The Grammy Awards season is finally in full swing. The 2021 Grammy Awards will take place this Sunday, March 14th. The schedules are finalized, the statuettes polished and the performers prepare their socially distant stage shows. Pitchfork is here, offering everything you need to look out for from a single source. Keep scrolling to see all of the controversies, snubs, and potential sights that could go under on Sunday.
What will the show be like?
Good question. The Recording Academy has kept things vague about COVID-safe staging and presentation, stating that artists would “come together while they are still safely separated to play music for each other as a community”. In practice, this means that at a reduced capacity gala there will be a mix of live, personal and pre-recorded, video-linked performances.
A recent Rolling Stone article starring Ben Winston (who is executive producing his first Grammys show) revealed that the show won’t be at the STAPLES Center like last year. Instead, the Grammys are filmed in “an unfamiliar building in Los Angeles”. The ceremony will include four stages for performances and one more for presenters, according to RS.
“People are going to perform while the other three or four performers watch, applaud and enjoy from their own stages,” said Winston. “As soon as this is done, the next one goes, the next one goes, and the next one goes. Every 45 minutes you switch these levels and bring another four megastars into the room. “
There’s a huge list of cast members for the evening including (take a deep breath) Cardi B, Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, HAIM, Megan Thee Hengst, Harry Styles, Bad Bunny, DaBaby, Dua Lipa, Post Malone, BTS, Brandi Carlile and Doja Cat, Brittany Howard, Miranda Lambert, Lil Baby, Chris Martin from Coldplay, John Mayer, Maren Morris, Mickey Guyton and Roddy Ricch.
Some late additions to the bill were Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, who just started the group Silk Sonic. Their playful #LetSilkSonicThrive campaign aimed to get an invite to the show at the last minute. It was successful.
In recognition of the financial troubles in the pandemic-stricken live music industry, host Trevor Noah will also feature staff from various independent venues to present awards.
DaBaby rehearsing for 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards®, March 2021 (Francis Specker / CBS via Getty Images)
History in its creation
The 2021 Grammys could include several landmark achievements, including one for Mickey Guyton, who made history as the first black woman to be nominated as a solo country artist. A win in the “Best Country Solo Performance” category would help “Black Like Me” correct an unwritten rule that women “should only sing about heartbreak and sweet, funny songs, but God forbid we have other feelings”.