UPDATE, 4 p.m.: Shortly after this story was published, the Recording Academy’s top brass announced that the Grammy’s have officially been rescheduled to March 14, 2021, and released the following statement:
“The deteriorating COVID situation in Los Angeles, with hospital services being overwhelmed, ICUs having reached capacity, and new guidance from state and local governments have all led us to conclude that postponing our show was the right thing to do. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of those in our music community and the hundreds of people who work tirelessly on producing the show.We want to thank all of the talented artists, the staff, our vendors and especially this year’s nominees for their understanding, patience and willingness to work with us as we navigate these unprecedented times.”
The Grammy’s are traditionally held every late January or early February, and the plan was for this year’s music awards to carry on as usual with an in-person award show, even in this extremely unusual time. But Variety reports that this year’s Trevor Noah-hosted show, which was set to air to CBS on January 31, is now more likely to air sometime in March—but even that’s tenuous.
No official reason for the postponement has been announced, but sources close to the show tell Variety that, naturally, health and travel concerns are to blame. It was never entirely clear how the Recording Academy intended to conduct the proceedings, but during the current COVID-19 spike that’s ravaging Los Angeles, having musicians travel here either to perform live or simply collect trophies seems imprudent. In recent months, an interim Grammy chief told Variety that the ceremony would take place at the Staples Center, while another told the publication that the show would be held “in and around downtown Los Angeles.”
The reason is pretty obvious: The Recording Academy’s annual show is a live concert packed with top acts playing, and an audience of 18,000 people – which means a lot of travel to L.A. (it’s sometimes held in New York). Many of the artists and their bands have to travel, as do many other artists that pack the audience. And it’s not the best time for that – particularly with one out of five people in Los Angeles right now who are tested for COVID-19 are turning out to be positive. The Academy has continued plugging the show on Instagram in recent days.
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Awards season typically kicks off early in the year, starting with the Golden Globes (now airing February 28, instead of early January) and the Grammys—followed by the Critics Choice Awards, the SAG Awards, and the Oscars. Early last December, the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences, which oversees the Oscars, announced that it was devoted to hosting an in-person ceremony come April.
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