The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards take place tonight in California and will be aired on CBS. They start at 5:00 PM PST and should end sometime around April.
The Grammys are long. You know how people bitch about how the Oscars are long? AMPAS ain’t got nothing on The Recording Academy, baby! They’re so long. Too long.
And I’m gonna watch it… well, most of it. Until I fall asleep.
Here’s what you need to know about music’s biggest night.
We got controversy! (part 1)
There are a couple of reasons why these Grammys have the potential to be a giant fucking mess. And it all starts at the top.
Let’s go back to 2018, because this is where a lot of this nonsense started. The Grammys two years ago fell under a pile of controversy for being way too male-centric. There was only one female performer and only one female winner of a televised award AND they were both the same person (Alessia Cara).
When issues like these happen, people look towards the brass, who in this case was Recording Academy president Neil Portnow. Did Neil address the issue with the kind of grace and panache you would expect from someone in one of music’s most powerful positions?
He did not.
Portnow shit the bed with one of the most insane fucking comments I’ve seen someone make knowing a microphone was turned on. Claiming that fixing the problem “had to begin with women” and also saying that women needed to “step up”, Neil really shat the bed by basically blaming women for not being nominated enough. (Of Taylor Swift, whose Reputation did not get nominated for a whole lot, Portnow said she was in an “off cycle”, which I’m sure makes Fancy Boy Katie Keller want to murder him.)
This was followed by pretty much every other member of the Recording Academy distancing themselves from Portnow in a hurry.
Oh, and in June of 2018, it came out that Portnow took money from a charity he created (MusiCares) to give to Madison Square Garden when the cost of the Grammys skyrocketed above budget.
Portnow somehow stayed in the position until August, when allegations came to light about sexual assault claims at Carnegie Hall involving a recording artist. Replacing him would be music executive Deborah Dugan, who the Recording Academy needed to have a calm tenure filled without controversy.
Dugan would be fired ten days ago for bullying and harassing her assistant.
Best new (old) artist
Let’s take a moment and step away from the controversies to talk about the dumbest categories that the Grammys have: Best New Artist. Nominated this year are: Black Pumas, Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, Lizzo, Maggie Rogers, Rosalia, Tank & The Bangas, & Yola.
Are any of these artists “new”? No. Not really… maybe Lil Nas X.
There’s got to be a better name for this category… “Best Recently Discovered by the old white assholes who nominate people” or whatever. But this category is dumb and only televised because there are big names here and hopefully one of them wins.
Speaking of big names…
We got controversy! (part 2)
So, with all of the nonsense swirling around the Grammys, they need a great show tonight. They need to give people a reason to tune in. They need someone who everyone loves and who loves music.
They need… Taylor Swift.
Swift is always a delight at these types of shows, and when she is in attendance, a camera always seems to be placed on her. And why shouldn’t it be? She’s one of the biggest stars in the world, and she appears to actually enjoy these things. She cheers and sings and dances all in her seat. She’s like the anti-Joaquin Phoenix.
And she’s not coming.
There had been rumors of a Swift appearance AND performance, which surprised me because Lover, her very good album, and the songs from it, only received a smattering of nominations. But it has come out now that Swift will not be shaking it off… er, on… umm, well, shaking during the show. Or maybe she will at home. Is it because she felt snubbed or is this a response to everything which has happened with The Recording Academy?
No one is saying. All we know is that tonight will be less fun.
So, what can we expect?
If the Grammys is going down this year, you cannot say it’s not going down swinging. That’s one of the reasons it’s so long: the show tries to entertain fucking EVERYONE.
For those people enjoying modern music, there’s Camilla Cabello, Billie Eilish, Lizzo, H.E.R., The Jonas Brothers, Lil Nas X, and more. For those people’s parents, there’s Bonnie Raitt and Aerosmith.
There will be massive tributes to Prince, John Prine, and Nipsey Hussle. Alicia Keys will undoubtedly play many things on many pianos. The Grammys will claim there are lots of “can’t miss moments”.
I assure you, you can probably miss most of them.
We got controversy! (part 3)
One the of big potential winners tonight could be Lizzo. She has the most nominations of any artist and has been a smash success all year. Michael Grace on this website called “Truth Hurts” the song of the summer, and he’s not wrong. That song is also up for both Record Of The Year & Song Of The Year and is part of Cuz I Love You (Deluxe Edition), which is also up for Album Of The Year.
And that’s kind of crap.
“Truth Hurts”, while undoubtedly a full-fledged banger, was released in 2017 and was added to Cuz I Love You because Atlantic Records felt like the album needed more hits so it threw on past singles from Lizzo (this song and “Good As Hell”),
The whole thing feels like a cheat, and it’s something you’re going to see more and more of in the streaming age, where no album ever has to be truly finished.
You can give Lizzo Best New Artist, though she’s not new. You can give her Album Of The Year. But let “Truth Hurts” stay a 2017 single. We just took a DNA test; turns out it’s 100% an old song.
The Grammys don’t give out a lot of awards out during the ceremony, so predicting anything besides the length of the broadcast (TAKE THE OVER) seems pointless. But, for the big three, I like Lizzo for Best Album, and “Bad Guy” for both Best Record and Best Song.
It feels like it will be a wonderful year for women recording artists. Someone should let Neil Portnoy know that they stepped up.