By Priya Persaud and Christina Wilson
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many television and awards shows have either been postponed, canceled, or done virtually. However, the Grammy Awards are still on. Artists from all around the world such as Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Dua Lipa and BTS are expected to make an appearance, in person or virtually, as nominees for an award.
“On January 31, 2021, the 63rd Grammy Awards will be happening, rain or shine, COVID-19 vaccine or not,” said the Recording Academy of Grammy Awards editor Ana Monroy Yglesias.
This year, the Grammy Awards are taking precautionary measures, since the safety of the artists and audience is the greatest priority. As of right now, there are three plans being decided upon: full audience, limited audience, and no audience. There are different circumstances for all three plans, but live performances without an audience seems to be taking a lead.
This brings up another concern: how can fans watch? The show will be live on CBS or CBS All Access with the Grammy premiere ceremony also streaming live online. Regardless of the pandemic, music fans are still able to see their favorite artists perform, even if it is through a screen.
“I’m definitely excited about the performances and awards that are given to the many different music artists and bands,” said sophomore Vanessa Wong.
While the most exciting part of the awards night would be to see who won, the majority of anticipation lies during the nomination ceremony, or in this case, the nomination livestream. The process selects possible nominees to compete for the Grammy Award in their respective categories. The rigor and excitement of this exclusive selection process captivates both the artists and fans of the music industry.
“The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans, and the industry transparency...”
After the nominations were finalized by the Nomination Review Committee, the announcement ceremony took place. For this year’s Grammy Awards, all of the nominees were announced via an hour-long livestream on November 24, 2020. Notable figures, such as Grammy-winning singer Dua Lipa and Nigerian Afropop singer Yemi Alade, made appearances during the livestream.
In the General Field of categories, records from Beyoncé, DaBaby, Doja Cat, Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Post Malone, and Megan Thee Stallion flooded the category for Record of the Year. For Album of the Year, Jhené Aiko, Black Pumas, Coldplay, and Taylor Swift have each secured a nomination, while names such as Post Malone and Dua Lipa make a return to vie for the award. This year, the Grammy Awards have nominated a vast array of artists, ranging from well-established groups such as BTS to lesser known groups such as the Black Pumas.
This Grammy nomination in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category for BTS has marked the first Grammy nomination ever received by a South Korean boy band, signaling waves of new, positive change to the diversity of the music industry. Their hit single “Dynamite” has been introduced to the world in spite of the limitations brought upon by the pandemic, and has opened the doorway to diverse music tastes.
“I’m most excited about the songs that will win the Grammys since there have been new voices that have emerged this past year due to the whole quarantine. While there would definitely be a quieter audience, I am just highly anticipating the new waves of diversity,” said sophomore Luke Jacob.
However, despite the amount of positive recognition that the Grammy Awards have received this year, there have been some popular outspoken voices that hope to bring awareness to the faults. The Weeknd, a famous contemporary singer and three-time Grammy winner, released his successful album “After Hours” earlier this year. Despite the recognition and records broken with his songs on the album, such as “Blinding Lights,” The Weeknd did not receive any Grammy nominations. This sparked outrage by The Weeknd and his fans.
Artwork by Sabeena Ramdarie, @jammin_with_jelly
Singers put down their microphones for the night to accept these prestigious music awards.
“The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans, and the industry transparency,” said The Weeknd in a tweet on November 24, the day of the Grammy nominations' release.
His tweet has amassed an astounding 1.1 million likes since, thus raising the concern that there could be a legitimate problem with the nominations process. “Blinding Lights” spent forty weeks on the top 10 - a record-breaking amount of time - on the Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart, yet no recognition was even acknowledged.
After the disappointing news, speculation began to circulate the internet about the true motives, if any, that was behind The Weeknd not receiving any Grammy nominations. It is known that The Weeknd will be performing at the Pepsi Super Bowl LV halftime show in 2021, so fans began to believe that this was the reason behind the lack of recognition by the awards show. While the true reasons may continue to be unknown, it is evident that the Grammy Awards might not be all representative of the current music industry.
Regardless of how this award ceremony will occur, the impact these awards have on the future of the music industry is profound. BTS will continue to spread diversity throughout the music realm, while Beyoncé and many others will continue to gain recognition, promoting their individually positive and unique messages. Concern about the future lack of representation for artists like The Weeknd will continue to be examined, and the results could be impactful on the future of the Grammy Awards. However, one thing remains: January 31, 2021 will be a memorable day for everyone in the music community.