What’s up with the 2020 Grammys?

Abby Stanicek

The biggest award show in music has made its mark in 2020. Many new artists attended this year in hopes of bringing home some hardware. What appeared to be a magical night for some, appeared to be a painful one for others. The grief over the sudden death of Kobe Bryant filled the room, along with the knowledge of the allegations against the Recording Academy for a supposedly corrupt voting system. At this point, many feel that the Grammy’s have become more of a popularity contest than an appreciation of music.

One of those hopeful new artists to attend for the first time is the uber-successful Billie Eilish. She ended up going home with five awards, four of them being the main categories of the event, bringing her and her brother, Finneas O’Connell, to a total of ten Grammy’s at their first attendance. Billie Eilish is quite deserving of all of the awards she received after the insane year she’s had, but many feel that some were snubbed in the categories she swept. For example, Ariana Grande and Lana Del Rey both had their brilliant releases up for Album of the Year but were overshadowed by Billie’s first LP release.

Many were distraught with this outcome, including Billie herself, as she stated in her speech that Ariana should be the one on stage. Other “snubs” in various categories were argued over as the results rolled in on social media. Along with talk of who deserved what, the allegations against the Recording Academy were also a popular topic of conversation before the show even started. Eventually, the talk of snubs and allegations soon intertwined and became the main focus of the night.

Prior CEO of the Recording Academy, Deborah Dugan, found the voting system to be “rigged” for the major show that was looming ahead. Dugan states, “In that room not only are there trustees that have conflicts on interest in particular artists that are nominated but more importantly there are even artists that are nominated in the room.” Any type of voting should require an even playing field if the goal is to have a fair result. The corrupt voting that occurs at the Recording Academy can not be considered a fair system, as bias has a very large presence within these voting rooms and even before the voting starts.

Not only does the unfair method keep someone from achieving a well-deserved win, but it also makes those who won the award feel they didn’t achieve much of anything besides being able to say they won a Grammy. Singer/songwriter India Arie, who took home zero out of seven of her nominations in 2002, felt relieved that she hadn’t won, as she didn’t want to receive an award that was decided improperly. IHS student Chris Folan agrees with India Arie, as he said he would feel “unaccomplished” if he won the award, which could have resulted from a few biases within a room. What used to be one of the most honorable awards you could get is now an award that many cross their fingers hoping to not receive it.

Another issue with the Recording Academy that was brought up was the labeling of the “urban” category. Accomplished artist Tyler, the Creator mentioned when talking to the press that he felt the word “urban” was the politically correct way to say the ‘N’ word. He felt extremely grateful for the award that he took home but felt strongly that the category he received the award from needs a name change or should be discontinued overall.

After the 2020 Grammys, it has been found that the Recording Academy has a lot of work to do if they want to build their reputation back up to where it had been in the past. Voting must become fair. It’s time to fill the rooms with people ready to experience the music in their way, not with a mindset set towards one artist within the group that causes the others to be ignored. As for the urban category, a name change should be on the to-do list, as now is not the time to be sorting races into categories. The Recording Academy has dug themselves quite the hole, but there is most certainly a way for them to escape; they just have to be willing to make some serious changes.