The 2018 Grammy Awards ranks as one of the lowest-rated in history. Did the controversy over the only female nominee for Album of the Year (Lorde with “Melodrama”) being excluded from the Grammys telecast on Jan. 28 turn off viewers? That could well be the case given that six million more tuned in for the 2017 show when Adele and Beyonce sang two numbers apiece. Those one-named divas went head-to-head in the top races, with Adele sweeping.
Lorde was not offered the same solo spot on the Grammys as the four men in her race: Childish Gambino (“Awaken, My Love!”), JAY-Z (“4:44”), Kendrick Lamar (“DAMN.”) and winner Bruno Mars (“24K Magic”). Rather than be part of a Tom Petty tribute medley, she passed on appearing. And though Mars (of Filipino and Puerto Rican descent) swept the top awards, black hip-hop artists were once again shut out in the general field.
Will the recording academy face a bigger problem with picking which acts to showcase on the 2019 Grammy Awards with the news that it is upping the number of nominees for Album of the Year from five to eight? It is also doing likewise with the other three general categories — Record and Song of the Year as well as Best New Artist.
While these general categories have always been gender neutral, the recording academy eliminated separate performance awards for men and women in various music genres back in 2011. Although some of those subsequent combined races have been skewed towards women, the majority of them have been dominated by men. However, none of them is being expanded beyond the current cap of five.