The 64th high mass of the Grammy Awards meets this Sunday, April 3 in Las Vegas to distribute its prizes, equivalent to the Oscars for the American music industry, with the eclectic jazzman Jon Batiste in pole position in the middle of a pack of pop stars, and the revelation Olivia Rodrigo in ambush.
For the first time in the history of this competition all in lights and glitter, the gala will be held in Las Vegas, the organizers having had to postpone the ceremony initially scheduled for Los Angeles on January 31 because of the pandemic.
Another notable change this year: The Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, regularly accused of favoring white and male artists, increased the number of nominations (from eight to ten) in the four flagship categories of the Grammy Awards to boost the diversity.
Canadian megastar Justin Bieber, social media darling, will be nominated in eight categories, along with Grammy darling HER and rising star Doja Cat, at this gala evening, which will be hosted by comedian Trevor Noah .
Another darling of the Academy, Billie Eilish, freshly Oscar winner with the song of the last James Bond (“No time to die”), will run for seven trophies in total but this time risks finding the even younger Olivia Rodrigo on her way. .
At only 19 years old, the great pop sensation launched by the Disney series “High School Musical” is able to repeat the grand slam achieved by Billie Eilish two years ago, by winning the four most prestigious trophies.
It is in any case given as an ultra-favorite in the category “revelation of the year”.
The Kanye case
He didn’t panic Instagram or explode listening records like Olivia Rodrigo, but the big favorite of this 64th edition remains the talented multi-instrumentalist jazzman Jon Batiste, with eleven nominations in total.
Virtuoso pianist, conductor, anti-racist activist and Oscar-winning composer for the music of the animated film “Soul”, Jon Batiste is also well known to the general American public: since 2015, he has been musical director of the very popular TV show “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”.
Descendant of a family of musicians from New Orleans, the 35-year-old artist will defend his album “We Are” and the title “Freedom” in the major categories at the Grammy Awards, but he competes in almost all styles, R&B , jazz, “American roots” (blues, folk, etc.) and even classical, with the added bonus of a nomination for a music video.
The improbable duo formed by pop diva Lady Gaga and nonagenarian crooner Tony Bennett – six nominations in total – could also create a surprise with the cover album “Love For Sale”.
The whimsical Kanye West will also be in the running with his album “Donda” which will face Taylor Swift’s “Evermore”, from which he snatched the microphone in 2009 when she went on stage to receive an award at the MTV Music Awards. The very prolific Taylor Swift did not wish to compete this year at the Grammy Awards with “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)”, a re-recording of her 2008 album which had already won four trophies.
Among the rappers, the competition will pit Kanye West against veteran Nas, J. Cole and Tyler, the Creator, but Drake, who was nominated, asked the Academy to withdraw his nomination, without giving a reason.
His hit album “Certified Lover Boy” had been royally ignored in the generalist categories during the nominations and the artist, very influential and among the most listened to, has repeatedly taken the beak with the Grammy Awards. He accuses them in particular of confining him to the category of rappers because he is black.
The explosives Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, who ignited the Grammy stage last year by rubbing against each other, legs spread on a giant bed for a duet on the hit “WAP”, will face off this time in the “best rap performance” category.
BTS, sacred monsters of K-pop, will defend their planetary success “Butter” but it is their only nomination for the Grammy Awards, where the South Koreans are struggling to impose themselves.
They will perform on stage at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, such as Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eilish, Jon Batiste, HER, Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow.
Will Kanye West be there? As named, he is invited to the room but specialized media have indicated that he is no longer welcome on stage. In question, virulent attacks on social networks against comedian Pete Davidson, in a relationship with his ex-wife Kim Kardashian, and Trevor Noah, which earned “Ye” a brief suspension from Instagram.
A week after the resounding slap of Will Smith during the evening of the Oscars, the organizers of the Grammy Awards could be concerned to prevent a similar incident from spoiling the party.