Billboard Music Awards Win the Night in Ratings

U2, Justin Bieber and strike a pose backstage.

Sunday night's Billboard Music Awards, which featured two performances from Britney Spears, improved from its most-recent telecast in 2006 on Fox and drew its biggest audience since 2003.

2011 Billboard Music Awards Main

The three-hour telecast on ABC averaged 7.9 million total viewers from 8-11 p.m., up 28 percent from the 2006 telecast. The show dominated the ratings across the board in the key demographics, drawing a 2.9 rating among adults 18-49, which translates to more than 3.8 million viewers in that age group.

Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Eminem Top

2011 Billboard Music Awards

Other demos in which the awards show was No. 1 was adults 25-54, women 18-34 and women 18-49.

The audience tuning in to the Billboard Music Awards rose in the 9-9:30 p.m. slot to more than 9.4 million viewers. It was also the most-watched show on television between 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Most importantly, the awards show dominated the season finale of NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" by 7 percent in the key 18-49 demo and by 76 percent in adults 18-34.

Photo: Billboard Music Awards Highlights

The competition at NBC between 9 and 11, the season finale of "Celebrity Apprentice," dropped significantly in the ratings when compared to last year's finale.

Justin Bieber, a presenter at the show, was one of the big winners Sunday, taking home six official awards, including Digital Artist of the Year and Top New Artist, as well as the Fan Favorite Award. Eminem also dominated the night, taking home Top Artist, Top Male Artist and Top Rap Artist, among others.

Justin Bieber Wins Fan Favorite Award


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