Despite rolling out Justin Bieber acceptance speeches about his haters and his mom, Nicki Minaj in pink wig and fake snow, more Taylor Swift ring kissing, Christina Aguilera, Carly Rae Jepsen, Kelly Clarkson, Usher, Carrie Underwood, Ke$ha, Pink, Pitbull, Linkin Park, No Doubt and the triumphant return of MC Hammer in a "Gangman Style" dance-off with PSY, the "American Music Awards" suffered its smallest audience in its 40-year history Sunday night.
The AMA plunged more than 20 percent among 18- to 49-year-old viewers who are preferred by advertisers, as well as by 20 percent among viewers overall. When the dust settled, early ratings indicated that the show was watched by 9.6 million viewers — with not much hope for a substantial spike from DVR viewing.
As recently as 2009, the show was clocking more than 14 million fans.
But the AMA isn't the only music-industry trophy show that's taken a battering.
Earlier this month, the Country Music Awards attracted its smallest audience ever.
And in September, the VMA plunged from its biggest audience ever (in 2011) to the second-smallest crowd in its history, ahead only of the '06 VMA, which logged 5.8 million viewers between 8 p.m. and nearly the next morning. That 2006 number was so bad, it caused Viacom-owned MTV to order the show de-bloated to a two-hour-ish program.
And just this past Friday, the Grammys salute to Whitney Houston, while still winning its 10 p.m. time slot, only logged about 7 million viewers, trailing "CSI: NY" (9.6 million) and "Undercover Boss" (9 million).
TV viewers, it would appear, are approaching the saturation point when it comes to music popsters.
Not coincidentally, many of the big acts on the AMA show were repeat offenders.
Bieber, who picked up the AMA Artist of the Year award, was, among other TV appearances, a guest X-ecutioner on a recent round of Fox's "X Factor." And, consider yourself warned: He's scheduled to sweep Oprah off her feet on OWN's "Oprah's Next Chapter" on Sunday.