Entitlement at the Grammys
Charles Keiser '14
The Grammys don’t want to be labeled a popularity contest, but they’re not doing much to discourage the label. These days, it seems like a Top 10 Billboard placing is required to compete; almost every nominee has one. The smaller categories also feel unbalanced. Imagine Dragons and Skrillex are the only household names in their fields, so they get Grammys. Newcomers find it hard to beat old favorites like Usher, Jay-Z, Carrie Underwood, and any ‘70s rock band.
Basically, if you sing or rap and you’re rich and famous, you’re automatically entitled to a Grammy. Does it matter that “Single Ladies” won Best Song of 2010 despite coming out in ’09? People love Beyoncé, so just give her the trophy.
The award usually goes to a very popular performer of disputed quality, like Taylor Swift, instead of a clearly talented but less popular artist like Janelle Monáe. Monáe has been in the Top 10 and made one of 2013’s best albums, but she wasn’t even nominated.
It’s safe to bet on the song you’ve heard 100 times, like “Royals” or “Get Lucky.” Just bet on the album that shipped millions of copies, like Adele’s 21 or whatever Mumford & Sons did last year.
True, lesser-known artists aren’t entitled to exposure any more than street musicians are entitled to your money. Still, it’s hard not to notice favoritism, even dishonesty, in the Grammys. As long as the hit system keeps up, I wouldn’t expect the show to hold any real surprises.
The Grammy trophy itself!
Choose groups to clone to: