Rudolph, with your nose so bright, why didn't you guide the Grammys Wednesday night?

By Lisa de Moraes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 3, 2010; 2:36 AM

Despite a performance by pouty-lipped, helmet-haired tweener heartthrob Justin Bieber - and another by PBS's least favorite pop star, Katy Perry - the size of the audience that watched this year's Grammy Nominations Concert on CBS plunged by about 20 percent compared with last year, to 5 million viewers.

That's also down a troubling 30 percent compared with the nomination-unveiling-cum-concert special's debut on CBS in 2008.

The Recording Academy showered rapper Eminem with 10 Grammy nominations including Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Bieber received his very first Grammy nominations - for Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Album. Perry's "Teenage Dream" is up for Album of the Year.

Those two earlier Grammy Nominations Concerts had one thing in common: their lead-in was "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." This year's lead-in? A "Criminal Minds" rerun.

Do the Grammy noms need Rudolph to succeed?

The trophy show itself has always been one of the most confusing - does anyone know which category is the most important? Song of the Year? Best New Artist? Album of the Year? Record of the Year? But it's been getting strong ratings since the producers and CBS discovered the cheesetastic-ness of pairing, say, the Jonas Brothers with Stevie Wonder, and seeing what develops. At this year's Grammy Awards, scheduled for the February "sweep" period, we're praying they will pair Justin Bieber with Liza Minnelli.

But anyway, getting back to Wednesday's ratings, CBS probably should have had the cast of "Glee" perform during the strange hybrid of a show. Yes, this year's Grammy Awards will feature the "Glee" gang - because it's nominated for Best Pop Performance by Duo or Group With Vocals for its cover of "Don't Stop Believin'," which it performed when it went to the fake "regionals" glee-club competition. Really, Recording Academy?

Anyway, the "Glee" gang's rabid fans will follow the show's performers anywhere - even to Fox nemesis CBS - which could help ratings for the trophy show, particularly since the Grammys are scheduled to air Feb. 13 which is just days after "Glee's" triumphant return from a long hiatus with a post-Super Bowl episode.

But even so, there is also a growing sense that Americans might just be suffering from music trophy-show fatigue.

The two most recent such shows, both airing on ABC during the November sweep, were down compared with the previous year.

On Nov. 10, the Country Music Awards fumbled nearly 1 million viewers compared with last year, despite being co-hosted by ooh-it's-Carrie Underwood and massive amounts of promotion during "Dancing With the Stars," which copped some of its biggest crowds ever week after week.

Then, on Nov. 21, the American Music Awards took a ratings nose-dive to the tune of 2.5 million viewers. Granted, last year's "big get" at the AMAs was "American Idol" shoulda-been-the-winner Adam Lambert making his first TV performance since not winning that Fox singing competition series.

And of course, Lambert's performance turned into one of the great music-trophy-show train wrecks ever - yes, even bigger than when the Jonas Brother's joined with Wonder at the Grammys to perform their song "Burnin' Up," after which they patronizingly told Wonder to show them what he's got as they all sang his "Superstition."

Oh yes, they did.

This year's big AMA performance "get"?

Justin Bieber.

To see a photo gallery on the 2010 Grammy nominees, go to

© 2010 The Washington Post Company