Grammy Awards draws lowest ratings since 2008


Nathan Morris, from left, Wanya Morris, Shawn Stockman, of Boyz II Men‎, and Alicia Keys, second left, sing a tribute in honor of the late Kobe Bryant, seen on screen, at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards  Sunday in Los Angeles.

By Jacob Baker

The 2020 Grammy Awards takes big steps in recognizing diversity on all fronts. Hosted by Alicia Keys, the Grammys awarded artists like Billie Eilish and Lizzo in major categories while also giving credit to artists like Tyler, The Creator and Lil Nas X.

Despite the fact that it’s a step forward for representing artists with diverse backgrounds, the show drew the smallest amount of  viewership in almost a decade. 

Eilish landed a monumental win as she swept the big four categories with album of the year, record of the year, song of the year and best new artist.

This is coming off of her multi-platinum and top charting album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” that resonated with the masses and is a spectacular feat as she just turned 18 years old. 

Even with the possibility of diversity winning big this year, the very thing that many complained the show lacked, the viewership ratings were disappointing.

The show could only scrounge up 17.18 million viewers, the lowest since 2008, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Considering the big wins for diverse groups, it will be interesting to see if more people are willing to pay attention to the show again next year.  

Other notable diverse artists that won were Lizzo, Lil Nas X and Tyler, The Creator. Lizzo walked away with awards for pop solo performance, traditional R&B performance and urban contemporary album.Lil Nas X was recognized for pop duo/group performance and music video. 

Tyler, The Creator received his first ever Grammy Award for best rap album “Igor.” This is a big win for Tyler as he has been nominated many times before and he was finally able to take one home with his mom in attendance. Tyler also delivered an explosive performance of his songs “EARFQUAKE” and “NEW MAGIC WAND” in his trademark “Igor” outfit.

Although he was very happy with his long awaited win, Tyler made sure he addressed a controversy with category names at his backstage press conference interview.  

“On one side, I’m very grateful that what I made can just be acknowledged in a world like this,”  Tyler said in a press conference. “But, also, it sucks that whenever we – and I mean guys that look like me, do anything that’s genre-bending or anything – they always put in a rap or urban category. And I don’t like the ‘urban’ word. It’s just a politically correct way to say the n-word to me.”

It’s an understandable grievance as describing Tyler’s new album “Igor” is not a rap album. Like Tyler said, no matter how different the artistic output is, the Grammys will put those artists in a box for their efforts. Whether it’s in the rap category or a category with an “urban” label, a change to this tradition is needed. 

The 2020 Grammys both impressed audiences and left them dumbfounded or non-existent. The show has made notable efforts to award both women and diverse groups for their work, but viewership numbers reflect that people don’t care about this show as much year by year.