LOS ANGELES—Believe it or not, awards season is starting to wind down. On Sunday, February 10, the 61st annual Grammy Awards were handed out at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. This is a ceremony that is more about musical performances than actual awards. I think last year only 10 awards were handed out during an almost 4-hour ceremony. Look I like music, but if it’s an awards show, I want to see some awards handed out.
Out of all the awards shows I think the Grammys are the most polarizing. I cannot tell you how many upsets I’ve witnessed at this ceremony that just baffled me. I mean Beyonce losing Album of the Year twice to Beck and Adele, really? Not to mention Kendrick Lamar losing Album of the Year to Taylor Swift for 1989? If there was EVER an awards show out of touch with the public it’s the Grammys!
Kendrick Lamar led all contenders with a total of 8 nominations including Album of the Year for his work on the “Black Panther” soundtrack. However, all of America wanted to know if Lamar would finally get his long overdue victory after being snubbed multiple times for the top prize by Grammy voters. Nope, it was country darling Kacey Musgraves who was the big winner of the night taking home multiple awards including Album of the Year.
The ceremony was lauded with musical performances per usual, but not awards. Things kicked off with a performance by Camilla Cabello that included Ricky Martin for her hit “Havana.” Host Alicia Keys took to the stage and kicked things off by paying tribute to iconic females, Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jennifer Lopez and Former First Lady Michelle Obama. Shawn Mendes proved his vocal caliber singing his hit “In My Blood” alongside Miley Cyrus.
The first award of the night for Best Pop Duo/Group went to Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper for “Shallow.” Kacey Musgraves performed her hit “Rainbow,” which was too slow of a song for my liking. Musgraves had a big night picking up several awards including Best Country Album for “Golden Hour.” Alicia Keys did deliver a funny bit recounting her loss to John Mayer in 2004 for Song of the Year. The duo later presented the prize for Song of the Year to Childish Gambino for This is America.” Unfortunately, Gambino was not in the building to accept the prize. Post Malone collaborated with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Dolly Parton received an all-star tribute thanks to Kacey Musgraves, Little Big Town, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Marren Morris. Things concluded with that infamous hit “9 to 5.”
H.E.R. proved that she is a vocal talent as she belted her hit “Hard Place,” which was later followed by Cardi B who infused plenty of energy in the show that was lacking excitement as she performed her hit “Money.” We’re only 90 minutes into the show and only 4 awards have been handed out. That’s quite sad to say the least. Hostess Alicia Keys performed a bit of music singing songs by musicians who inspired her including Roberta Flack, Drake, Ella Mai and Lauryn Hill, before singing her hit “Empire State of Mind.”
Drake took to the stage to accept the prize for Best Rap Song “God’s Plan” and gave an inspirational speech encouraging others not to look for awards as validation. Diana Ross took to the stage to celebrate her 75th birthday, but the performance left me wanting more. Lady Gaga at long last hit the stage to sing her Oscar-nominated hit “Shallow.” It was a rock infused performance in my opinion that did showcase all the vocal highs that I expected. I assume Gaga is saving that for Oscar night. However, it was still a standout performance in my opinion.
That tribute to Motown left me baffled, it was so underwhelming. No disrespect to Ne-Yo or Jennifer Lopez, but I believe others could have been selected to really make that tribute more exciting and uplifting. H.E.R. picked up the prize for Best R&B Album. I have to say that song “The Joke” by Brandi Carlile is powerful; whew, that woman can sure belt it out.
Best Rap Album went to Cardi B for “Invasion of Privacy.” She was literally in tears taking to the stage to accept her trophy; truly a moving moment where she was in utter shock with her win. The Grammy for Best New Artist was a victory for Dua Lipa. I’ve been wanting all night to hear someone actually sing with emotion and seeing that tribute to Aretha Franklin courtesy of Yolanda Adams, Andra Day and Fantasia was worth the 180 minute wait, as the trio sang “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman.”
With time running out Keys presented the awards for Record of the Year to “This is America.” Wow, I did not expect that; the song swept in the two major categories of the night and surprise, Childish Gambino was still not there to collect the big prize. That is a major bummer people. We’ve been waiting, and waiting, and waiting and the prize for Album of the Year. Who would claim the most important trophy of the night? It was a win for Kacey Musgraves for “Golden Hour.” Once again, the Recording Academy seems to be out of touch with what other think when it comes to music.
At this point I have no clue what Kendrick Lamar has to do to win Album of the Year. Three hours and 42 minutes, that is how long the 61st Grammy Awards lasted. Hey Grammys, you need to cut things down. The pacing was down big time this year, so much that you rushed two of the biggest awards of the night back to back. Boring, lackluster and uneventful, just some of the words I have to use to describe this ceremony. My instinct tells me that in 2020, I might not be watching the Grammy Awards. That is four hours of my life that I will not get back people.