Though the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards featured a Britney Spears comeback, Drake’s public declaration of love for Rihanna, and a killer 16-minute performance from Beyoncé, the televised ceremony saw terrible ratings regarding viewership.
Once again, the VMAs suffered yet another drop in audience numbers, bringing in only 6.5 million viewers on Sunday night (Aug. 28, 2016). According to The Hollywood Reporter, the VMAs went down by more than 4 million viewers, a 34 percent drop, since 2015’s numbers.
The dip in ratings continues the VMAs’ trend of decline in viewership. In 2015, the show only snagged 10.3 million viewers, while 2014 had roughly a crowd of 13.7 million.
The Parents Television Council, an organization that previously complained about Miley Cyrus’ raunchy VMAs performance in 2013, even remarked that MTV “definitely seemed to have toned it down” and that “it did seem to be a tamer VMAs” this year.
Though Beyoncé arguably stole the show with a medley of songs from Lemonade, some viewers even found ways to critique the performance. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani blasted Beyoncé, saying:
I have five uncles who were police officers, two cousins who were, one who died in the line of duty. I ran the largest and best police department in the world, the New York City Police Department, and I saved more black lives than any of those people you saw on stage by reducing crime and particularly homicide by 75 percent of which, maybe for or five thousand were African-American young people who are alive today because of the policies I put in effect that weren’t in effect for 35 years.
“When when she does stuff like that her VMAs performance, that message to the next generation is pretty indelible,” he said on Fox & Friends. “It’s a shame.”