No Grammys This Month — Thanks, Omicron
Who’s going to win this year’s big music industry awards, the Grammys? We’re going to have to wait a bit longer to find out, thanks to the omicron COVID-19 surge.
The Recording Academy and broadcast partner CBS have postponed the 64th Annual Grammy Awards, citing “consideration and analysis” with Los Angeles and California officials, health and safety experts, musicians, and other partners. The show had been set to take place Jan. 31 at the recently renamed Crypto.com Arena (the stadium previously known as Staples) in downtown L.A.
“Given the uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant, holding the show on January 31st simply contains too many risks,” the Recording Academy and CBS said in a joint statement.
The statement said they are prioritizing the health and safety of the music community, the hundreds of people who work on the show, as well as the live audience. The cancellation comes as COVID-19 numbers continue to surge in L.A. County, with more than 2,000 people now hospitalized and new daily cases topping 20,000.
The big news going into this year’s awards, beyond the pandemic, was around Drake withdrawing his 2022 Grammy nominations. He has been critical of the Academy in the past, particularly for awarding his hit single “Hotline Bling” in rap categories when he saw them as pop music. He didn’t rap on the track. This follows The Weeknd boycotting the 2021 Grammys and promising not to submit his music to the awards in the future after his previous album didn’t receive any nominations.
This year’s nominations were topped by Jon Batiste, the Oscar-winning Late Show with Stephen Colbert band leader who released the album We Are this past year — he’s been nominated three times before, but has yet to win.
Batiste was followed by Justin Bieber, Doja Cat, and H.E.R. with eight nominations each, and Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo with seven apiece.
Batiste was just one nomination short of tying Michael Jackson and Babyface, who each landed 12 nominations in a single year. Batiste ties Kendrick Lamar, who received 11 nominations in 2016.
The Recording Academy and CBS said they will announce a new date for the awards show soon. Last year's Grammys were also delayed, moving to March in a socially-distanced version of the show, though plans were to return in person this time around.