The American Music Awards (AMAs) seemed more like an anti-Trump protest rally than a music awards show. Will the Grammys become the same thing, just bigger?
Popular musicians used to be an apolitical bunch. Now, the music community has steered virulently anti-Trump, with a few notable exceptions. But the list of anti-Trump singers and performers is voluminous, and highly vocal.
The music industry’s position was amply evident at Sunday night’s American Music Awards (AMAs). Outright protests and comedic bits were non-stop. Some scripted, others definitely unscripted.
Many artists tried to steer clear, but a surprisingly high number didn’t.
And it’s not just the AMAs. High-profile, AMA-style protests are being complemented by other well-watched performances, most notably Hamilton. Even Kanye West used his elevated ‘Life of Pablo’ stage to go political, with a 40-minute pro-Trump lecture.
All of which brings us to the upcoming 2017 Grammys, easily the largest music awards showcase. The event is slated for mid-February, and yes, a lot can happen in a few months.
Will the 59th annual Grammys become another anti-Trump political rally?
It looks like the Recording Academy, which runs the show, is trying to avoid that outcome. After all, nearly half of Americans voted for Trump, and they watch more TV. Perhaps that was the thinking behind the selection of James Cordon, who now has difficult task of hosting the most politically charged Grammys in history.
Corden, whose face is on national television every night, seems like the safe choice. His ‘Carpool Karaoke’ has been a feel good series, even a break from the nasty, politically combat of 2016. It’s a more familiar, safe face. And he didn’t f–k up the Tony’s. “We see it every night on CBS, every day on YouTube, and audiences are still talking about his acclaimed performance hosting the Tony’s last June,” commented Jack Sussman, Executive Vice President of Specials, Music, and Live Events at CBS Entertainment, host of the event.
Meanwhile, other non-Trump controversies are also creeping in. Just recently, Frank Ocean blasted the event as ‘racist,’ while Kanye West threatened to boycott the Grammys on Ocean’s behalf.
All of which greatly increases the chances of artists speaking up, off script. That was the case with the AMAs, an otherwise boring awards overwhelmed by pressing politics.
The 2017 Grammy Awards are scheduled for Sunday, February 12th at 8 pm ET on CBS.