The Grammys: COVID-19 edition

Megan Bowman, Staff Writer

With roughly 8.8 million people watching, Trevor Noah hosted the 63rd annual Grammy Awards ceremony from outside the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Executive producer Ben Winston explained to “Rolling Stone” that this year’s ceremony focused on the theme of “creative triumphs, social justice movements, as well as COVID-19’s impact on the arts.”

Considering this theme, the Grammys set aside time to reflect on those whose lives were lost during a memoriam segment, which hit even harder this year. Different artists throughout the night paid tribute through their performances to those whose lives have been impacted in the past year. Aside from the performances, the Grammys website states that “all of these individuals [who passed away during the pandemic] who died prior to its print date are included in the official 63rd GRAMMY Awards program book.”

COVID-19 also affected the usual setup of the Grammys. Normally, the Grammy Awards ceremony takes place at the Staples Center, but this year it was hosted outside of the Los Angeles Convention Center. This is the third time since the year 2000 that the ceremony was not hosted at the Staples Center, having been hosted in New York twice for special anniversaries of the Grammys.

During the ceremony, nominees and their guests wore masks and were socially distanced at separate tables. Many artists accepted their awards from the safety of their homes. Unlike the established tradition of large-spectacle live acts, artists performed their songs from other locations or pre-recorded their performances.

Regardless of the complications, the show went on. With 84 different awards, several artists broke numerous records. reports that Beyoncé is the new record-holder for “the most awarded woman in Grammys history.” This year, Beyoncé was nominated nine times and received a total of four Grammys, including Best Music Video for “Brown Skin Girl,” Best Rap Song for “Savage,” and Best Rap Performance for “Savage.” Her fourth award for the night was for the Best R&B performance for “Black Parade,” becoming her 28th Grammy. She also holds the record for the most Grammy nominations, with 79 total nominations.

Beyoncé took time during her R&B performance award acceptance speech to acknowledge the events of the past year, stating, “As an artist, I believe it is my job, and all of our jobs, to reflect the times. It’s been such a difficult time. So I wanted to uplift, celebrate and encourage all the Black queens and kings that continue to inspire me and inspire the whole world.”

With her album “Folklore,” Taylor Swift became the first woman and the fourth artist in general, to win Album of the Year for the third time.

“You guys met us in this imaginary world that we created, and we can’t tell you how honored we are forever by this. Thank you so much, and thank you to the Recording Academy,” Swift said during her acceptance speech.

The Grammys ceremony was exciting for K-pop fans as well. Global K-Pop sensation BTS was nominated for a Grammy. The group was ecstatic about their nomination for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and tweeted their reactions. Although they did not win a Grammy, BTS continues to sweep the online charts and win awards on other global and Korean programs.

The Grammy Academy claimed that “[BTS’] nomination for Best Pop/Duo Group Performance is not just historic, but proof that sincerity, hard work and a dedicated fanbase are a recipe for success.”

BTS also got the chance to perform their recent release, “Dynamite,” during the Grammy ceremony. The group re-created the Grammy red carpet on the set where they filmed the performance in Korea.

2nd year student Anna Warren was “impressed and entertained” by the awards show, adding that she “thought the performances were really well done given all the limitations put on the artists.”

Overall, despite COVID-19 complications, the Grammys managed to put on a successful ceremony to honor the greatest musical acts of the past year.

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