LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - Britney Spears' disastrous performance at MTV's Video Music Awards helped the show reverse a long slide in the ratings, according to data issued by the television network on Tuesday.
More than 7 million people tuned in for Sunday's two-hour broadcast, which was held in Las Vegas for the first time in the show's 24-year history.
That represented a sharp improvement from the 5.8 million viewers for the 2006 edition, held in New York. But it was still down from the results for 2005 (8 million) and 2004 (10.3 million). In both those years, the ceremony was held in Miami.
Spears, the show's most anticipated performer, drew widespread ridicule when she opened the ceremony by half-heartedly lip-synching to her new single, "Gimme More."
The 25-year-old singer, who is preparing to release her first album in four years on November 13, lumbered around the stage in poorly fitting bra and panties.
"She stole the show whether you liked it or not," said "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell. He told the TV gossip show "Extra" that Spears has "had more attention in the last 48 hours than any artist on the planet."
Hip-hop star Kanye West, who angrily went home empty-handed after receiving five nominations, said Spears unwittingly "allowed (MTV) to exploit her for the ratings."
Even real estate mogul Donald Trump jumped in, describing Spears' performance as "disgraceful."
Spears herself has not commented on the brouhaha.
MTV is a unit of Viacom Inc.