Well, last night I completely wasted three and a half hours of my time watching the Grammys. Between boring and tone-deaf performances and almost comical stupidity, the show was a flaming dumpster fire.
My first gripe with the show was the bizarre decision to not only bring back James Corden as host but to also lengthen the show to 210 minutes. James Corden is not a good host; none of his jokes landed and the show honestly doesn’t need a host. In regards, to the length of the show, if we got to see more acceptance speeches and a larger variety of winners I would be okay with the length, but with the same few people winning and 20(!) performances, it was tiring.
Did we really need to hear Elton John and Miley Cyrus perform “Tiny Dancer?” Did we really need to hear Sting and Shaggy song “Englishman in New York?” Did we really need to hear U2 perform “Get Out of Your Own Way?” The Grammys had a chance to shine a spotlight on bright new artists (Lil Uzi Vert, Camila Cabello) and celebrate current nominees (Lorde, Kelly Clarkson), but chose to have three performances of three-decade-old songs. Let’s not get into the four tribute performances. My biggest issue was the lack of vocal ability. If anything the Grammys revealed that the majority of our “stars” are lackluster performers, have zero pitch, are literally tone deaf, or just don’t seem to give a damn.
Moving on to the awards portion of the show… Firstly, I find it absurd that over a three and a half hour show only nine awards were handed out. I find it funny how the Grammys marketed the show as having their most (racially) diverse group of nominees ever. This was true, yet somehow they went with the safest choice for every single winner of the night. It’s also worth noting that only one woman (Alessia Cara for Best New Artist) accepted an award during the telecast.
Moving on… I am not going to say that Bruno didn’t deserve any of his awards. 24K Magic was a strong piece of work. He absolutely deserved his wins in the R&B categories. That being said, Bruno won Song, Record, and Album of the Year. That was excessive. If we’re being honest, “That’s What I Like” was not the best-written song out of all the nominees nor was “24K Magic” the best-produced song out of all the nominees. Critics also agree that 24K Magic was the worst album nominated in the marquee category (still a very great album, just stronger competition).
It really feels like the Academy nominated a bunch of artists of color to create an illusion of progression, and then gave all the main awards to a person who makes black music for people who don’t like black people. I acknowledge and wholeheartedly love that fact that Bruno consistently pays homage and praises his influences but something about his wins rub me the wrong way. Black people have been making this kind of music, their music, for years with no Grammy recognition at all. A non-black person of color essentially makes a throwback tribute album and he wins seven awards for it. 24K Magic wasn’t as good as “Awaken, My Love!” or Melodrama, nor was it as impactful or as thought-provoking as 4:44 and DAMN. This isn’t to take away from the quality of his work, but simply put, Bruno’s album and songs were the least offensive and safest option for a win. It was a bit disheartening, not as devastating as the losses of Lemonade or To Pimp a Butterfly.
All this being said, the Grammys screwed up the winners and the overall telecast. When will they get it right? Every year, the Grammys lose more and more respect because they show that they care about sales and success more than overall quality. For the third year in a row, and the umpteenth time this millennium, the Album of the Year award went to the most successful album. If the Oscars gave the Transformers franchise seven Oscars per movie over more deserving works of high artistic achievement, they would not still be regarded as one of the highest honors in the entertainment industry. If the Grammys truly want to present themselves as a prestigious institution like the Emmys or the Oscars, they need to review how they nominate and award the submitted works of art. Representation of all identity intersections is vital at every level to truly effect change. Let’s see if they get it right next year.