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Grammy Awards score biggest audience in more than a decade

February 14, 2011 | 11:31 am

GAGA

Lots of upsets, no annoying host reading lame jokes, life-size Muppets and a giant egg carrying Lady Gaga was enough to drive the Grammy Awards to its biggest audience in more than a decade.

About 26.6 million people tuned in for the music industry's biggest awards show to see Arcade Fire, Lady Antebellum and Esperanza Spalding score surprise wins. That's a 2.5% increase from last year's program and the largest audience since the 2000 show, which drew 27.8 million viewers. In the key 18 to 49, demographic, the program had its strongest ratings since 2004.

The strong numbers are indicative of the appeal of live events. Awards shows, particularly music shows, have had something of a renaissance as of late. Some credit social networking and sites such as Twitter,  which gives viewers the ability to share thoughts and critiques while the program is happening, as a factor in driving interest in live shows.

The show was not entirely glitch-free. Although CBS did a good job of catching most of the obscenities that flew out of the mouths of some performers, a couple bad words seemed to have slipped through. Given recent wins by the broadcast industry in court over the Federal Communications Commission's enforcement of its so-called fleeting expletive rules, the network may not have too much to worry about.

-- Joe Flint

 Photo: Lady Gaga emerges on the Grammys. Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Image

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