Written by Kristina Calhoun
The 63rd annual Grammy Awards were held on Mar. 14 with host Noah Trevor. Similar to most big events in the past year-and-a-half to two years, COVID-19 had something to say about it. The award show was pushed back six weeks after coronavirus cases spiked in Los Angeles. The performances also didn’t take place on the same stage—instead, five stages were arranged in a circle atop the L.A. Convention Center.
The lineup for performances included Bad Bunny, Black Pumas, BTS, Cardi B, Brandi Charlie, DaBaby, Doja Cat, Billie Eilish, Mickey Guyton and many more. The telecast opened with three performances by huge artists like Harry Styles performing “Watermelon Sugar,” Billie Eilish singing “Everything I Wanted” and the three sisters of HAIM doing “The Steps.”
While big stars did attend the ceremony, perform and win awards, there was one big artist who boycotted the show. The Weeknd, who performed at the Super Bowl halftime show in January, announced that he would be boycotting not only the show but the institution itself. He stated that the reason he chose to do so was because of the “secret committees” that the institution had. He also told the New York Times about his decision to no longer allow his label to submit his music to the Grammys.
Most believed The Weeknd did this because his most recent album, “After Hours,” received zero nominations this year. This came as a shock to him and his fans since it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and landed on dozens of year-end lists. The Weeknd went on to state that he has three Grammys, but he personally could not care less about them now.
Another difference this year that may have come as a shock was that the setup for COVID-19 safety procedures did not include Zoom. The show’s newest executive producer recently told the New York Times, “This is not a virtual Grammys . . . Zoom fatigue is not something that will be part of the show in any way.” The producers chose not to do a Zoom award show because it would be difficult to discern which performances were pre-taped and which were performed live. They did their best to reproduce and pay homage to the experience of seeing live music, yet they did not manage to mimic the smallness and beauty of the sorts of concerts that many have missed the most. Despite the successful hosting of the Grammy Awards this year, the effects of the pandemic continue to devastate artists and small clubs.