Sharp drop in ratings for Grammy Awards this year

NEW YORK (AP) — The television audience for Bruno Mars’ dominating night at the Grammy Awards was a sparser one than music’s big night has seen for nearly a decade, and a steep decline of 24 percent from the program a year earlier.

The Nielsen company estimated Monday that 19.8 million people watched the Grammys, compared to 26.1 million last year. It was the Grammys’ smallest audience since 19 million watched in 2009.

This year’s show suffered from a lack of star power, with big-selling artists Adele, Beyonce and Taylor Swift absent from the stage. It was billed going in as a big night for rap, and while that may be music’s most popular style now, it may have been off-putting for some casual music fans.

Rapper Kendrick Lamar opened with a medley that featured a portrayal of dancers being felled by bullets. Comic Dave Chappelle even offered an explanation for viewers who may have been uncomfortable: “The only thing more frightening than watching a black man be honest in America is a black man being honest in America,” he said.

The show featured some political content, including a cameo of Hillary Clinton reading from Michael Wolff’s best-seller on the Trump administration, “Fire and Fury,” as well as commentaries on women’s rights and gun violence.

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