One Last VMAs Shocker: Ratings Improved Over 2006

While Rolling Stone live blogger Rob Sheffield, our commenters, and pretty much everyone who took in Britney Spears' so-called comeback performance decried Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards as a disjointed failure, the numbers tell a different tale: More than 7 million viewers tuned in to the ceremony, 23 percent more than last year. Granted, the 2006 VMAs set a low bar in terms of ratings, falling to 5.77 million (which was down from 8 million the year prior). So what saved the day for MTV this time? Britney curiosity? The fact that the network swore they wouldn't replay the show again and again and again like usual? The move to Vegas and suite parties? Kanye West, for one, votes Britney: On a satellite radio show today, he ranted, "Man, they were just trying to get ratings, and they knew she wasn't ready and they exploited her."