“Outrage” is the entire reason to watch an awards show in the 21st century. It’s the entire 2016 political cycle stuffed into 180 seconds that you force yourself to watch Clockwork Orange-style on a loop for 3 hours. Bigotry! Privilege! Idiocy! Sexism! All the agita of the human experience, expertly manicured, presented, and broadcast live from Los Angeles directly into your eye holes in High Definition as presented by Samsung! The only measure of worth in 2017 is the quality of #content something produces, and The Grammys is the Hope Diamond.
Frankly all award shows are, which is how the CMA’s spins into Monday morning quarterbacking about Beyoncé “isn’t country enough” to play with the fucking Dixie Chicks. That’s like if Rosenberg went on Hot 97 to complain about Macklemore being “too white” to do songs from Hamilton. Shut the fuck up. And yet, I find myself in a weird position of preempting the show with the hottest take you will read in 2017: The 59th Annual Grammy Awards will be actually, honest-to-god, good.
The Grammys are already good in a way, because they have made it at least this far before fucking up. Look at these nominees! What a fuckin’ time to be alive when D.R.A.M. and a dude named Lil’ Yachty get nominated for a song named “Broccoli,” and not in a children’s category. Or Desiigner, a dude who’s manager couldn’t pick him out of a lineup until he blasted to a #1, who was tapped for “Panda”. Solange’s “Cranes in the Sky” was a short-lister among critics for song of the year so it feels so wildly out of place as a nominee in a category that usually features Chris Brown. A guy had to forgo eligibility because he gave away his music (because the Grammys are bad), so the Grammys changed their rules to give Chance the Rapper a shot (because the Grammys are….?).
Or my personal favorite, a nominee for a songwriting credit (of all things) which starts thusly:
“To all my southside niggas that know me best, I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex.”
Oh, fuck yes. To have “Famous” nominated a year after the Grammy Golden Goose Taylor Swift threw shade at the very song on the very same stage is fucking incredible. Could you imagine if it won? Or if, (oh god please), he performed it? There’s no Taylor Swift nominations[i], and a, uh, “recent lack of stability” in the Kanye West camp, so there’s a chance. A CHANCE. And if, a day short of a year after the release of The Life of Pablo, Rihanna[ii] starts with the Nina Simone on that enormous stage, I will literally cry. I’ll go back to church. Nothing could ever spike the self-congratulatory arm of the recording industry and their hard-earned reputation of blatant racism and hypocrisy into the core of the Earth as much as Kanye doing “Famous” at the Grammys. Jesus, I am so hard right now.
And then there’s the shit you already know is coming. Bruno Mars is gonna do “1999” in the tribute to Prince, and buddy, you’re gonna fuckin’ love it[iii]. The depth chart of talent for that segment makes the Warriors look like the Iowa State basketball team. Bruno Mars, John Legend, Anderson .Paak, The Weeknd, (all confirmed performers!) plus D’Angelo, BJ The Chicago Kid, and Vic Mensa in the on-deck circle, fuck it, throw the Knowles sisters in there with Chance and pray for Frank Ocean… It’ll be incredible – hell, the whole dead artists segment will be incredible. Who will be tapped to perform the cover of “Blackstar?” Could Tom Waits show up to do a Leonard Cohen song? Will Merle Haggard even make the en memoria segment?
And of course there’s the main event: Beyoncé, who is poised to crush Adele. The sacrifices of Hillary Clinton were rewarded with a run at the only job she’s ever wanted; Beyoncé’s relentless efforts have been met with radio silence (though also a cheating husband). No one has worked harder yet come in for less praise. Racism? Sexism? You bet. But the Grammys dapped Kendrick last year, they do not want to look like the CMA’s, 25 was by-and-large trash, and most important, 20 years from now, we will remember 2016 for Lemonade. If there is any justice, she’ll take the stage and do “Daddy Lessons” with the Dixie Chicks again just to shame the awards by doing the one song that was shut out from contention, and if she trolls 60% of the country in the process then so be it. This is her shit.
And yet I’m completely consoled in the alternative, because in the absolute worst case, if Beyoncé is totally shut out, the last thing you’ll see before the telecast cuts to commercial will be the attendees frantically fleeing the theater as flaming curtains plummet into the seats and lighting rigs crash behind the man still on the stage; the one man who Gets It, the one man who talks about awards shows with clapping hands emojis between all his words: Kanye West, singing “Famous” into a dead microphone and pouring gasoline into the orchestra pit while the burning roof collapses.
And it’ll be some great content.
Join your old chums the #WorstSongBracket boys, @nss_ds and @rhythmmethod on their loosely organized 1st Annual 59th Annual The Grammy Awards coverage, culminating with a live blog on Sunday! Stay tuned to Gawrker (sidespin.kinja.com) for all the details, and be sure to follow @worstsongbracke for all the latest updates
[i] Billboard has already said she isn’t performing, but had no comment on whether she was attending.
[ii] Drake isn’t there and most of Rihanna’s nominations are duets, I’m just saying
[iii] I have an obligation to, well, myself, to point out that I wrote this before Bruno Mars was announced as the guy who would do, well, exactly this.