Roar: American Music Awards delivers biggest ratings in years

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With the reigning pop-diva trio of Miley, Katy and Gaga all performing, the American Music Awards soared to its best ratings in four years among total viewers and the adult demo.

The AMAs had 12.9 million viewers and a 4.5 rating among adults 18-49 Sunday night, up a strong 32 percent from last year. The numbers represent the show’s second-biggest audience in 11 years, plus was up 86 percent from 2012 among teen viewers. The AMAs easily dominated every other entertainment show on broadcast. NBC’s Sunday Night Football‘s Denver vs. New England game led the night.

One suspects Miley Cyrus may be at least partly to thank for the teen surge and general what-will-she-do-next interest. Cyrus’ revealing bikini met fans’ high/low expectations. Yet her performance of “Wrecking Ball” was more cutely weird (crying space cat!) than overtly sexual (video below), like something dreamed up on a Reddit comment thread. Performances by J. Lo, Xtina, Rihanna, One Direction, Pitbull and others couldn’t hurt either. See our AMAs best/worst performances gallery.

Also hitting highs last night: CBS’ crime drama The Mentalist, which resolved its series-long Red John serial killer storyline and had its biggest audience of the season with 10.1 million viewers (here’s our rather disappointed take on the episode, plus a Q&A with the creator/star). Fox’s animation lineup received a boost from football overtime, though Family Guy was unchanged for its surprising episode.

 NET/TIME/SHOW  18-49 RATING  TOTAL VIEWERS (+000)
FOX 7:00P NFL OVERRUN 7.3 22,034
7:30P NFL OVERRUN/THE OT 6.2 17,574
8:00P SIMPSONS- 2.9 6,649
8:30P BOBS BURGR- 1.9 4,022
9:00P FAMILY GUY- 2.2 4,511
9:30P AMERCN DAD- 1.8 3,806
ABC 7-8P AMR-VIDEOS- 1.5 6,690
8-11P AMAs S 4.5 12,930
CBS 7-8P 60 MINUTES- 1.6 11,027
8-9P AMAZNG RCE- 1.5 7,985
9-10P GOOD WIFE- 1.3 9,497
10-11P MENTALIST- 1.5 10,620
NBC 7:00P FTBL-P1SUS- 2.4 7,466
7:30P FTBL NT-P2- 3.8 10,667
8:00P FTBL NT-P3- 6.3 18,828
830-11P BRNCO&PATS 8.8 23,988


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