The 64th Annual Grammy Awards were much different this year than in the past. The celebration was held on April 3, instead of the typical January or February. This was because of COVID-19 spreading concerns. Another thing that changed was the location. Since 1974, the Grammy Awards have been held in only two places: New York City and Los Angeles. This year, however, they were held in Las Vegas for the first time ever.
There were mixed reviews on this change. Some people were simply happy that the Grammys would take place at all. Others were upset with the venue, stating that Las Vegas was gross and packed too full with tourists.
Viewership was low again this year. While this year boasted 660,000 more viewers than in 2021, it was still very low numbers for the Grammy Awards, coming in at second worst viewership numbers in the show’s history.
Despite the low viewership, there were many parts that I enjoyed. Out of the twenty performances this year, my favorites were Olivia Rodrigo, Lil Nas X, Jon Batiste, Billie Eilish and BTS. All of these artists either won or were nominated for an award.
Rodrigo performed her winter hit “drivers license,” which was nominated for Song of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance and Record of the Year. Rodrigo was nominated for a total of seven Grammys and won three.
“drivers license” was Olivia’s debut single. Her performance of this song was simplistic, yet beautiful. She wore a white dress and the set had a white car; there wasn’t much else there. My favorite part was the way her makeup complimented her voice. This might sound a little weird, but I promise it makes sense. When Olivia is belting her heart out about her past love, she tilts her head upwards. The overhead lights catch the glitter under her eyes and create the illusion of tears. It was a cool touch to a heartfelt performance.
Lil Nas X delivered as always. This was his second time performing at the Grammy Awards; the first time was in 2020 when he sang “Old Town Road” with BTS and Billy Ray Cyrus. This year, he sang a medley including three of his songs. Jack Harlow joined to deliver his verse in “Industry Baby.” The set for this performance was intriguing. There was a giant sculpture of Lil Nas’ head, with part of it removed with only a skull showing. There were multiple background dancers, and three separate outfit changes. My favorite part was how he used the controversy surrounding “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” for his background. It was inspiring to see a young queer artist take control of his narrative and use the negative things people said about him for his own gain. Though he was nominated for five awards, he walked away with no wins.
Jon Batiste won five of the 11 awards he was nominated for, including Best Music Video and Album of the Year. Before the 64th Annual Grammy Awards, I had never even heard of Batiste. After watching his stunning performance of “Freedom,” I was a fan. The colors popped, the melody made you want to dance and Batiste himself looked so joyful while performing. I’m thankful to the Grammys for giving me a chance to find new great artists to listen to.
Billie Eilish was my second favorite performer, singing one of my favorite songs by her: “Happier Than Ever.” The set she was on immediately caught my attention. She is standing in a pool of water in an otherwise seemingly normal house. With a closer look, I realized everything in the house was upside; Eilish was standing on the ceiling while a couch hung over her head. She quickly left that room to come to the roof of the house. Or maybe it would be the foundation, because the entire house was upside down. There, she was joined by her brother FINNEAS on electric guitar. The rest of the set simulated a stormy day, with lightning strikes accompanying the drums. It was a really cool performance, despite seeming very short.
All these performances were incredible, but my favorite was K-pop group BTS. They were nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, which was ultimately won by SZA and Doja Cat. BTS performed “Butter,” their second English single. The theme was James Bond-esque, with the members acting as spies and breaking into a museum. The choreography was amazing. At one point, they all whipped their jackets off, somehow tied them together, then seamlessly separated once their dance break was over. Despite how smooth the performance seemed, they had many issues going into it. The group’s eldest member Jin was unable to perform as he had just had surgery. He still sang, but couldn’t dance with the others. Jungkook and J-Hope both tested positive for COVID-19 mere days before the Grammys. By the time all the members could be together, they only had one day to practice. Despite all this, they had a successful night, even if they didn’t win an award.
Award shows are not as popular as they once were, and let’s face it, they probably never will be again. They can be fun to talk about, but there are too many downsides, such as the run time or certain artists being snubbed. Unless something drastically changes in the Grammys’ future, they will likely fizzle out. I enjoyed this year’s performances and hope one day the show can return its former glory.