Grammys 2021: An optimistic glance into the future of pandemic-era award shows

Categories:  Music    The Arts
Thursday, April 15th, 2021 at 12:48 PM

After worry that the show would not occur this year due to COVID-19 complications, the 2021 and 63rd Annual Grammy Awards were held with host Trevor Noah on March 14. Presented outside the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, the show featured no live audience other than select nominees and fellow celebrities. After a long year of cancelled shows and modified performances, the ceremony seemed as normal as possible to at-home viewers and provided extensive performances and entertainment. All in all, it allowed for an optimistic glance into the future of pandemic-era award shows and ceremonies.

There were a few big wins for female musicians and nominees this year, some even setting Grammy records. Known for her enormous presence in the music industry, Beyoncé continued to break records and impress audiences, taking the stage as the most nominated individual of the year (nine total noms). The musician then made history with her 28th Grammy Award win, making her the first woman to reach that number. Beyoncé was also accompanied by her daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, who took home her first award in the “Best Music Video” category for “Brown Skin Girl.” 

Joining Beyoncé in making history is “Album of the Year” winner Taylor Swift, who became the first female to ever win that category three times. Winning for her eighth studio album, “Folklore,” Swift also won with “1989” and the first iteration of “Fearless.”

Billie Eilish took home one of the largest awards, “Record of the Year,” for “Everything I Wanted.” Dua Lipa won “Best Pop Vocal Album” for “Future Nostalgia,” Miranda Lambert won “Best Country Album” for “Wildcard,” and Megan Thee Stallion won “Best New Artist,” along with “Best Rap Performance” and “Best Rap Song” for “Savage” featuring Beyoncé. These women just scratched the surface for what was a female-dominated winners' section. 

Although they’re the purpose of the event, the awards are not the only portion of the Grammys that audiences look forward to — the performances had crowds captivated. Due to the need for a COVID-19 friendly show, the ceremony did not disappoint with the amount and variation of performances delivered to audiences. Harry Styles wowed crowds and had fans swooning with his kickoff performance of award-winning song “Watermelon Sugar,” which later won in “Best Pop Solo Performance” and gave Styles his first Grammy. Styles then joined Taylor Swift in what was deemed some of the best performances of the night: her three-song mashup performance of “Cardigan,” “August” and “Willow.” Many viewers were also excited to see Post Malone, Bruno Mars, Doja Cat, BTS and Dua Lipa, all of which had hit performances throughout the night.

It would not be the Grammys, however, without some sort of controversy, which Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B delivered during their performance of hit rap song “WAP.” The rendition received countless complaints from viewers, citing that it was too inappropriate for the program to air.

But it wasn’t just raunchy performances that had viewers up in arms — it was also award snubs. Many fans were saddened and disappointed to hear that Phoebe Bridgers left the show with no awards in hand after such a large year in the industry. Styles and Swift losses also led to disappointment.

Overall, even with several obstacles due to the pandemic, the Grammy Awards were talked and raved about for days following the event, all over social media and news stations, with many gushing over the best performances and trashing the worst. Here’s to another year of music and award ceremonies to look forward to!

Julia Petrovich is the Arts Editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at

Tags: music, grammys

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