Gary Susman
February 10, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

Proving again that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, Sunday’s Grammy show drew the awards gala’s biggest audience in three years. Even though the marathon-length broadcast was cleansed of any of the controversy and angst that marked the weeklong handwringing over Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake that preceded the show, CBS still saw an average of 26.4 million viewers tune in, according to Nielsen. That’s the show’s highest turnout since 2001, when the reunited Steely Dan’s ”Two Against Nature” upset Eminem’s controversial ”The Marshall Mathers LP” for Album of the Year honors. This year’s telecast, of course, saw plenty of airtime for such enormously popular nominees as Beyoncé and OutKast. The apparent lesson: Viewers want to see less of Janet Jackson’s nipple and more of Andre 3000’s.

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