The 54th annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on CBS enjoyed its highest ratings in almost 20 years, delivering 39 million viewers and almost doubling its performance from last year, with tributes to the late Whitney Houston being credited for the boost in viewership.
CBS announced its impressive Nielsen ratings on Monday, which combined live viewers with DVR figures, adding to a total of 39.9 million viewers for the night. While that number was still far from the record 51.67 million people who tuned in in 1984 to watch Michael Jackson take eight trophies for his Thriller album, it was still enough to make it the second biggest Grammys show in history.
The 2012 show drew almost double the 26.6 million viewers who watched in 2011, and was a vast improvement over the ratings in the last decade which mostly stayed in the 20 million range, Billboard.com reported.
The Grammys included some notable appearances, like the televised return of British singer Adele after her career-saving throat surgery in November, who won a record six awards for her second album "21" and its single of love and loss, "Rolling in the Deep." Adele won Grammys for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for "21," as well as Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Short Form Music Video for "Rolling in the Deep." She also won Best Pop Solo Performance for "Someone like You."
Other star performances included Paul McCartney, the Foo Fighters, Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown and Rihanna. However, the tributes to Whitney Houston, who passed away in her Beverly Hilton hotel room on Saturday, dominated the night, as the music industry honored one its most famous and successful pop singers.
Singer Jennifer Hudson performed an emotional cover of Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You," the artist's most iconic song.
"I was brought to tears again last night, as I'm sure many were, when Jennifer Hudson sang 'I Will Always Love You' on the Grammys in memory of Whitney," said country singer Dolly Parton, who wrote Houston's iconic song, in a statement on Monday after watching Hudson's live rendition.
"Like everybody else, I am still in shock. But I know that Whitney will live forever in all the great music that she left behind. I will always have a very special piece of her in the song we shared together and had the good fortune to share with the world. Rest in peace, Whitney. Again, we will always love you," Parton added.