2019 American Music Awards

Daytime Emmys' Rule Change Ends Controversial Shortcut to EGOT Status

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions
Cynthia Erivo attends the 73rd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 9, 2019 in New York City. 

An Emmy for basically promoting a Broadway musical and its cast album on morning TV? That seemed excessive.

The Daytime Emmys announced some category changes on Thursday (Oct. 31), the most notable being the elimination of their award for outstanding musical performance in a daytime program. Suddenly, the path to an EGOT just got a lot harder — as it should be.

The Daytime Emmys presented that award for just four years, but in that short time it enabled five performers -- Cynthia Erivo, Ben Platt, Rachel Bay Jones, Katrina Lenk and Ari'el Stachel — to pull within one award of claiming EGOT status.

All five won a Tony, a Grammy and a Daytime Emmy for their work in, and in support of, a single Broadway show.

Platt won a 2017 Tony for best actor in a musical for playing the title character in Dear Evan Hansen. Then he won a Grammy for best musical theater album as one of that show's eight "principal soloists." Then he and his castmates won a Daytime Emmy in the aforementioned category for a spot on NBC's Today.

Platt's Dear Evan Hansen co-star, Jones, also won all three of these awards, with her Tony coming for best featured actress in a musical for playing Evan's mother, Heidi Hansen.

The year before, Erivo won all three awards. She won a 2016 Tony for best actress in a musical for her role as Celie Harris Johnson in The Color Purple, a Grammy as one of the three principal soloists (the number varies from album to album) on the cast album, with the cast taking a Daytime Emmy for a spot on Today.

Lenk and Stachel also won all three awards. Each won 2018 Tonys for their performances in The Band's Visit, a Grammy as one of four principal soloists on the cast album and a Daytime Emmys for a spot on Today.

I'm all for talented performers winning awards, but this seemed a little much, as I argued here a few months ago. The Tony? Absolutely. A Grammy for the cast album to the same show? Sure, though giving awards to eight principal soloists from one show might be overdoing it. An Emmy for basically promoting the musical and its cast album on morning TV? That seemed excessive.

To their credit, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences -- which dispenses the Daytime Emmys -- eliminated the category, which it introduced in 2016 as outstanding musical performance in a talk show/morning program. (The first year it went to pop star Rachel Platten for a performance of her top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hit "Fight Song" on ABC's Good Morning America).

These five performers get to keep their Daytime Emmys, as they should. It's not their fault that the Daytime Emmys made it too easy for them.

All five performers just need an Oscar to become EGOTs. That could conceivably happen for Erivo on Feb. 9 when the 92nd annual Academy Awards are presented at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. She could win for best actress for playing the title role of Harriet Tubman in Harriet, and/or for best original song for co-writing "Stand Up," which she performs in that film.

A win in either category would enable Erivo to make history: She will be 33 on Oscar night, which would make her the youngest performer ever to become an EGOT. That title is currently held by Robert Lopez (Coco, Frozen), who was 39 when he became an EGOT in 2014. John Legend was also 39, but closer to 40, when he matched the feat in 2018.

The 47th Daytime Emmy Awards will take place at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, Calif. in three separate shows on June 12-14, 2020.


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