The Grammy Awards achieved its biggest viewing figures in four years on Sunday (4 February), with 16.9 million viewers tuning in to see Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Victoria Monet and Miley Cyrus take home some of the night’s biggest prizes.
There were several surprises on the night, including a rare public appearance from Celine Dion – who has been dealing with a rare medical condition – to present the Album of the Year trophy to Taylor Swift.
Swift won the night’s biggest prize for a record-breaking fourth time at the 66th awards show, for her 10th album Midnights.
She also collected a statuette for Best Pop Vocal Album, her 13th Grammy, and chose that moment to announce that she will release her latest record, The Tortured Poets Department, on 19 April.
Other highlights included Tracy Chapman performing her classic song “Fast Car” for the first time in nine years, in a moving duet with country singer Luke Combs, who achieved a No 1 hit with his cover version of the song in 2023.
Joni Mitchell, who suffered a brain aneurysm in 2015, performed at the Grammys for the first time ever. Cyrus, who won her first ever Grammy Awards for her record-breaking single “Flowers”, also gave a lively rendition of the song, ad-libbing some of the lyrics to mark her achievement.
“I didn’t wanna leave you (but had to), I didn’t wanna fight (but we did), started to cry but then remembered – I just won my first Grammy!” she sang, to cheers from the audience.
Comedian Trevor Noah hosted the awards show for the fourth consecutive year, eliciting laughs from his celebrity audience with gags about Meryl Streep (another surprise, as the Hollywood actor turned up to support her son-in-law, Mark Ronson), and Swift’s trouble with NFL fans over her boyfriend, Travis Kelce.
According to Nielsen Media Research, viewership was up 34 per cent on last year’s 12.4 million viewers, despite a similar starry turnout that included Adele, Beyonce and Harry Styles.
Forbes notes that the tally will surpass 17 million viewers once the Live+3 Day ratings – additional viewers who catch up three days after the original air date – are accounted for.
Viewing figures reached their peak at 9.45pm ET (2.45am GMT), when the In-Memoriam segment saw performances from Annie Lennox, Stevie Wonder, Fantasia Barrino and Jon Batiste.
The Grammys also dominated the conversation on social media, according to NetBase, with 62.6 billion impressions.
The 2024 awards have been dubbed “Year of the Women”, after female artists swept all of the Big Four categories (Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Best New Artist), as well as other top prizes such as Best Rock Performance (Boygenius), Best R&B Album (Victoria Monet) and Best R&B Performance (Coco Jones).