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Friday, December 01, 2023
Strong performances from many of the artists couldn't save this year's Grammys from snubs and safe choices.

Strong performances from many of the artists couldn't save this year's Grammys from snubs and safe choices.

Grammys 2018 recap: powerful performances are marred by predictability

The 60th Annual Grammy Awards — the self-proclaimed biggest night in music — aired on Sunday. This year, following what is now tradition for the incredibly out-of-touch award show, The Recording Academy and all those who vote for the nominees snubbed some of the most deserving and relevant candidates for several of their coveted awards.

While the award show brought tear-jerking, jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring performances from top tier artists like Kendrick Lamar, Kesha, Childish Gambino and Lady Gaga, it failed to take into consideration the importance of their work.

The night was filled with countless predictable awards as well as predictable upsets — awards that should have gone to more deserving artists but followed the tradition of staying safe. Kendrick Lamar went undefeated except for the Album of the Year award which he has now been snubbed from three times in a row despite being the most deserving each year. Additionally, Bruno Mars was the night’s big winner after cleaning up every category he was nominated for.

These upsets are not the fault of those who won over those more deserving. Instead, the blame lies with The Recording Academy. Its voting system and unbalanced focus on traditionally popular music (rock, country, etc.) have time and time again obstructed their view from awarding the artists who are widely favored not only by critics in the industry, but also by the fans. 2017 was a year loaded with political statements supported by artists and fans alike. Despite that, the Grammys stuck with their formulaic ceremony when there was full opportunity to make a change that would resonate for years to come.

In the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, topics of gender equality and sexual conduct were thrown into the spotlight in Hollywood. Despite the prevalence of outcries for change, the artists who used their music to speak out against these injustices through 2017 were pushed aside once The Recording Academy gave them a few minutes to speak or sing. At first, it seems like an admirable move on their behalf — using their massive audience to bring attention to the flaws of the industry they are so heavily entrenched in. However, those artists were pushed aside in favor of safer choices — like Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran — when it came time to distribute the awards. Given the opportunity to show some sort of solidarity with the women who have voiced their sincere qualms with the state of the music industry, The Recording Academy avoided giving a firm condemnation of sexual assault.

Again, The Recording Academy took the safe route with its choices of Ed Sheeran over Kesha for Best Pop Solo Performance, The Weeknd over literally any of the other nominations for Best Urban Contemporary Album and Bruno Mars over Kendrick Lamar for Album of the Year.

The issues with the Grammys are long standing. Traditionally overflowing with white men, the award show made a few steps toward racial inclusion with several of the nominations, but women were still pushed aside as only about 20% of the nominees were female.

Claiming to be the music’s biggest night should require some sort of inclusion that aligns itself with the messages that so many artists share with their music. As a whole, the music industry is undoubtedly flawed, but with such a massive platform, The Recording Academy has a responsibility to use their voice to amplify the voices of the countless artists they profit from and claim to support. Keep the incredible performances. Keep the unity of the artists in attendance. Keep the spectacle of the event. Change the message. Support the artists first and foremost; listen to their messages and make the appropriate changes. Listen to those who make the music when deciding who the accolades should go to. End the politics and revive the celebration of breathtaking music.

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