By VINCENT CORTES
With animosity in the air and political tensions at an all time high, the Grammy ratings are at an all time low.
Airing on Sunday Jan. 28, the 60th Annual Grammy Awards featured a diverse string of acts— ranging from live performances to pre-recorded skits. However, none of these performances could be enjoyed due to the political atmosphere dampening the ceremony. The obvious and, quite frankly, awkward energy which filled the room with every mention of hot controversies caused many viewers to shut off their T.V.s. As a result, viewership was down over 20% compared to last year.
This year’s Grammys attempted and failed to tackle questionable topics including Trump, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), racism, sexism and sexual harassment at a seemingly improper time.
One of the most talked about acts on Sunday night was an unexpected cameo from 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. Clinton and artists such as Cardi B and DJ Khaled read excerpts from Michael Wolff’s novel Fire and Fury, a book which discusses President Donald Trump’s eccentric behavior. The pre-recorded skit was of course an intentional comedic blow towards President Trump. Regardless of political standpoints, it undoubtedly caused many viewers to tune off from the program because of the blatant insertion of politics.
Furthermore, Camila Cabello delivered a speech about DACA. Her speech detailed the importance of giving immigrants—especially immigrant children—chances to succeed in the United States. A beautiful commentary in some regards, yet this quick political speech may have been the final straw for viewers as they turned off the event, ultimately leaving the Grammys to drown in bad reviews.
No doubt the 2018 Grammys was a complete flop due to audience’s unenjoyment of politics in entertaining events.
For instance, the Emmys of 2014 was a politics-free award ceremony and received up to 15.6 million viewers. While, the immense popularity could largely be attributed to its host, Seth Meyers, the Grammys reputation was hurt despite being hosted by James Corden— an arguably more popular celebrity. This demonstrates that viewers dislike politically charged events.
To put it simply, people watch award ceremonies because they are entertaining, and once these shows insert unnecessary political commentary, it provokes the populous. This is further exemplified by Bruno Mars’ countless wins this Sunday. Mars’ receiving of Album of the Year should be the essence of an award ceremony, it should not be followed by an unnecessary political speech.
While negative reactions have emerged from the 2018 Grammys fiasco, should that be the general public’s reaction?
At these performance awards— Grammys, Tonys and Emmys— only artists of the highest caliber can actually be invited and win. As a result, these socially powerful celebrities voice their opinions, and often make light upon overlooked situations.
This was the case at the 2018 Golden Globes. Celebrities voiced solidarity through their ensemble of black attire, ultimately, creating the #WhyWeWearBlackMovement, a movement which sheds light upon sexual harassment in the workplace.
The amount of politics inserted into pop culture has definitely risen in these past years. Whether this change is good or not, is up to the individual. However, at the 2018 Grammys, the masses showed their distaste for its political topics.