Viewers reportedly hit an all-time low at this year’s Grammys, with a record-low number tuning into watch the awards show this past Sunday (Jan. 26).
According to Nielsen ratings, the three-hour CBS event garnered 18.7 million viewers, marking the ceremony’s lowest-rated broadcast ever. The 2020 Grammys saw a roughly six percent fall from last year’s ratings and, in comparison, a 53 percent reduction from the 2012 Grammys.
For many, the awards show’s excitement was dimmed by the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who were killed in a helicopter crash earlier in the day. Bryant was remembered throughout the ceremony, starting with a special joint performance by Boyz II Men and Grammys host Alicia Keys.
“Here we are together, on music’s biggest night, celebrating the artists that do it best,” Keys addressed the Los Angeles Staples Center crowd. “But to be honest with you, we’re all feeling crazy sadness right now, because earlier today, Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero, and we’re literally standing here, heartbroken, in the house that Kobe Bryant built.”
Keys and Boyz II Men sang “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday” in Bryant’s honor. Lizzo, Lil Nas X, Run-D.M.C. and more also paid tribute to the late NBA legend in their performances.
Nipsey Hussle was also remembered during the ceremony, in a tribute performance by Meek Mill, John Legend, YG, Roddy Ricch, Kirk Franklin and DJ Khaled. Ricch and Mill debuted a new collaboration called “Letter to Nipsey,” while Khaled and Legend performed their Grammy-winning and Hussle-featuring hit, “Higher.” Along with Best Rap/Sung Performance for the collaborated single, Hussle also posthumously won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance for his song with Ricch and Hit-Boy, “Racks in the Middle.”
Lizzo and Lil Nas X were among hip hop’s winners of the night, with Tyler, the Creator taking home Best Rap Album for IGOR and Anderson .Paak’s Ventura winning Best R&B Album.