Viewership for the Grammy Awards held steady on Sunday night, drawing an audience of 19.9 million people, according to Nielsen.
That was slightly better than the 19.8 million viewers who tuned in for the show last year. The event, which returned to Los Angeles this year and was broadcast on CBS, featured performances by Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Cardi B. Alicia Keys hosted and Michelle Obama made a cameo in the opening minutes of the ceremony.
The viewership figures will also help stop the bleeding. The Grammys, which is generally the second most-watched awards ceremony program behind the Oscars, saw a 24 percent drop in viewers last year. Ratings declines have been the norm for awards shows in recent years but the Grammys had proved mostly resilient.
Despite the onstage star power, several big names did not show this year, including Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino and Ariana Grande.
Sunday’s total audience also keeps the Grammys within range of the Oscars. The Oscars telecast once seemed unassailable in its ratings dominance, regularly exceeding the music ceremony by 20 million viewers in the 2000s. But the Oscars has seen a huge drop in viewership in the last five years. In 2014, the Oscars had nearly 44 million viewers. Last year, it drew 26.5 million viewers, a low.
ABC, which broadcasts the Oscars, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have been on a mission to increase its audience. The Academy briefly raised the possibility of introducing a new popular movie category to entice viewers before a backlash helped nix it. ABC has also insisted that it will keep the ceremony to three hours, and that several categories will not be televised this year.
This year’s ceremony will also have no host — but ABC has claimed that the lack of an M.C. has only fueled interest.
“I have found that the lack of clarity around the Oscars has kept them in the conversation,” said Karey Burke, the president of entertainment at ABC, at a gathering with the news media last week. “The mystery is really compelling. People really care.”
The Oscars are scheduled for Feb. 24.