Grammys Move Show Date Amid Omicron Surge
The 64th annual awards show was postponed for the second year in a row.
The Recording Academy is postponing the 64th annual Grammy Awards due to the spreading COVID-19 omicron variant, the organization announced Wednesday (Jan. 5). The event was originally set for Jan. 31 at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, but will now move to spring — possibly April — sources say. It may take place in a different venue or even out of Los Angeles.
This is the second year in a row that the Grammys have been postponed due to COVID-19. Last year’s show was originally set for Jan. 31, 2021, but on Jan. 5, 2021 it was delayed to March 14 due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles. At that time, the show was also relocated from Staples Center (the former name of Crypto.com Arena) to the nearby Los Angeles Convention Center, which allowed for less crowding.
Wednesday’s decision comes after several intense days and nights for the Recording Academy, the show’s producers, CBS, Crypto.com Arena and artist managers who have been locked in conversation about if the show should move. Sources tell Billboard that the Recording Academy tried to hold to the Jan. 31 date, in part because most of the talent had already been locked in, but that some managers felt it was better to move the show. Initially there were thoughts of moving to May or June, but that will conflict with when many artists are hopefully able to get back on the road. The only consensus right now is that the show will take place in the spring, sources say.
The academy and CBS are now tasked with trying to find an open date that works both in terms of finding a venue that can give the Grammys the several days it needs for set-up and rehearsals and the show, as well as one that works for CBS and doesn’t conflict with already scheduled premier television events, including other awards shows. The situation is complicated by venues, including Crypto.com Arena, that host NBA and NHL teams dealing with their teams possibly being in the playoffs in the spring and having to leave those dates open. Sources say that organizers are looking at a number of scenarios, in and outside of Los Angeles and also where artists would be comfortable going.
The 2021 show on March 14 was the latest in the calendar year that the Grammys have been held since 1972. If the 2022 Grammys slide into April, it would be the first time the Grammys have been held in that month since 1965, when the seventh annual Grammy Awards were held on April 13.
Trevor Noah, host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, hosted last year’s show and is also set to host this year’s show.
Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason told Billboard late last year that the organization wanted to move back to full capacity, in part for the revenue from ticket sales that helps fund educational and advocacy efforts, as well as MusiCares. The academy lost that money last year with the scaled-down show.
The MusiCares gala, set for Jan. 29 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and Clive Davis and the Recording Academy’s Pre-Grammy Gala, set for Jan. 30 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills are also postponed. Joni Mitchell is the person of the year honoree for the MusiCares gala. Rob Stringer, Sony Music Group chairman, is the 2022 Grammy Salute to Industry Icons recipient at the Pre-Grammy Gala.
The telecast will be produced by Fulwell 73 Productions for the Recording Academy. Ben Winston, Jesse Collins and Raj Kapoor are executive producers; Kapoor also serves as showrunner. Jeannae Rouzan Clay joins the team as co-executive producer.
Hamish Hamilton, who succeeded Louis J. Horvitz as director last year, is set to return as director for the second year.
This year’s Grammy nominations were announced on Nov. 23, 2021. Jon Batiste is the top nominee with 11 nods, followed by Doja Cat, H.E.R., and Justin Bieber with eight nods each. This year marks the first time that the Grammys have had 10 nominees in each of their so-called Big Four categories – album, record and song of the year plus best new artist.