Stars roll the dice for Grammys gold as Vegas hosts the best in music
Las Vegas (AFP) The stars of the music world will head to Las Vegas on Sunday for the Grammy Awards, where pop chart-toppers plus jazzman Jon Batiste will compete for the industry’s most coveted trophies.
The US gaming capital is hosting the ceremony for the first time ever, after organizers postponed the initial January 31 event due to a rise in Covid-19 cases and then moved it out of Los Angeles.
The timing of the Grammys just a week after Will Smith stunned the world by slapping Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars adds an extra layer of unpredictability to what is already generally one of the most bizarre nights on the showbiz awards circuit. .
Justin Bieber will be vying for eight trophies at the ceremony hosted by late-night TV personality Trevor Noah, as will R&B favorite HER and singer-rapper Doja Cat.
Grammys darling Billie Eilish is up for seven awards. The same goes for Olivia Rodrigo, a former Disney Channel actress who exploded onto the pop scene last year with her hit “Driver’s License.”
Rodrigo, 19, has landed the nods expected for her debut album ‘Sour’, and is set to win Best New Artist – she takes on Eilish’s brother Finneas, rapper Saweetie and a band of experimental pop. Japanese breakfast, among others.
Like Eilish in 2020, Rodrigo has the option to sweep the top four categories on the same night, which would make her the third artist to do so. The first was singer-songwriter Christopher Cross.
But it’s Jon Batiste – the jazz and R&B artist and bandleader, who won an Oscar last year for his soundtrack to the Pixar animated film ‘Soul’ – who stands the best chance. to win gold at the Grammys, with 11 nominations including two among the best. categories.
The artist from a prominent New Orleans musical dynasty will compete primarily on the strength of his album “We Are” and catchy single “Freedom.”
The leader of dormant nominations is up for awards in areas spanning genre and medium, including R&B, Jazz, American Roots and Contemporary Classic, as well as nods for Best Music Video and Sound composition work on “Soul”.
He briefly appeared on the red carpet at a pre-Grammy gala on Friday, having fun for photographers before telling AFP he was feeling “good” ahead of Sunday’s awards show.
“I’m so happy,” he said with a loud cry. “My grandfather came to town!”
Recognition at all levels
The field for the Grammys is wide open — especially after the Recording Academy once again expanded the top four categories, this time to include 10 nominees, in a bid to improve diversity.
“I guess in this case, broadening the categories means more women, more marginalized people will be recognized,” said Brandi Carlile, who is up for five gramophones this year.
“Some things get better in some areas, they slip in other places,” she told AFP, but added: “I watch it change and evolve and improve every year, and that comforts me.”
The expansion also resulted in one of the most eclectic crop of nominees for Best New Artist in recent memory, though Rodrigo is widely tipped to win.
“Pop just has a bigger footprint, but I like that they dive into other genres,” category-nominated country singer Jimmie Allen told AFP.
“Win or lose, I’m just happy to be nominated.”
Angélique Kidjo, who has already won four Grammy Awards and has three chances to win this year in the global performance categories, said the Recording Academy has made progress in recent years, but there is a “long road ahead”. to browse.
“It’s a work in progress,” she told AFP. “There is good will on their part. How can we put this into action?”
She encouraged the Academy to add the global performance categories to the TV show, which is normally reserved for the top four awards and select genre areas.
The vast majority of awards are presented in front of a select audience in the hours leading up to the main gala.
Korean pop juggernauts BTS scored a nomination in the pop categories for the huge commercial hit “Butter” – less than expected for the massively popular boy band who struggled to make inroads at the Grammys.
But BTS should perform at an event watched as much for its staging as for the actual awards, just like Rodrigo, Eilish, Batiste, HER and Lil Nas X.
The Recording Academy will also include a special segment on Ukraine, in partnership with Global Citizen, encouraging awareness of the war as well as fundraising efforts for humanitarian relief.
Among Sunday’s presenters will be folk icon Joni Mitchell, who was honored at a moving gala tribute on Friday.
© 2022 AFP