American Idol, airing on the Fox network opposite the first hour of CBS's Grammy Awards telecast, averaged 28 million viewers, compared to 15 million for the Grammys, Nielsen Media Research reported in early figures on Thursday.
You could make a lot of easy points here: the Grammys are nothing more than farcical navel-gazery; Ryan Seacrest continues to stretch his inexplicable fifteen minutes with no end in sight; on and on.
I prefer to make the observation that in the world we live in, it is increasingly possible for the "little" guys—in this case a handful of amateur singers and an army of millions of armchair record execs eager to give thumbs up or down to said singers—to outshine the establishment. Not only is the culture shifting in practical ways in order to make this possible, but it is apparently also shifting in sentimental ways, creating a groundswell of public support for the new world.
And in a weird intersection of the two worlds, Kelly Clarkson took home the Grammys for best female pop vocal performance and best pop vocal album. She made no mention of Idol in her acceptance speeches.