The telecast gave MTV its biggest viewing audience for any show it’s aired in eight years – since 2002 – including the channel’s now-iconic reality series ‘Jersey Shore.’ The VMAs attracted 11.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen – huge numbers for any show on any cable channel and a 27 percent improvement over the 2009 VMAs.
Why? Well, the increase in viewership could indicate that the music business is on the upswing, with MTV’s core age group – people ages 12-34 – demonstrating a renewed level of interest in pop music, as exemplified by the evening’s big winner, Lady Gaga. Ratings in that age group were also up significantly – 33 percent, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Or maybe pre-show curiosity about Taylor Swift and Kanye West drove the increase.
If you read some of the critics’ takes in the aftermath of the telecast, Chelsea Handler would not be one of the reasons why the VMAs took off this year. She got panned. “She was among the worst in the show’s history,” wrote the New York Times, “purposefully out-of-touch, with brief, alarming flashes of off-color racial humor. [She] never looked comfortable, undone by nerves, brittle material and the wattage of those around her.”
Ouch! The Washington Post described her opening monologue as “a string of flat punch lines that felt a few degrees below crass. Sample zinger: ‘It’s time to acknowledge the big black elephant in the room. Where’s Kanye?’ Ugh.”
But when the ratings came out late Monday, it was Chelsea’s turn. “Just got word. Highest rated VMAs since 2002. Good job, MTV!” she said on Twitter.
Earlier, she took aim at one of her critics – flamboyant celebrity blogger Perez Hilton – who was busy tweeting his distaste for Chelsea’s performance during the telecast. “I usually like her, but Chelsea Handler is sucking at the VMAs!” he wrote, later tweeting to Ryan Seacrest: “I think you should host the VMAs next year! Or ME! Ha! We both would have done a better job than Chelsea did!”
Chelsea tweeted right back to Perez: “Oh, f— off. I had a blast and the show [was] awesome last night. Bomb? Your life is a bomb.”
So much attention is being paid to the VMAs – you’d think this was the Oscars or something. Did you watch the show? What did you think of Chelsea’s performance?