MTV Video Music Awards viewership down 18% from last year

MTV Video Music Awards viewership down 18% from last year
Beyonce performs at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards. (Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images)

Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards at the Forum in Inglewood averaged 8.3 million viewers, down 18% from last year's buzz-worthy gala, according to Nielsen.

Last year's VMAs, which featured a now infamous performance by Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke, scored 10.1 million viewers. The record for the music kudos-fest stands as 12.4 million viewers for 2011. 

Sunday's awards show featured an acclaimed 16-minute performance by Beyonce, who tore through a medley of songs from her latest album before being joined onstage by husband Jay Z and child Blue Ivy.

Other acts included Taylor Swift in full pop mode with her new single "Shake It Off" and Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj and Jessie J kicking the evening off with renditions of "Break Free," "Anaconda" and "Bang Bang."

Beyonce ruled Sunday's telecast, winning three trophies in addition to the "Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award" presented to her by her family.

Miley Cyrus, Drake, Ed Sheeran, Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, Lorde and 5 Seconds of Summer also won honors.

Unsurprisingly, the event drew a lot of activity on social media. According to Nielsen, the telecast generated more than 12.6 million tweets.

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder