Watching the Grammys tonight? Time to bone up on a few facts

The Grammys–the awards program that attracts more groans and complaints than any other–starts tonight at 7:30 ET and will inevitably disappoint almost everyone who watches. In short, the whole thing is a joke that’s now being going on for 60 years.

Still, with little else on tonight, we’re probably going to watch, right? If that’s the case, we might as well learn a few things ahead of time.

1. Seat Fillers

The last thing the director of a live awards show wants to see is empty seats, so there’s an army of volunteers who move into the stars’ seats when they need to head to the bathroom or whatever. What’s that gig like? Glad you asked.

2. Terrorism?

The Grammys are being held at Madison Square Garden, the first time the event has been held away from Los Angeles in, like, forever. And this being New York, there are always fears of some kind of terrorist attack, which is why everyone has been briefed on the subject.

3. It’s probably going to be a somber and political affair

In comparison to the Grammys, the Junos are a fun drunken riot. But given the political and social climate in the US, this year’s telecast will take a serious tone. Fun. Jay-Z has already started.

4. It’s not about who wins the awards. It’s about the performances.

Does winning a Grammy Award do anything material for an artist’s career? Nope. Unlike the Academy Awards where a win can boost a film at the box office and an actor’s career, winning a Grammy means exactly zero except to the person who wins. However, a performance slot on the Grammy can have a massive effect on sales, concert ticket sales and an artist’s overall image.

Think back to Ricky Martin’s explosive version of “Living La Vida Loca” or the Imagine Dragons/Kendrick Lamar collaboration on “Radioactive” or any of Pink’s Cirque du Soleil performances. Those mattered.

5. The Grammys have a track record of suckage when it comes to honouring the wrong people.

Christopher Cross over Pink Floyd? Jethro Tull for Best Hard Rock/Metal performance? And those are just two travesties from past years. And can you believe that none of these legends have ever won a Grammy?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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