Loving and Hating the 2017 Grammy Awards


On a yearly basis, critics, industry insiders and viewers ask the musical question, “Are the Grammy Awards relevant?”  For the 2017 Grammy Awards hosted by James Corden (The Late Show), there is controversy, with some artists declining to attend due to lack of diversity; there are triumphs, like Chance the Rapper’s historic nomination for his streaming-only album and Sturgill Simpson's spot in the Best Album category; and there are blunders, like David Bowie being relegated to the “Alternative Music” categories. Here's what we’re loving and hating about The 59th Annual Grammy Awards including our Grammy drinking game.

The No-shows: Though each is nominated, Justin Bieber, Drake and Kayne West promised not to appear citing the Grammy's lack relevance and diversity (although a last-minute rumor has West being added to the broadcast in a major way as a show of renewed health after his 2016 breakdown). Frank Ocean didn’t even bother to submit his Blonde album to this year’s Grammy nominating committee for the same reason.

The Biggest Triumph: After a decade-plus of digital-only and online mixtape releases never making it in Grammy nomination procedures, Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book has become the first streaming-only album to win a nomination. Even if he doesn’t win (and he probably will), Chance has made history.

The Biggest Snub: The late David Bowie has never been the Grammy's favorite. In his long career, other than a Lifetime Achievement Award, he’s only won one Grammy for 1985’s Jazzin’ for Blue Jean long-form video. Now, at a time when his critical and commercial star is at its apex for his last studio album, 2016’s Blackstar – to say nothing of the posthumous recognition – one would image it a shoo-in for all major categories, Best Album of the Year included. Nope. Sadly and shamefully, Bowie has been shuffled to the “Alternative Music” categories, making this even more than just a snub, it’s a blunder.

The Best New Artist Challenge: In a year where Chance the Rapper is hip hop’s friendliest face, and The Chainsmokers make electronic dance music safe for kids, look for young country blues belter Maren Morris to walk off with the Best New Artist prize, as well as amaze the TV audience with her sass and prowess.

The Adele vs. Beyoncé Battle: With each diva earning noms for Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year, Vegas betting pools have Queen Bey taking the album prize for Lemonade, and Adele taking the song titles for “Hello.”

The Wild Card: While many voters will split the difference between Beyoncé and Adele for Best Album, experts believe that caustic country songwriting singer Sturgill Simpson and his surprise nominated A Sailor’s Guide to Earth could slip in for the big underdog win. At the very least, he should absolutely win his other nomination for Best Country Album.

The Drinking Games: There should be two drinking games this year: one beer for every time a presenter or a winner mentions the name “Donald Trump,” and the other drink, something smoother like a fine scotch, when artists and presenters (especially on the red carpet) mention Beyoncé's twins pregnancy. That is, unless Jay Z or Bey mention it.

The 59th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony will be held on February 12. CBS will broadcast the show live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, 5 PM PST,  8 PM EST. 

Sturgill Simpson photo courtesy of Sacks and Co.

Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2017