Award ceremonies have a rich history in bootlicking and money wasting. Whether it’s the Grammys, Academy Awards, Emmys — they’re all meant to be special nights where celebrities give each other a pat on the butt. Sometimes consensually. But in the era of Donald Trump tantrums, award ceremonies have been tanking in quality and viewership. If you thought last year was rough for attention hungry celebrities, you’re in for a treat. This year’s hyper-political Grammys suffered a huge jab to its puffed up underbelly.
Back in New York City for the first time since George W. Bush’s first term and drenched in the politics of the Donald Trump era, last night’s Grammy Awards was rockin’ with multiple wins for a very non-political Bruno Mars and a very, very political Kendrick Lamar. The more than three-and-a half-hour- long CBS show also had an audio book audition cameo by Hillary Clinton, a use or two of the censor button, a lot of U2 and Sting, a powerful Time’s Up speech by Janelle Monáe and an equally powerful performance by Kesha and a chorus of supporters.
With a 12.7/21 in metered market ratings, the Recording Academy’s big hootenanny was also way down from the early numbers from the LA-based February 13, 2017 59th annual show. By way down, I mean a just over 20% decline from last year to what looks to be an all-time low for the ceremony.
People didn’t glue themselves to their TVs watching this celebrity carnival of crappery. Surprisingly, viewers aren’t enticed by their lazy political lecturing of America (see Viewer Ratings for Trump-Bashing Emmys Among the Lowest Ever). A lesson the Grammys apparently has yet to learn. Let us mourn this disappointing moment for the rich and famous.
Of course, this isn’t to say artists shouldn’t feel free to express themselves. They just shouldn’t expect everyone to be fascinated by the same cheap, political hissy fit. Also advertising Hillary’s leathery mug isn’t that great for marketing. Just refer back to her 2016 campaign fail fest.