A not so political Grammy Awards



2019 Grammy nominees

Maxwell Deters '19, Staff Writer

The Grammy broadcast is supposed to be a show about celebrating talent, but the Recording Academy’s idea of talent doesn’t frequently line up with the public’s opinion. The broadcast always seems to be making mistakes and over correcting them, so it always feels like the show’s already a disaster even before it airs.

This year, many of the biggest stars skipped the show. Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, and Rihanna were all no-shows.

On the other hand, Drake broke his Grammy boycott to criticize the show during an acceptance speech. Before the Toronto rapper could finish his empowering rant, the network cut abruptly to commercials.

Now let’s get into the broadcast itself.
Alicia Keys hosted, exuding extreme comfort and charm throughout the night. Some viewers complained that she lacked the personality to carry a nearly four hour prime-time broadcast, but her offbeat bits and constant communication with the audience kept the night in good fun.

Keys’ tributes to her friends and influences allowed the Recording Academy to look like it’s getting with the times. Especially because a year ago Grammy president Neil Portnow reacted to accusations that the show centers around male performers by telling women to “step up”.

Despite all the controversy there were many performances worth noting. Kacey Musgraves, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, and others joined Dolly Parton for a tribute that ended in a cover of Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush.”
Jennifer Lopez gave us a 60th anniversary Motown tribute that received a large amount of backlash, because many people thought she wasn’t the right performer for that specific tribute.

Lady Gaga played both Ally and Jackson in an offbeat, melodramatic rendition of “Shallow.” While Post Malone preformed “Rock Star”, without 21 Savage. Who at the time was being held in an I.C.E. detention center in Georgia.
Travis Scott put on a wicked melody performance of “Stop Trying to be God” along with “No Bystanders”.

There were many other artists who took the stage that night, such as Camellia Cabello, Shawn Mendes, and Janelle Monae.

A quick wrap up of the stale awards part of the show. Kacey Musgraves’s Golden Hour took top honors and edged out most other nominees with a near sweep of the country categories.
Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy shockingly took home the first Best Rap Album Grammy awarded to a woman. Record of the year and the Best Music Video awards went to Childish Gambino for his 2018 hit, “This is America”. Finally, Drake took home best Rap Song for “God’s Plan” and Dua Lipa took home the coveted Best New Artist.

Normally the vibe on the morning after the Grammys is usually frustration about the many awards that went to the wrong artist, but this year, the only big miss is Mac Miller’s loss for Swimming.

All in all the Grammys needs new blood. Ehrlich has been producing the show since 1980, longer than most of the featured talent has been alive. Portnow has been president of the Academy since 2002, a time when the industry had different concerns and false confidence in the idea that the public will always pay top dollar for their product.
However, Portnow has announced that he’s moving on from the Broadcast, presenting an opportunity for the Grammys and the Recording Academy to renew its relationships and reclaim a measure of prestige.

The right moves for the Grammys are fairly obvious. The question is always whether they take them.

As viewers, all we can do is hope for a more diverse and hard hitting show in the future.