4. The Ceremony Is Packed With Over-The-Top Performances
The Grammy Awards used to be a fairly classy, dignified affair with the leading lights of the music industry gathering to honor excellence. In recent years, the ceremony devolved into a rowdy concert in a huge arena packed with goofy, arm-waving fans, although this year, the show was a bit more like a typical awards show.
Part of the problem with the Grammys is that the producers seem to put on the show for the audience in the arena without keeping the home viewers in mind. The sound mix is terrible for those watching on television, and the lighting and other effects just don’t work for the millions at home trying to make sense of the madness.
Take note of some recent examples. A couple of years ago, the broadcast featured a production number paying tribute to the Green Day Broadway show. The fact that the performance actually included Green Day songs was bad enough, but the choreography was sloppy, and the jump cuts came so frequently that I couldn’t help but wonder if the director had ADD.
In 2011, the band Arcade Fire performed minutes before their surprising win for Album of the Year. Their performance was solid enough, but accompanying it were seizure-inducing lighting effects and crazy BMX stunts. Here was Arcade Fire’s chance to show off in front of a worldwide audience, and the producers turned it into a Mountain Dew commercial.
At this year’s show, performances by Chris Brown and Katy Perry were characterized by ridiculous dancing and staging. Nicki Minaj’s number was meant to shock, but it only managed to be jaw-droppingly unmelodic. The electronica segment featuring Deadmau5, the mouse-headed DJ, along with David Guetta, Brown, and Foo Figthers, did little service to the genre.
Every year, the performances at the Grammy Awards appear to be less about the music and more about upping the ante on showmanship. Instead of being exciting, they’ve just become obnoxious.