I tried watching. I really, really tried. And yes, there were a few impressive (cf. Janelle Monae) performances. Overall, though, it was dull and ticked the same old boxes.
First, the good points.
- In terms of gender equity, things were much, much better. In fact, women dominated all the major categories this year. More nominees were included in each category which broadened inclusiveness.
- Emerging stars were well-represented.
- It was nice to see a number of female performers playing electric guitars.
- Canadians took home a bunch of trophies. Nice.
- Er, that’s it.
Now let’s call out the clunkers.
- The Grammys are woefully out of step for 2019. The show is programmed mostly for young music fans, people who don’t watch network TV anymore. Meanwhile, the actual viewing audience is substantially older, which explains the tributes to Dolly Parton and Diana Ross. See the disconnect?
- Diana Ross fans will fight me on this, but see her say “Happy birthday to me” was a little much. (BTW, her 75th birthday isn’t until March 26.)
- Rock music was marginalized. Again.
- What was the point of the collaboration between the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Post Malone?
- Cardi B lip-synced, but that’s no longer unusual. She wanted to put on a spectacle instead. Still, there’s something inside me that hates that whole concept of faking it for the sake of something visual.
- The Grammys were dumb to pick a fight with Ariana Grande. As one of the hottest pop stars in the world–and one who just released a much-anticipated album this last Friday–the Grammys needed her more than she needed them. Yet Ken Ehrlich, the producer of the Grammys, got into some kind of weird feud with her (she wanted to perform her current hit “7 Rings” while the producers wanted something else) resulting in refusing to appear. Again, dumb.
- Meanwhile, Ariana couldn’t just sit it out quietly. She’s had to backtrack on at least one tweet already.
- Childish Gambino was a no-show despite winning Record of the Year for “This is America.” This was the first time that a rap song to win in this category ever–and he wasn’t there to pick it up.
- Other no-shows for “music’s biggest night”: Rihanna, Kanye, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce, Jay-Z, The Weeknd. In other words, there was a tremendous lack of star power.
- Why was Jennifer Lopez picked to do a Motown tribute? Just askin’.
- The Grammys screwed up the “in memoriam” section again. There was no mention of gunned-down rapper XXXTentacion, Pantera’s Vinnie Paul, the Buzzcocks’ Pete Shelley, Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit, and Neil Young’s ex-wife, Pegi. Mark E. Smith of The Fall, who was omitted last year, was included.
- Cutting off Drake’s acceptance speech was not a good look for The Grammys. His appearance was a total surprise, something that should have been welcomed by producers. But when he went into a rather eloquent speech about the power of music (and, er, how people shouldn’t pay attention to awards shows) the show went to a commercial. Producers say they thought he was finished.
The Grammys have long needed to be rebooted and re-imagined. Think it’ll happen in time for next year? Don’t hold your breath.
And one more thing:
Did you catch Apple’s music-themed memojis ads?
And finally, here’s me discussing everything on Global News 640.