Adele attracted 10.3 million viewers to a Sunday-night special in which she sang new music, helped with a marriage proposal and dished with Oprah Winfrey about her divorce and workout routine, with her ratings beating out an earlier Taylor Swift performance on Saturday Night Live.
The Nielsen company said the CBS show had nearly a bigger audience than April's Oscars ceremony and, when delayed viewers are eventually figured in, is likely to exceed it.
Two of the world's most popular musicians both had weekend television spots in which they hawked their new material.
Swift's 10-minute performance of her song All of Me on Saturday Night Live drew in 5.8 million viewers, and the clip has already been viewed more than 2.5 million times on YouTube.
The Academy Awards reached 10.4 million viewers on the night it was televised in April, the audience increasing to 10.7 million as more people saw the recorded version over the following seven days.
Live events generally do poorly in delayed viewing, leading to CBS's confidence that Adele's viewership will eventually surpass that of the Oscars. CBS is likely to rerun the musician's special, too.
Meanwhile, a recent interview on Chris Hayes's show on MSNBC revealed that Swift's music was essentially banned from the White House during the Donald Trump administration.
Olivia Troye, the homeland security, counter-terrorism and coronavirus adviser to former vice president Mike Pence played Swift's music in her office after a contentious meeting and was asked by a colleague who knocked on her door: “Are you trying to get fired?”
Ms Troye said that her colleague added: “I don't think she's a fan of Trump's and so, if somebody hears that, you really should watch your back.”