The 61st Grammy Awards have been decided, and I have to say that I was surprised by some of the results. Then again, I was also pleasantly relieved by some of the others. But before we get to the awards, a quick word regarding the controversies that surrounded the Grammy’s last year, and how they affected this year’s ceremony.
The 2018 Grammy Awards largely excluded women from telecast’s winners. Along with that, hip hop artists were also snubbed in the main categories. These past failures seem to have informed some of the decision-making for this year’s Grammy’s. More women performers were featured in the telecast than any other year. And with the success of Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” – winning both record and song of the year – this seems like a step in the right direction for the Grammy’s.
Even while these old problems were addressed, new ones soon rose up to take their place.
Before we get to the new problems that plagued this year’s Grammy’s, it’s worth it to note that the nominations were the most diverse we’ve ever seen. Women took a major step up in receiving recognition, holding five out of the eight nominees for album of the year. This no doubt stems from the work done to diversify the ranks of the Recording Academy voters. Still, the steps taken to give artists an equal platform and voice were laughable when it came to the actual telecast.
The aired Grammy’s run time was approximately 3 hours and 40 minutes. Think about that for a minute. That’s longer than any of the Lord of the Rings movies. Longer than you had to sit in the theater for Infinity War. Given that much time, you’d think that surely there would be enough space for the winners to give their full speeches. Come to think of it, given that much time, you’d almost expect it to be full of nothing but long speeches. Think again.
Unfortunately, the problem with this year’s Grammy’s was that it was all flash and little substance. The producers seemed fine with allowing female artists to take the stage with their singing and dancing. But when it came down to actually letting any of their artists speak, they were consistently cut off. This happened again and again throughout the night, with the producers sometimes cutting to commercial mid-speech.
The message seems pretty clear here. Artists have a voice when it comes to their music, but they’re not allowed a platform to address the world, even when they’re being recognized for an award.
Few of the musical moments during the show were inspired, and throughout the entire ceremony, only nine awards were handed out. That fact alone is unbelievable to me. This was supposed to be an awards ceremony, not a concert.
Still, it’s worth it to mention some of the awards received, even if they weren’t recognized during the telecast.
While record and song of the year went to Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” (as well as best rap/sung performance), album of the year went to Kacey Musgraves’ “Golden Hour”. Dua Lipa was recognized as best new artist, and Lady Gaga stole the best pop/solo and duo performance with Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?)”, and “Shallow” with Bradley Cooper.
I felt like the Arctic Monkeys got cheated out of being properly recognized for their work this year, with “Four Out Of Five” only being nominated for best rock performance, losing to Chris Cornell’s “When Bad Does Good”. At the same time, I felt that St. Vincent absolutely deserved her award for best rock song with “MASSEDUCTION”.
I’m not sure if I agree that Beck’s “Colors” should have won over “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino”, but that one’s close for me. However, I was glad to see that Ludwig Göransson’s Black Panther score won best score soundtrack for visual media.
For a full list of the 2019 Grammy Awards and Nominations, you can go here.
Will there ever be a time when the Grammy’s are received without controversy? Perhaps, perhaps not. From my perspective, this year’s awards seem to be one step forward and one step back. I still have mixed feelings about some of the awards and nominations, but I suppose that’s unavoidable.
Overall, I was glad to see some more diversity in the performances and nominations. But seriously, let the people speak when you give them an award. How hard is that, when you have nearly four hours of run time?