Entertainment

After an action-packed Oscars, the Grammys seem pretty boring

TTributes to the late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins and a powerful speech from Ukraine’s president were among the few truly poignant moments at an otherwise stuffy and stilted Grammy Awards.

Perhaps the musicians in attendance felt uncomfortable outside of the event’s usual Los Angeles venue, but for the most part, the inaugural Las Vegas Grammys stood in stark contrast to the dramatic Oscars of the week before.

There was, of course, a bit of jibes about the already exhausted subject of Will Smith slapping comedian Chris Rock during the 2022 Academy Awards. Arguably the most valid remark came from producer Questlove, who owed him the Oscars summer of the soul The documentary was overshadowed by the altercation between Smith and Rock.

“I trust you guys to stay 500 feet from me,” he quipped, drawing laughter and a standing ovation from the live audience. The most surreal Smith Rock reference saw comedian Nate Bargatze alluding to the incident while presenting the award for Best Spoken Word Album at the pre-broadcast ceremony.

“I have to warn everyone, stay in your seats and keep your hands to yourself,” Grammys host LeVar Burton said while introducing Bargatze, who came on stage wearing a large helmet.

Nate Bargatze at the 2020 Grammy Awards

(Recording Academy / GRAMMYs)

“They said comedians now have to wear these at award shows during joke parts,” Bargatze said. “It doesn’t even cover your face, I guess it just focuses on where you would hit me.”

Bargatze himself was nominated for best comedy album, which instead went to disgraced comedian Louis CK, who admitted to multiple counts of sexual misconduct in 2017.

CK’s win came just four years after the Grammys held their “MeToo” event, celebrating an unprecedented number of female artists. CK’s victory certainly disproved any suggestion that he had been a victim of the so-called “abandon culture.”

The Recording Academy had previously defended its nominations of controversial figures – including CK and accused rapist Marilyn Manson – saying it does not consider the personal history of nominees in determining eligibility. Maybe they should start.

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With the Foo Fighters canceling their scheduled live performance after Hawkins’ death, Grammys organizers settled for a slightly disappointing video tribute to the much-loved drummer.

Far more poignant was Billie Eilish’s tribute, in which the pop star – who has been supported by Hawkins and bandmate Dave Grohl since the early days of their careers – wore a t-shirt with his face on it during her live performance. Foo Fighters also swept the rock category that year, meaning Hawkins received posthumous awards for Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance.

Billie Eilish at the 2022 Grammys

(Getty Images for shot A)

We weren’t the only ones who failed to impress at Grammys this year, with a surprising number of big stars snubbing the ceremony. There were no signs for Album of the Year nominees Kanye West and Taylor Swift, and West was banned from performing for “regarding online conduct.” Album of the Year nominee Doja Cat was in attendance, despite announcing her intention to quit music last month. Grammy winner Ariana Grande – nominated for three gongs – shared a message to fans ahead of the ceremony confirming she would not be attending, with no details on why.

Other no-shows included Drake, who has notoriously opposed the Grammys’ outdated award categories, and Kendrick Lamar, who won best rap performance for his “Family Ties” collaboration with Baby Keem but was previously snubbed three times became coveted award for album of the year. Cardi B and Ed Sheeran also failed to appear, as did Tyler the Creator, who won Best Rap Album for The Arsonist last year Call me if you get lost but previously referred to the “rap” categories as a “backhanded compliment.”

The lack of big star power was evident while watching the red carpet, where viewers were stunned by the presence of social media stars like TikTok dancer Addison Rae and controversial YouTuber and makeup artist James Charles.

J-Hope is recovering smoothly after tripping during BTS Grammys performance

BTS brought some much-needed fun to the ceremony with a typically flawless live performance of hit single “Butter,” if member J-Hope hadn’t stumbled in the opening moments.

After the Oscars appeared to dismiss Amy Schumer’s suggestion to host a video message from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Grammys – a ceremony usually fearful of any kind of explicit political message – emerged. The Ukrainian leader shared a pre-recorded speech filmed from a bunker in Kyiv and urged viewers to “tell our story”.

Despite that rare political statement, the Grammys still felt woefully removed from the real world. BTS were stripped of Best Pop Duo/Group Performance despite being invited to perform at the ceremony for the second time. Immediately after the announcement of winners Doja Cat and SZA, the BTS ARMY gushed furiously over their belief that organizers are trying to use the world’s dominating boy band for clout – and to boost their ever-dwindling viewership.

While it was heartwarming to see US artist Jon Batiste celebrate, winning Album of the Year felt like a egregious miss in an attempt by organizers to create controversy, the consequence of which was that excellent and worthy albums from Lil Nas X, Doja Cat, Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo. The glaring absence of some of music’s biggest stars only seemed to confirm the widespread belief that the Grammys have finally become obsolete.

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/grammys-2022-bts-winners-oscars-b2050230.html After an action-packed Oscars, the Grammys seem pretty boring

JOE HERNANDEZ

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