Grammys 2019: Has it lost its credibility?

In the past, the Grammys has been slammed for its lack of diversity so it was interesting this year to see how the awards would pan out.

I think it’s fair to argue that many years ago the award itself was actually worth a lot more than what it is now. I mean if Meghan Trainor can win a Grammy for a song which shames women of particular body sizes, then surely anyone can.

Despite a few hiccups throughout — strange performance collaborations and misgendering on the red carpet — there were a lot of solid moments throughout the show. From the sultry St Vincent and Dua Lipa performance to the nostalgic Dolly Parton tribute, this year’s show was actually one of the more watchable ones in recent memory.

Dua Lipa and St. Vincent perform at THE 61ST ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS. Credit: Rolling Stone

It has been questioned by some whether the Grammys are even a credible foundation, with arguments that industry heads are actually paying for awards. It doesn’t seem too far fetched, after all it’s not like the Grammys really celebrate a huge diversity in music…  Basically, if you can score a massive top 10 debut under a huge label and release a song which becomes a two-month fad — you’ve pretty much got a nomination in the bag. The awards themselves have become less important, what people care more about now are performances, controversy and the red carpet.

Nevertheless, the awards this year were clearly fairer in comparison to last. Country-artist Kacey Musgrave stole the show, bagging herself four Grammys for her third studio album ‘Golden Hour’ whilst Cardi B became the first solo female to win best rap album.

In 2018 the president of the Grammys, Neil Portnow, told female artists they simply needed to ‘step up’ if they wanted to win awards, destroying any reliability the show had left. I mean if the president of the Grammys openly makes comments like this — thinking what he says is completely fair and accurate — could you imagine what the people on the board actually think? However, they partly redeemed themselves this year, whether this be genuine or just as a result of previous backlash, with women dominating most major categories. Female artists have always been ahead of the game within the industry and held to a higher standard against their male peers, so it’s nice to see this talent get the recognition it deserves.

The Red Carpet

This year’s red carpet was full of moments which sparked a lot of conversation, and not all for the right reasons. Each year there’s guaranteed to be theatrical outfits worn to the show because at the end of the day, everybody is fighting to be the topic of conversation. Some of the highlights include Katy Perry’s Balmain dress, and Post Malone’s star-studded suit.

Katy Perry and Post Malone
Credit: Mashable

Notable moments from the red carpet usually arise from the interviews and this year it was Lady Gaga’s turn to get people talking. Her interview with Ryan Seacrest turned slightly awkward after she called out the E! presenter’s interview skills. After interrupting her several times, he then asked her a question which was in fact not a question at all: “And next it’s the Oscars with a live performance with Bradley at the Oscars…” he said, before passing Gaga the microphone. Whilst looking completely confused, she responded with “You’re like, answer my question but I’m not asking one.”

Seacrest wasn’t the only interviewer on the red carpet with poor professionalism. Grammy nominee SOPHIE, a trans woman, was misgendered on the red carpet at the annual music awards. The 32-year-old musician from Glasgow was nominated for the Best Dance/Electronic Album for her debut LP ‘Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides,’ and is the first trans person to be nominated at the Grammys. Speaking with celebrity interviewer Dana Blair, she discussed ‘falling into the trap’ of disclosing information to interviewers about upcoming releases and collaborations with big names in the industry in which details have to be kept under wraps. Blair then replied with “He’s like, not doing it again” to which SOPHIE merely ignored the comment and continued the interview.

You would think that interviewers on the red carpet — being somewhere as so-called professional as the Grammys — would have some idea or at least know the gender of the person they are talking too, right? Clearly not, perhaps next year the Grammys will up the standard of their interviewers.

The Award Show

These award shows never go quite to plan. This year included artists themselves doubting the credibility and importance of the Grammys, and even throwing shade at the Recording Academy… whilst accepting their award from the Recording Academy. Here’s a list of some of the biggest talking points from the night:

Drake cut off mid-speech

Drake hasn’t attended the Grammys since 2013 and has been open about his dislike for award shows. During his acceptance speech for Best Rap song, he took the opportunity to throw some shade at the Recording Academy saying that music is “an opinion-based sport, not a factual sport.” He continued with: “You’ve already won if you have people who are singing your songs word for word, if you’re a hero in your hometown.” But as he continued, his mic was switched off and the show went to commercials.

Dua Lipa calling out Grammy president Neil Portnow

Dua Lipa used her victory speech to comment on Neil Portnow’s infamous 2018 comment that women needed to “step up” in order to win Grammys.

“I guess where I want to begin is by saying how honoured I am to be nominated among so many incredible female artists,” she said. “I guess this year’s we’ve really stepped up.”

Gaga’s over-the-top performance of Shallow

The performance of the standout track from the critically acclaimed A Star Is Born confused a lot of viewers with its unexpectedly rocky sound and crazy dance moves, but fans were happy nonetheless she had provided excellent meme material.

In other words, yes the 2019 Grammys were a lot more successful than previous years. Do they really differ from other award shows like the MTV VMAs? No, not really. Despite a few extra obscure award categories, the guest list and award winners have become almost identical in recent years. The show has shifted from awarding real talent and hard work, to giving awards to people who can effectively sell the most records or get the most radio play. As disappointing as that is, it’s true. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the case across the board and this is evident with country-artist Kacey Musgraves winning four awards in one night. But overall? This seems to be a fair argument.

By Nick Lowe

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