Lights, Camera, Action: Students react to socially-distanced Grammys


Photo credit: Vaughan Anoa'i

In this picture on February 10, 2019, the Grammys was hosted at the Staples Center. However, this year the Grammys aired the 63rd show on March 14 at. Students shared their opinions towards how the Grammys went with limited amount of audience members due to COVID-19.

By Nyah Fernandez, Multimedia Editor

During the Grammys, stars from left and right were dressed in fashionable, sparkling outfits with color-coordinated masks while taking precaution from COVID-19 with tables spread out across the Los Angeles Convention Center. Due to COVID-19, only some famous musical artists were present and there was no live audience, but that didn’t stop the awards from happening. The Grammys were hosted by Trevor Noah through CBS on March 14 lasting roughly three and a half hours.

In an article by New York Times, the article noted the Grammys’ television audience for 2021 fell to 8.8 million viewers which is a new low for the annual award show and a 53% drop compared with last year’s show, which drew 18.7 million viewers. Archer junior Chidimma Nwafor, however, felt the show did not stray that much from a typical in-person show.

“It was still really high energy because there was no audience they had a lot of people in and they also had like the actual performers and nominees in the audience,” Nwafor said. “Trevor Noah, the host, did a really good job of making sure that the whole show was high energy. So, no, I wouldn’t say it wasn’t that different, and it was still really good.

Ninth grader Anaiya Asmougha differed from Nwafor’s opinion in that she felt that the Grammys had a “great show” but that the energy was different since there was no live audience to react to the host or presenters’ jokes. Asmougha noted since COVID-19 affected the number of people that could attend, it made the reactions of jokes or speeches a little less lively than it would be. The show decided to have fans on zoom cheering artists, host and nominees on.

“I definitely feel that the energy was different because the people onstage build off of the audience, and the energy is like bounced off from the audience to the performer,” Asmougha said. “When the host tells a joke and you can’t hear the audience laugh It was kind of like an ‘eh’ moment and the applause was kind of quiet so it wasn’t as hyped up this year but it was still fun to watch.”

Artists such as Bad BunnyCardi BBTSDoja CatBillie EilishRoddy Rich and Harry Styles still joined to perform for the viewers even in a mainly virtual setting. Although there were many performances during the Grammys, Nwafor felt that a key performance that stood out to her was DaBaby’s performance because of the message it brought to the stage. DaBaby sang his song “Rockstar” with Roddy Ricch. “Rockstar” was also nominated for Record of the Year, Best Melodic Rap Performance and Best Rap Song.

“This song was one that I hadn’t heard yet but the reason that it was so empowering, is because the message around was growing up black, police brutality and fighting for one’s rights,” Nwafor said. “There was a speaker who had said although this year was hard for black people, it’s been hard for 400 years, and I feel like his performance as a whole was definitely one of the things that caught my eye.”

Senior Jessica Tuchin’s said that she was amazed by Billie Eilish taking home five Grammys last year and still winning Grammy’s in 2021. From an article by Rolling Stone, in 2020 Eilish won categories in “Best Pop Vocal Album for When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, Best New Artist, Album of the Year for When We All Fall Asleep and Record and Song of the Year for “Bad Guy.” This year Eilish took home Grammy for Record of the Year for “Everything I wanted.”

“I mean I’m heavily biased but my favorite moment from the Grammys last year was when Billie Eilish just swept the floor with receiving five Grammys, and now she has seven Grammys, which is awesome,” Tuchin said. “To be able to see and watch her grow up from behind the screen, it’s really cool to see how much success she’s gotten in terms of the Grammys. I have loved her for years so to see her perform at the Grammys and also win two Grammys after her amazing success last year was wonderful.”

At the Grammys, some winners of the awards for this year were “Album of the Year” which was won by Taylor Swift, “Best New Artist” that was won by Megan Thee Stallion, Best Pop Vocal Album was won by Dua Lipa, and Best R&B Performance was won by Beyoncé.

“A couple of my favorite artists did win a couple of nominations such as Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé won a nomination for their song ‘Savage,’ Nwafor said. “Beyoncé actually broke history because she is officially the highest number of both male and female to ever win the most amount of Grammys. I think she’s at 29 Grammys and no male or female singer, rapper artist period has ever gotten that many. So tonight, Beyoncé broke history with that so that was definitely a moment.”

One specific moment that Asmougha said she loved from the Grammys this year was within Eilish’s acceptance speech in which Eilish praised fellow artist Megan Thee Stallion. She felt that coming together as a supportive community of musical artists is “spectacular.”

“It wasn’t this year but the year when Adele won a Grammy and dedicated it to Beyoncé, really made me smile so much, especially from a white woman saying that a Black woman deserved her award it was just really empowering,” Asmougha said. “I was just in such shock and the fact that Billie Eilish did it this year with Megan Thee Stallion and it shows how all the white women are just giving their love to the black lady, saying ‘You deserve this Grammy because your music was so much better,’ and I thought that was really cool.”