Justin Bieber performing on the 2012 Billboard Music Awards. (Getty Images/courtesy of ABC)

Sunday night's Billboard Music Awards won the night for ABC among adults 18 to 49, according to fast affiliate numbers from Nielsen Media Research. The three-hour telecast was watched by 7.4 million total viewers, with a 2.7 share rating in the 18-to-49 demo, enough to handily beat NBC's finale of "The Celebrity Apprentice" (5.6 million viewers, 1.6 share of 18-to-49-year-olds.)

The Billboard Music Awards were down slightly from 2011, the first telecast since 2006, which averaged 7.9 million total viewers and drew a 2.9 share among 18-to-49-year-olds.

Read All Our 2012 Billboard Music Awards Coverage Here

This year's awards drew a high volume of social media chatter, according to data provided by Simply Measured. The most-tweeted moment arrived during Chris Brown's five minute performance of current single "Turn Up The Music," generating 27,713 tweets containing the official hashtag #BBMA. Justin Bieber claimed the second and third most-talked about moments, for his "Social Artist of the Year" award win and performance of "Boyfriend."

Justin Bieber, Usher, Chris Brown Generate Most Social Activity During Billboard Music Awards

Ladies led the conversation, with 68% of social activity coming from females and 32% from males, according to Bluefin Labs. New York led all markets with 13% of the tweets, according to Simply Measured, followed by Atlanta, Los Angeles and Chicago, which each had 6%.

Contributing: Glenn Peoples