The 2021 Grammys made history and turned heads — but it still couldn’t win the ratings game.
Sunday night’s annual music awards on CBS saw everything from a record-breaking number of wins from Beyoncé, an NSFW performance from Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, and killer styles from a mostly remote slate of celebs.
But all the twerking in the world couldn’t boost the numbers for the oft-maligned event, which regularly struggles with accusations of racism and rigged voting.
Early ratings from Nielsen have the awards drawing a measly 7.9 million total viewers, although the numbers are expected to climb a bit when adjustments are made for time zones. Still, they’re not expected to do better than 2020’s awards — in fact, they may just be at record low levels, according to the Wrap. This article will be updated as the final numbers come in.
Last year, 18.7 million viewers tuned into the event, broadcast from the Staples Center in Los Angeles in pre-pandemic January. The numbers were down by about 1.2 million from 2019, when the program saw a boost in viewers — 19.9 million pairs of eyeballs — after 2018’s particularly poor showing.
Like last year, Billie Eilish scooped up her many awards, albeit reluctantly, and BTS continued to make waves with a new American audience.
But this year differed in the challenges brought on by the pandemic. The awards were filmed at the much-less glamorous LA Convention Center, with some cameos from iconic venues around the country. Although some stars dazzled on the red carpet, it wasn’t the usual fashionable affair.