Update: Harvey Mason Jr., chair & interim president/CEO of the Recording Academy; Jack Sussman, executive vice president, specials, music, live events and alternative programming for CBS; and Ben Winston, Grammy Awards executive producer and principal of Fulwell 73 Productions, released the following joint statement on Tuesday (Jan. 5), confirming that the 2021 Grammys have been postponed to March 14.
“After thoughtful conversations with health experts, our host and artists scheduled to appear, we are rescheduling The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards to be broadcast Sunday, March 14, 2021. The deteriorating COVID situation in Los Angeles, with hospital services being overwhelmed, ICUs having reached capacity, and new guidance from state and local governments have all led us to conclude that postponing our show was the right thing to do. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of those in our music community and the hundreds of people who work tirelessly on producing the show. We want to thank all of the talented artists, the staff, our vendors and especially this year’s nominees for their understanding, patience and willingness to work with us as we navigate these unprecedented times.”
The 2021 Grammys, scheduled for Jan. 31, have been postponed due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19, Billboard can confirm.
According to a report from Rolling Stone, the Recording Academy is eyeing a new date in March, which would put the show one month before the 93rd annual Academy Awards, now set to air April 25 from The Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
Holiday gatherings have caused a surge in COVID-19 cases, nationally and especially in Los Angeles, which is now considered the epicenter of the pandemic. Staples Center in Los Angeles has been the home of the Grammys for all but two years since 2000 — though according to reports, the show was already set to move to the smaller LA Convention Center (which is owned by AEG, as is Staples Center) this year. This move is similar to how the recent CMA Awards moved from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville to the smaller Music City Center.
COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on awards shows in the past year. The CMA Awards made an effort to do an in-person show in November, seating just a few people at each table, with guests attempting to socially distance. Despite all the show’s safety protocols, country legend Charley Pride died of COVID-19 one month after he performed at the show. Though it’s not known if his appearance at the show had anything to do with his death — he tested negative days later, after returning home to Texas — it raised questions about whether live awards shows are possible or advisable until this public health nightmare is under control.
The first five Grammy telecasts, from 1971-75, aired in March, but the show has aired in January or February in recent decades. This will be the latest in the calendar year that the show has aired since 1972.