Politically Charged American Music Awards Hit New Ratings Low

Taylor Swift on the red carpet at the 2018 American Music Awards (Mike Blake/Reuters)

Ratings for the American Music Awards hit a record low on Tuesday as the ceremony took a political turn.

Stealing the show was pop star Taylor Swift, who recently broke her political silence to endorse two Democratic candidates for Congress in her home state of Tennessee, Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper.

“In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now,” Swift wrote in an Instagram post Sunday evening. “I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country.”

Swift, 28, took home the Artist of the Year award at the AMAs.

“This award and every single award given out tonight were voted on by the people, and you know what else is voted on by the people?” Swift told the audience. “It is the midterm elections on November 6. Get out and vote. I love you guys.”

That political messaging coincided with a sharp drop in ratings for the AMAs. The show’s Nielsen Media Research share of viewers aged 18 to 49 was 1.8 this year compared to 2.4 in 2017, for a sharp drop from more than 9 million viewers to just 6.5 million.

Other awards shows have taken similar ratings hits as politics seeped into their ceremonies. The Tony Awards in June, which featured actor Robert De Niro declaring “F**k Trump” onstage, and the Grammy Awards in January, which included an appearance by Hillary Clinton, both saw their viewership drop.

Most Popular


The Odds Are Slim to Nunes

When the history of the 2018 midterms is written, there will be a chapter on missed opportunities for Democrats. Some may wonder if they should have spent so much money supporting Beto O’Rourke in Texas, or whether Heidi Heitkamp was doomed from the start in North Dakota. One painful question for progressives ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Beatification of Beto

The media’s treatment of Texas Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke wasn’t the most egregiously unfair coverage of the past year -- that would be the treatment of Brett Kavanaugh -- but it ranks among 2018’s most annoying. The endless glowing profiles of O’Rourke in every publication from Vanity Fair to ... Read More