The TV audience for the Grammy Awards show soared to 39 million viewers on Sunday, fueled by the sudden death of Whitney Houston and the success of British singer Adele.
The more than three hour telecast drew its second largest ever TV audience, and the biggest since 1984, according to early ratings data on Monday from the Nielsen company.
The annual awards show, the biggest night in the music industry, was overshadowed by the sudden death of Houston, 48, on Saturday in a Beverly Hills hotel. She was found in a bathtub, coroners officials said, but the exact cause of her death is still under investigation.
On Sunday, Grammy-winning singer and actress paid tribute to Houston with a heartfelt rendition of her hit song “I Will Always Love You”, and the telecast began with a prayer.
Viewers also tuned in to broadcaster CBS to see the first live performance by Adele, 23, after throat surgery in November. The “Rolling In the Deep” singer, whose album “21″ was the world’s biggest seller in 2011, walked off with all six of the Grammys she had been nominated for.