2019 Grammys marked by drama and drop-outs
It looks like the Grammy Awards will be embroiled in drama, yet again. Some viewers may tune into music’s biggest night, which airs live on CBS on Sunday, to see who’s missing rather than who’s there.
Twitter has been abuzz with news of the public disagreement between Ariana Grande and Grammy producers. Despite being heavily advertised as part of the show, Grande is not performing nor even attending the Sunday ceremony, after she felt producers “insulted” her by asserting too much control over her song choices.
Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and Childish Gambino – nominees in all or most of the big three categories – also opted out of performing; however, representatives for the artists have not confirmed if they will attend the show.
Lamar is known for his attention-grabbing, often political Grammy performances, like his fiery 2016 rendition of his “To Pimp a Butterfly” tracks, so his absence is sure to be missed by many. But with Lady Gaga, Shawn Mendes, Cardi B, and Travis Scott among the evening’s performers, there won’t be a shortage of star power. Gaga is set to perform her hit single “Shallow” alongside Mark Ronson, with whom she collaborated on the song for her film A Star Is Born.
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Tributes to Aretha Franklin and Dolly Parton are also planned, alongside a Diana Ross performance in honour of her 75th birthday and her musical achievements. Additionally, Jennifer Lopez will take the stage for a Motown tribute, although some have criticized the decision to pick a non-black singer for the performance – especially during Black History Month – when artists like Ross, Stevie Wonder or Gladys Knight could have been chosen.
Looming predictions of rain could also put a damper on this year’s awards ceremony. And dark clouds are surrounding R. Kelly, who was dropped by Sony Music following allegations of sexually abusive behavior.
As for the awards, Lamar leads this year’s nominations with a total of eight nods, including album of the year for the “Black Panther” soundtrack followed closely by Drake who scored seven nominations. Producer Boi-1da and Americana singer Brandi Carlile are behind them with six apiece.
Viewers may also be paying close attention to the number of female winners, as last year the show made headlines when Alessia Cara was the only woman to nab a solo Grammy. The Recording Academy president’s comments that female artists should “step up” also sparked ire and added fuel to the #GrammysSoMale hashtag. This year, 15 women are nominated in the big four categories, including Gaga, Chloe x Halle, Carlile, Janelle Monae, and Cardi B.
Even before the show, there’s plenty of cause for celebration. The organization awards approximately 70 winners during the show’s Premiere Ceremony at 1 p.m., which features categories such as producer of the year, best metal performance, best rap performance and best country song.
The music business will be partying ahead of the show at celebrations including the pre-Grammy gala hosted by the Recording Academy and Clive Davis, the Family Tree Entertainment music managers pre-Grammy brunch and the Music Is Universal artist showcase hosted by Lucian Grainge.
The Grammys, hosted by Alicia Keys, will air live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on CBS on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT. Other performers confirmed so far include Camila Cabello, Carlile, Miley Cyrus, Dan + Shay, H.E.R., Post Malone with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kacey Musgraves.
© 2019 Reuters