Grammys double down on live after year of no concerts
Dua Lipa, Taylor Swift and Megan Thee Stallion delivered a handful of the 32 live or pre-recorded performances at the annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles last night (14 March).
The 63rd edition kicked off with three back-to-back performances from Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and Haim, who performed in an in-the-round set-up, reminiscent of Later… with Jools Holland.
Eilish and her brother/producer Finneas performed her ethereal ballad ‘Everything I Wanted’, for which she took home Record of the Year, for the second consecutive year.
Megan Thee Stallion made her impressive debut at the Grammys, scooping three awards including Best New Artist, and delivering two performances that were ranked first and second place on Billboard’s performance review list.
The rapper first performed a medley of ‘Body’ and ‘Savage’ – the latter won her Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance along with Beyoncé, who featured on the recording – before joining Cardi B onstage for a live rendition of their chart-topping smash ‘WAP’.
Beyoncé also made her mark last night, becoming the most-awarded person in Grammys history with her 28th win
Beyoncé had an equally unforgettable night, becoming the most-awarded person in Grammys history with her 28th win for ‘Black Parade’. Bluegrass singer Alison Krauss previously held the title.
Taylor Swift also made history at Sunday’s ceremony, by becoming the first female artist ever to win album of the year three times.
Only three other artists have ever won the album of the year prize three times: Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder.
The star was rewarded for her lockdown album ‘Folklore’, which she performed in part during last night’s ceremony with collaborators Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff.
‘Cardigan’, ‘August’ and ‘Willow’ all got an outing during Swift’s first Grammys performance in five years.
BTS, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, Doja Cat, Post Malone and Lionel Richie also delivered performances at last night’s Grammys.
Last night’s award show was the first from executive producer Ben Winston, best known for turning James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke series into a viral hit. Winston is the first new producer since Ken Ehrlich took over the show in 1980.
The production’s Covid precautions included 6ft-compliant tables and chairs beneath an outdoor terrace, five separate stages at the Los Angeles Convention Center and widespread testing – all of which added millions to the show’s budget.
See a complete list of winners and nominees for the 2021 Grammys here.
Major award shows will return “rain or shine” in 2021
The Grammy Awards, one of the earliest dates in the annual calendar for music awards, will be happening in January 2021 “come rain or shine, Covid-19 vaccine or not,” say organisers.
The 63rd edition of the US-based awards show is scheduled to take place on 31 January and will be broadcast on CBS at 8 pm ET.
Organisers say things will be “a little different” at next year’s ceremony but have not yet revealed details about the show’s format.
However, Harvey Mason Jnr, the Recording Academy’s interim president/CEO, offered some insight on what to expect at the 2021 show back in June during an interview with Variety.
“We are simultaneously developing three plans for what the show would look like: One is the traditional show with the full crowd, two is a limited crowd, and three is no crowd, and there’s creative around all three of those ideas: how and where we would film it. But none of them involve changing or postponing the date,” said Mason.
“We are simultaneously developing three plans for what the Grammys would look like, but none involving postponing”
Mason also said the Grammys are looking at hosting the awards at the Staples Centre (cap. 20,000) in LA with a limited audience, though it seems “increasing unlikely”. The one thing he guarantees is “a spectacular show” that, no matter what, the show will be executed fully live, with no pre-recorded segments.
Across the pond, organisers of Britain’s annual music awards show, the Brits, have said the event will return next year on 11 May instead of its usual date in February and will be broadcast on ITV.
Organisers say they consulted with the music industry and show partners Mastercard, ITV and AEG, and made the decision based on safety and logistical considerations.
“We believe that this move will give a fairer opportunity to all artists, as well as ensuring a mix of huge domestic and global superstars that annually attend and perform at the show,” the Brits statement reads.
Speaking about the decision to move the date, Geoff Taylor, chief executive at British Phonographic Industry and Brit Awards said: “We want to make sure that the Brits delivers the outstanding production levels, superstar performances and live excitement that make it the biggest night in music.
“We want to make sure that The Brits delivers the outstanding production levels, superstar performances and live excitement”
“We believe that the best way to achieve this in 2021 is to move the show back a few months to May, and we are already at work planning a spectacular event that will remind us how important music has been in getting us all through these difficult times.”
The awards show held its 40th edition before the pandemic hit in February, which took place at the O2 (cap. 21,000) in London, where it has been held every year since 2011.
Major award shows that have taken place during the pandemic include MTV’s VMAs (August, US), the Country Music Awards (September, US), the Mercury Prize (September, UK) and The Billboard Music Awards (October, US) and have not yet revealed details about 2021 ceremonies.
Still to come this year is the American Music Awards, which will air on 22 November in the US at 8 pm ET on ABC and plans to “bring fans together with surprising musical performances and celebrate the artists who make it happen”. Additional details regarding the production of the show will be announced at a later date.
Also, the UK’s Mobo Awards, which has celebrated music of black origin since 1996, is due to return after two years off. Founder Kanya King told Capital Xtra in an exclusive interview that the ceremony would return in an “exciting and dynamic” way before the end of the year. Further details about the ceremony are yet to be revealed.