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grammys 2012

Last Night’s Grammys Drew More Viewers Than 2011’s Oscars

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12:  Singer Adele accepts the Album of the Year Award for "21"onstage at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) Grammys' secret weapon, Adele.

Boom! Approximately 39 million Whitney Houston and Adele fans tuned in to Sunday night's Grammy Awards, making it the second-most-watched Grammys in the show's 41-year history of live broadcasts and beating the tune-in for last year's Oscars. (Only Michael Jackson's 1984 Grammy sweep has done better in modern times, bringing in 43.8 million viewers.) Sunday's show also did well with younger viewers, averaging a 14.1 rating with those under 50 (the best in that demo since 1990, and up a whopping 44 percent from last year) and a 12.1 with viewers under 35 (the biggest since 2001). Compared to what's usually the year's biggest awards show, the 2012 Grammys beat last year's Academy Awards by just over 1 million viewers (37.6 million watched the movie awards) and, with adults under 50, it won by a wide margin (the Oscars notched an 11.7 demo rating).

Barring some major controversy, it's hard to see this year's Oscars out-rating the Grammys, particularly given the fact that most of this year's nominated best pictures pulled in under $100 million. As for the Grammys, while curiosity over a planned Houston tribute no doubt boosted viewership in a big way, don't underestimate the appeal of Adele. Her album 21 sold just under 6 million copies in 2011, making it the biggest U.S. release since Usher's 2004 entry Confessions. In any event, based on last night's numbers, we're predicting a prime-time broadcast network tribute to Houston and an Adele concert special will soon be put in the works.

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images