Female Artists Steal the Spotlight at the Semi-Controversial 2021 Grammys

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logo for the 63rd annual Grammy Awards

Patricio Vera Baez, Reporter

The Grammys took place on March 14 after being postponed from its original Jan. 31 date due to COVID-19. The awards ceremony was met with mixed reviews despite having a record low viewership of 9.2 million. This is a sharp decrease from last year’s ceremony which had 18.7 million viewers.

The big winners of the 2021 Grammys night were the female artists who won six of the eight general field awards. The 11-time Grammy winner Taylor Swift pocketed the highly coveted Album of the Year with her surprise album Folklore. This win marked Swift as the first ever female artist to win that award three times. The album had high critical acclaim thanks to Swift’s ability to write introspective and emotional lyrics.

The 19-year-old Billie Eilish pushed her Grammy win count to seven with her Record of the Year winning song Everything I Wanted, which is an impressive feat for an artist who has yet to release a sophomore album. It’s only been a little over a year since she won the Best New Artist award at the 62nd Grammy Awards ceremony. This year cemented Eilish as the next pop superstar and the only Grammy winning artist to record all their music in a bedroom. Eilish is known for exclusively producing her music with Finneas O’Connell who is an eight time Grammy winner that happens to be Eilish’s older brother.

Even Kanye West managed to snag a Grammy after switching genres. His latest album God Is King won Best Contemporary Christian Music Album. His win comes as a surprise as the “Runaway” rapper previously tweeted a video of him urinating on one of his 21 Grammy trophies to show his discontent with The Recording Academy.

The ceremony was met with a few controversies this year starting with the release of the nominations. The Weeknd fans immediately noticed that the 2020 mega-hit “Blinding Lights” nor his album After Hours were nominated for a Grammy, despite the vast commercial success of his work which was eligible for nomination. His viral song is the first in history to spend a whole year in the top ten of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. The same day the list was released, The Weeknd tweeted, “The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency…”

One of the live performances during the awards was met with both praise and controversy. Cardi B’s performance of WAP alongside rap colleague Megan Thee Stallion received criticism for its hyper-sexual lyrics and choreography. The New York Post called the performance “X-rated” as the rappers “writhed, twerked and grinded together on a huge bed.” The Post also called out Cardi B’s hypocrisy with a joke that references an Instagram live where the rapper scrambled to turn off the song after her two year old daughter walked into her room. Critics claimed that Cardi should not censor the song from her child while subjecting other kids to it. The song went viral on TikTok last summer and many underage users were exposed to the highly sexual song and its dance moves.

The performance was also praised for being an anthem for female empowerment. Both Cardi and Megan “gloriously twerked and strutted,” reported CNN. The rappers “owned the stage” while “referencing female empowerment, sexual pride and delivering undoubtedly one of the most memorable Grammy performances of all time.”

Although controversies are not a new thing to the Grammys, The Recording Academy has been steadily losing the trust of music fans for quite some time now. The Academy voters have been accused of snubbing awards from African Americans, corruption and the politicization of the recording arts. One of the most infamous Grammys snubs was 2013’s Best Rap Album Award, which went to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ The Heist over Kendrick Lamar’s critically acclaimed Good Kid, M.A.A.D City.

Other notable highlights include:

-Corpus Christi Tejano-pop legend Selena Quintanilla received Lifetime Achievement Award

-R&B singer H.E.R won Song of the Year with her social justice anthem “I Can’t Breathe”

-Beyonce became woman with most Grammy wins, reaching a total of 28

-Megan Thee Stallion won Best New Artist

-Dua Lipa won Best Pop Vocal album with Future Nostalgia