Credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBC © NBC Universal, Inc.

Do you hear that? It’s the sound of Carrie Underwood yodeling all the way to the bank. The Sound of Music Live may have gotten a Von Trapp family-sized load of criticism during its December 5 debut, but that didn’t keep the special from dominating the ratings.

The three-hour live television event brought in more than 18.5 million viewers, making it the biggest hit of the night. A close second was The Big Bang Theory on competing channel CBS with 15.26 million viewers. Both shows ranked a 4.6 rating for the 18 to 49 demographic, a huge number particularly when compared to the rest of the evening’s lineup (for the 8 p.m. timeslot, Fox’s The X Factor had a 1.3 rating while ABC’s Once Upon a Time in Wonderland had a 1.0).

To drive home just how many people tuned in to see the American Idol winner fill Julie Andrews’s lederhosen, The Sound of Music Live made for NBC’s best Thursday in more than four years. The last time the channel saw numbers this high was for the ER finale way back on April 2, 2009. That even includes the channel’s regular sports coverage.

So what gives? With Twitter a seemingly endless stream of mocking messages about the special, how did it do so well? We’ve got a theory: People love to hate-watch and they love to share their feelings about whatever it is they’re hate-watching. Think this summer’s undersea sensation, Sharknado. By all accounts a textbook example of a horrible B movie, the SyFy sensation set the internet afire and gobbled up all kinds of ratings records.

The only thing we think would do better at this point? Sharknado the Musical Live starring Ms. Underwood.

Source: TV by the Numbers

The hills are alive with other reactions to The Sound of Music. Here’s a brief rundown of the kind of stir the musical made made in the pop culture pool:

Carrie Underwood’s Recommendation to Sound of Music Haters: Find Jesus
The musical's star says don't hate, just pray!

Miranda Lambert Defends Carrie Underwood’s Sound of Music Performance
Country female superstars have to stick together.

The Sound of Music Live: Von Trapp Family Wanted Anne Hathaway Instead of Carrie Underwood 
One musical a decade is probably enough for Anne, don't you think?

Who Is Audra McDonald? 5 Things To Know About the Sound Of Music Live! Breakout Star
It wasn't all about Carrie Underwood, you know.

DiGiorno Live Tweets The Sound of Music Live! — And It's Awesome 
Would you like a side of sass with that?

Sound of Music Live: Funniest Celebrity Reactions on Twitter
Everybody gets in on the family fun.

In Defense of Carrie Underwood: Why She Won't Ruin The Sound of Music
And she didn't! 

Carrie Underwood on Her Role in The Sound of Music: "I Know I'm Not Julie"
It's okay, Carrie. Julie Andrews never got to be on American Idol.

True Blood’s Stephen Moyer to Star in NBC’s Sound of Music Opposite Carrie Underwood!
What did you think of Stephen's performance? Did it — wait for the vampire joke — suck?

Carrie Underwood Will Star in NBC’s Sound of Music as Maria von Trapp
Back when it all began...


Elisabeth Kramer is an Assistant Editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident Downton Abbey expert. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!