By James Hibberd
November 19, 2012 at 05:18 PM EST

Has Bieber Fever broken?

Justin Bieber swept the top categories at the 40th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday night, winning three of the night’s biggest categories. But ratings were down sharply from last year.

The AMAs telecast delivered 9.5 million viewers and a 3.4 rating on ABC, falling 21 percent from 2011 to an all-time low.

In a way, this performance goes against the ratings trend. In recent years, broadcast scripted shows have been on a downward slope thanks to cable and DVRs, but awards programs have been seemingly immune. The working theory is that the more urgency you can create around a telecast, the better the numbers. So sporting events, competition reality shows and award shows have often out-performed other types of programming because viewers want to enjoy the immediacy of the event and not get spoiled by headlines revealing the outcome the next day. Obviously, last night, not so much.

ABC points out the telecast was up against tough competition from NBC’s Sunday Night Football and some NFL overrun on CBS, though sports and music award show audiences don’t typically have a ton of overlap.

Chart (Note: NBC ratings are very preliminary due to live sports coverage; CBS ratings are also temporary since NFL overrun delayed the network’s entertainment lineup):

FOX 7:00P NFL/ BOB’S-11/18 7P #20 1.3 3,416
7:30P CLEVELAND #17t 1.6 3,278
8:00P SIMPSONS #8t 2.5 5,185
8:30P BOBS BURGR #15 1.8 3,984
9:00P FAMILY GUY #8t 2.5 5,065
9:30P AMERCN DAD #13 2.0 4,161
ABC 7-8P AMR-VIDEOS #16 1.7 7,468
8-11P AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS S #5 3.4 9,471
CBS 7:00P NFL OVERRUN #1 6.1 19,543
7:30P NFL/60 MINUTES #3 4.9 17,298
8:00P 60 MINUTES #6 3.2 14,145
8:30P 60 MIN/AMAZG #8t 2.5 11,450
9:00P AMAZING RACE #11 2.2 9,482
9:30P AMZG  /GOOD WIFE #12 2.1 9,793
10:00P GOOD WIFE #17t 1.6 9,645
10:30P GOOD WIFE/MENTALIST #17t 1.6 9,383
NBC 7:00P FTB #14 1.9 6,317
7:30P FTBL #7 2.7 8,016
8:00P FTBL #4 4.5 12,751
830-11P SNF: RAVEN&STLRS #2 6.0 15,801