LOS ANGELES, Feb 11 (Reuters) - The U.S. television audience for Sunday's Grammy Awards show on CBS rose slightly, to 19.9 million viewers, Nielsen ratings data showed on Monday.
That was just ahead of the 19.8 million television viewers who tuned in last year for the highest honors in the U.S. music industry.
Sunday's 3-1/2-hour show, hosted by R&B singer Alicia Keys, saw country singer Kacey Musgraves take home the album of the year Grammy for "Golden Hour," as well as a breakthrough for rap music and a strong showing by women.
Many millions more watched part of the show, CBS said, or interacted on social media. Citing social media analytics platform Netbase, CBS said the show was the most social TV event in the past two years, with more social impressions on the day of the event than the Super Bowl last week.
Despite the absence of many stars, including rapper Childish Gambino whose searing "This is America" won both record and song of the year, most reviewers found the Grammys telecast an improvement on previous years.
Entertainment Weekly called it a "high energy show" while Slate.com said much of the show was "more enjoyable, if often oddball, and most of the award picks less infuriating than usual."
Some of the most-talked-about moments came from Lady Gaga, who took home two Grammys, and a Motown medley performed by Jennifer Lopez.
Hollywood trade publication Variety said Gaga's glam rock version of her "A Star is Born" ballad "Shallow" was "one of the evening's few duds." But Entertainment Weekly liked what it called her "ravenous new version" of the song.
Many viewers on social media attacked the choice of Lopez, who has Puerto Rican heritage, as the singer of Motown hits originally made famous by African-American artists in the 1960s and 1970s. (Reporting by Jill Serjeant and Lisa Richwine; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler)