Comedian and television show host Trevor Noah hosted the 63rd Grammy Awards on March 14. Though the show hit a record low of 8.8 million viewers, Seton Hall students responded to the best and worst moments of the night in performances, fashion and winners.
Recorded live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah kicked off the night with the assurance that all production was in accordance with social distancing rules. During his monologue, Noah gave audiences a tour of the set-up, which included guests under an open-air tent and five indoor stages arranged in a distanced circle.
Emma Boeninghaus, a sophomore finance and information technology management major, watches the Grammys every year, but said she was especially curious as to how the show would be handled COVID-wise.
“I was eager to see how they were going to set up the red carpet,” she said.
Prior to the show, the red carpet was restricted to only four photographers who took photos from 15 feet away. Just five media outlets were invited to the event for interviews that were separated by partitions. Originally scheduled for January, the Grammy Awards were delayed to March due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles.
“I watched the Grammy’s because my favorite artist was not only performing, but [also] nominated for three Grammys,” Morgan Carroll, a sophomore elementary education major, said. As opener, Harry Styles performed “Watermelon Sugar” which won Best Pop Solo Performance later that night.
“I was very excited to watch Harry Styles open up the Grammys and he didn’t disappoint,” Carroll said. She also expressed her interest in the show to see its COVID-19 regulations.
The show honors artists in 84 categories ranging from pop music to physical album packaging. Winners of the night include “Everything I Wanted” by Billie Eilish for Record of the Year, “folklore” by Taylor Swift for Album of the Year, and Megan Thee Stallion for Best New Artist. After a performance of “WAP” with Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion also took home Best Rap Song with “Savage.”
“I’m biased, but my favorite part of the show was Harry Styles’s performance,” Carroll said. “It was fun, easy to dance to, and it did not hurt that he looked good while doing it.”
Carroll said that she could tell it was a big moment for his career. As a fan, it is easy to support Styles, but she felt that the award show win verified his talent for the rest of the world.
Boeninghaus found that the most notable parts of the show were performances by Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak.
“My favorite decade of music is the 70’s, so it was really cool seeing them pay homage to that era of music,” she said.
Earlier this year, the two artists joined to create the duo Silk Sonic, and made their television debut with a performance of “Leave the Door Open” on Sunday.
In addition to being the most nominated artist of the year in nine categories, Beyoncé ended the night with her 28thGrammy overall, making her the most-decorated woman in Grammys history. Her song “Black Parade” took home Best R&B Performance and gave her the title of most Grammy wins ever by a singer.
Jarrod Jackson, a graduate student in the Master of Public Administration program, said he enjoyed the show and seeing the artists’ live reaction to being part of Grammy history was amazing to witness.
“My favorite highlight was the presenters and host telling certain artists, such as Beyoncé, that broke records because viewers had the chance to see their favorite artists’ first reaction to hearing an accomplishment they reached,” Jackson said.
Dua Lipa, Roddy Rich, and Taylor Swift followed closely with six nominations each. Announced in November 2020, nominations were met with controversy due to the lack of diversity in race and gender. Among the celebrities who called out the Recording Academy were The Weeknd and Zayn Malik. Artists such as Teyana Taylor believe that women were overlooked as all nominees for Best R&B Album were men.
Despite his single “Blinding Lights” spending a year on the Hot 100’s top 10 list, The Weeknd received zero nominations for his album, After Hours. In response, the singer announced on Twitter that he will no longer be submitting his music for future Grammy consideration. Malik also felt the need to call attention to “favoritism, racism, and networking politics [that] influence the voting process.”
Boeninghaus believes “there’s always going to be snubs and surprises” when it comes to nominees. “I think The Weeknd was robbed of a Grammy for Album of the Year,” Boeninghaus stated. “[He] had a great year with his releases, so it was really shocking to see him not even nominated for anything.”
“I do like to watch these award shows but I also understand and can realize that there is bias,” Carroll said. “We are at a time in the world when the younger generation is begging for social change and these award shows are often times not reflective of that.”
Many fans of BTS were also outraged at the Grammys, believing the show used the South Korean boy group for publicity and views. BTS’s English single, “Dynamite”, was nominated for Best Pop Performance – the first time a South Korean group has ever been nominated for an award. The group was beat out by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s “Rain on Me”. Even before their loss, the BTS fandom expressed their irritation on Twitter with the hashtag #scammys.
“It is not only a disservice to artists of color who deserved to be nominated and win,” Carroll said, “but a ‘slap in the face’ to everything we have been fighting for.”
Carroll went on to say that while award shows have standards of popularity, “they have trouble representing the world in which we live in.”
Catherine San can be reached at email@example.com.