2022 Grammys… A Step in the Right Direction?


Sebastian Ervi

People cheering and jumping up and down at a concert

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA- The Grammys are widely known as the biggest night in music for the year, but after repeated complaints surrounding the awards every year, it comes time to truly ask, how much of this title is really true?

The Grammys, held on Sunday, April 3rd, was a key event in the music world, with nearly all artists finally being able to attend following the fall of the Covid-19 pandemic. This year’s show was a stark contrast to that of the year before, with both live performances and a live audience. There were many notable events in this year’s Grammys, and the award show had its own fair share of ups and downs.

Event management

There were a lot of stunning performances this year, from H.E.R.’s dazzling instrumentals and vocals to Lil Nas X’s collaboration stage with Jack Harlow for their hit song, “Industry Baby”. However, one puzzling choice the Grammys made this year was placing the performances of the most popular artists, such as Silk Sonic, BTS, Olivia Rodrigo, Lil Nas X, and Billie Eilish, in the first quarter of the show. This was, to say the least, a very confusing move by the Grammys, as many people believe all the hype and energy was put at the beginning, leaving little momentum for grand performances at the end as would usually be expected. 

Ukraine president message

Perhaps the most surprising bout in the show, the message from the president of Ukraine was an event few will forget. Around halfway through the show, an on-screen video message was shown, displaying the president of Ukraine discussing the importance of music and seeking support for the people of his country during their ongoing war. Although this message was very important, many people believed it was a bit misplaced for an award show. 

The Hosting

The host of this years’ Grammys, Trevor Noah, was quite honestly, one of the better Grammys hosts of the recent years. He kept the audience thoroughly engaged throughout the show and even made a few humorous quips regarding recent events (aka the Oscars debacle with Will Smith). His interviews were for the most part insightful, but it’s safe to say he did have some questionable moments; his recitation of the Squid Game theme song to BTS was… to say the least, questionable. Because not only did Trevor Noah recite the Squid Game song, he did so in a bad accent, and then proceeded to ask whether his Korean was good enough to travel at a Korean airport. Noah faced backlash for this moment, as many viewers thought this was an inappropriate joke that could come off as potentially racist. However, Trevor Noah made it clear that he had no such intentions, and even went so far as to gush over the band on his Twitter later that night.

Award distribution

There were plenty of memorable award moments in the Grammys this year, with Olivia Rodrigo getting Best New Artist, Silk Sonic gaining both Record and Song of the Year, and many more awards. One very talked-about award was the Best Pop/Duo Performance, which went to Doja Cat and SZA, making it their first. Some people, however, expected BTS to win, and made declarations of the Grammys being biased towards western artists. Although there is no sure way of validating this, the fact that BTS and other non-western artists often can be seen outselling the artists the Grammys usually tend to award calls to question the criteria the Recording Academy really uses to judge these categories. Despite this, this year saw a near record number of POC artists being both recognized and awarded, with the Artist of the Year award going to a Black artist for the first time since 2008.

Overall, the 2022 Grammys were fairly in the middle, with both high and low points. Although event management could have been a bit better, the stunning performances and solid diversity through the awards was a major change for the Grammys stage, and really begs the question, could this be a step in the right direction for the show?