Technical difficulties upstage music’s biggest night

Ladies Night at the Grammy Awards shine some light on marred production value, causing what should have been a great show to become a debacle.

James McCraw, Online Reporter

The glitz and glamor of the recording industry’s biggest night was in full effect at the 59th Annual Grammys, awarded on Feb. 12 in Los Angeles’ Staples Center. The Grammys are handed out by the Recording Academy to recognize excellence in the recording arts and sciences fields, which include musical and nonmusical forms of recordings. According to the Grammys website, the awards are “awarded by and to artists and technical professionals for artistic or technical achievement, not sales or chart positions”.

This years ceremony had a major plot line: Adele vs. Beyonce, a story more exciting than Batman vs. Superman. Two titans of the industry were going up against each other for the biggest awards of the year; Song of the Year is given for excellence in songwriting of an individual song, Album of the Year is awarded for the total production of an album and Record of the Year is to recognize the total production package of an individual song.

Another storylines coming out of this years awards is the debut of popular Chicago artist Chance the Rapper. He won three out the seven awards he was nominated for for his streaming-first album Coloring Book, including Best Rap Album, Best Rap Performance (for No Problems), and Best New Artist. Chance the Rapper was the first artist to release a streaming-only album and to be nominated for Grammys since the change was made to the Grammy rules just last year. 

The late, great David Bowie’s magnum opus Blackstar, which was released just a couple of weeks before his death last year, was nominated for five Grammys in the Rock category. In a stunning turn of events, it won all five awards it was nominated for, which included Best Rock Song and Best Alternative Album. It was a true honor for the Academy to recognize the brilliance of Bowie and it’s truly a gift that his family will be able to treasure.

In the past few years the televised ceremony has turned more and more into a televised concert and less of an awards show, which might be a byproduct of dropping ratings. Host James Corden did his best to keep the crowd entertained during transition periods, but his opening sequence and cardboard carpool karaoke bit seemed forced and complexing at times. In fact, the best part of the karaoke bit was Beyonce and Jay-Z’s daughter Blue Ivy showing up toward the end and doing the cute kid act, which saved it from the fact that most people he called over didn’t know the words to Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline. In fact, the bit was so forced that it seemed as if Neil Diamond himself didn’t want to sing his own song.

Some of the performances were good. The show started out with the reappearance of Adele singing Hello, in case a viewer has been living under a rock and haven’t heard it yet. Beyonce’s was a bit weird without previously hearing or seeing Lemonade, and Bruno Mars wandered around the stage and excited the studio audience with his latest sultry hit. However, his background singers he’s used for his latest album and appearances are really, really good. Things fell apart during the Metallica and Lady Gaga performance when Metallica’s lead singer James Hetfield began to sing and discovered his microphone wasn’t working, which meant he had to sing with Lady Gaga for the majority of the song.

Later in the telecast, Adele sang again, this time as a tribute to George Michael. Midway through the song, Adele realized that she wasn’t in key for the arrangement and stopped singing, saying she wanted to start over and didn’t want to screw things up in his honor.

So, being Adele, she started again and sang Fast Love. Bruno Mars’ Prince tribute went much smoother, with an appearance from the band The Time. Bruno and his band did an incredible job with their tribute, getting everybody out of their seats and dancing in the aisles.

In the end Adele reigned supreme, beating out Beyonce for the big three awards. However, there was some love for Queen Bey in Adele’s speech, mentioning her love for Lemonade and the importance of female empowerment.

Overall, a ceremony that could have been impressive was marred by bad jokes from the host and way too many sound and technical errors that shouldn’t have happened at an event as esteemed and rehearsed as the Grammys. Perhaps next year, more production practice will make perfect in anticipation for the milestone 60th anniversary.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

James McCraw

Technical difficulties upstage music’s biggest night

by James McCraw time to read: 3 min