machine surrounding Lady Gaga’s every move deliver extra eyeballs to the CBS broadcast?
Numbers are in: the overall show, which ran long, scored 19.9 million viewers — up slightly from last year’s 19.8 million viewers, according to Nielsen time-zone-adjusted fast national ratings. Last year’s show, hosted by James Corden, came perilously close to the lowest rating CBS has ever received for a Grammys telecast — 19.04 million viewers in 2009.
Bonus points: the 2019 telecast did win the night in key demos (6.7 in adults 25-54 and 5.6 in adults 18-49), the largest primetime audience and best demo deliveries for any non-sports/non-Super Bowl Sunday programming in the 2018-2019 season, CBS says.
Country singer Kacey Musgraves won four awards, including Album of the Year. Donald Glover alter ego Childish Gambino won four as well. Lady Gaga and Seattle-born singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile won three apiece.
But the night’s most buzzed-about moment came early on, when former first lady Michelle Obama showed up on stage with Keys, Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith and Jennifer Lopez for a segment about the power of music. We need Michelle Obama to tell us that music can help inspire self-empowerment now? It was superfluous and politically motivated.