The Grammys deliver both large milestones and huge flops

By Peter Zemeske

The 2019 Grammy Awards had its fair share of both proud moments and embarrassing flops. The ceremony featured presentations of the awards and performances from St. Vincent and Dua Lipa, Kacey Musgraves and Lady Gaga to name a few. This year saw wins for genres and groups not usually recognized at the awards.

Every year, music fans on social media have been taking the Grammys less and less seriously due to Grammys being received by artists who aren’t the most qualified in their category and because of the lack of representation of women and minorities. The Recording Academy President Neil Portnow sparked outrage after the 2018 Grammy Awards when he responded to the lack of women represented with, “women need to step up.”

“Women in music don’t need to ‘step up’ – women have been stepping since the beginning of time,” pop singer P!nk said in a Jan. 29 tweet.

In a big step forward, the 2019 Grammys had unprecedented outcomes. For example, female artists collectively won 31 awards in 2019 versus 17 in 2018 resulting in an 82% increase. This is huge in the male dominated music industry.

In another welcome surprise, Childish Gambino’s smash hit “This Is America” earned the Grammy Award for Song of the Year, making it the first rap song to win the category in the history of the show. Not only is it a first in the rap arena, but the winning song is political at its core. Songs with such powerful lyrics and thought-provoking meaning usually aren’t at the forefront at the Grammys. The track also won Record of the Year among its total of four awards.

The 2019 Grammys had a wider range of artists winning categories. In years past, a few pop artists defeat other artists in more categories than expected. In 2012 pop singer Adele took home six Grammys in one night. Country singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves did scoop four awards this year including Album of the Year, but the show wasn’t a total sweep of just three or four artists.

For the complete list of Grammy Winners, click here

The biggest disappointment of the night came down to Best Rock Album, which Greta Van Fleet won with their debut EP, “From the Fires.” Greta Van Fleet have found themselves at the center of an ongoing heated internet debate over their Led Zeppelinesque blues rock sound. It’s hard to find an original comment about the Michigan band, but to award a group whose music is so blatantly ripped off feels like a slap to the face for most rock fans.

The night’s most embarrassing moment came when rapper Cardi B thanked American rock legend Tom Petty for leaving her a bouquet of flowers. Since Petty died in October 2017, the flowers were obviously not from him. The note attached to the flowers had a lyric from the Petty’s 1996 track, “Walls (Circus).” The sender was later revealed to be florist Annie Wonderlich, according to a Feb. 14 TMZ article.

The 2019 Grammy Awards proved the show isn’t completely stuck in a self serving feedback loop from year to year. With any luck, the curators and Recording Academy’s voting team will learn to keep moving in the progressive direction they took this year. As long as the Grammy Award curators keep moving in this space, controversial issues from the past will stay in the past.