Two of our music awards experts, David Schnelwar and Darrin Dortch, weigh in with their opinions on the recent revamping of the Grammys. While David is not impressed with the changes, Darrin believes they have some merit.
For years, the Grammys have given out too many awards; if every artist wins one, the prestige is diminished. With the recording academy dropping 31 of the 109 awards, it will now be a little harder to win but the changes still do not guarantee that the most deserving will prevail.
Taking a big step backwards in equality, the Grammys are merging the gender-specific categories in pop, country, and R&B. Back in 2004, the rock vocal races were combined. Since then, only two female rock artists have even been nominated — Melissa Etheridge in 2004 and Lucinda Williams in 2007 — and neither won.
The Grammys are adding both rock groups and instrumentals to this category which could make it even less likely for a female artist to prevail. However, women are dominating pop music this year and it is possible that the new pop solo category won’t even number a man among the nominees./p>
One of the biggest problems facing the Grammys remains the General Field which reminds me of a dog show as different breeds of music compete for the same trophy. Most people could not tell you the difference between Record and Song of the Year; the record award goes to the team behind the recording including the artist while the song prize is presented to the composer and lyricist. Why didn’t they merge these categories? As it remains, we won’t see a rap song take one of these two prizes; rather, adult contemporary tunes will continue to win.
After years of doling out undeserved nominations and wins to woefully untalented artists like the Baha Men and Katy Perry, the Grammy are trying to restore their dignity by trimming 31 categories from their bloated awards show. This is one of the smartest decisions made by the recording academy in years.
Combining several categories in the pop, rock, rap, R&B and country fields could keep artists from being overly rewarded. Beyonce, for instance, won a record-breaking six Grammys for her 2008 album “I Am…Sasha Fierce.” Despite the disc’s hit singles, many critics and fans dismissed it as one of her lesser efforts. However, with so many categories in which to contend, Beyonce and her team were well-rewarded.
Fewer categories will make it harder for artists to win Grammys for subpar work. Perennial Grammy favorites like Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin, U2, Alicia Keys, Eminem, Kanye West, Tony Bennett and Jay-Z may no longer receive automatic nominations. And filler, such as Michael Jackson’s 2010 Pop Male Vocal nomination for the forgettable “This Is It,” could be a thing of the past.
However, if the voters continue to honor more recognizable names, there may not be room for acts outside the mainstream, like Arcade Fire which recently won the top prize of album of the year for “The Suburbs.