The Grammys’ popularity contest

Joe Shearer

I tried thinking of some witty way to state the obvious. I went over it a few times in my head, and I kept arriving at the same, juvenile, three-word conclusion; the Grammys suck.

OK, so it’s not articulate, but this awards show has to be the mother of all bad awards shows, at least out of the ones carrying any prestige. There’s no nice way to say it. Every year, it’s a popularity contest between soulless pop stars, over-produced rock bands and a few dinosaurs thrown in for bad measure.

The truth is if you don’t listen to pop radio or frequent the music-video channels (Are those still in existence?), your fantasy nominees are probably on the outside looking in.

Who’s representing you punk rockers, metalheads, indie-heads or bleeding-heart emo kids with your heads stuck under your tear-soaked pillows?

I’ll tell you one thing: It ain’t the Grammys.

To be fair, the Grammys has it the hardest out of the big three awards ceremonies. Working in multimedia retail since 2002, I can tell you the amount of CDs released in a week compared to the amount of new movies in theaters or television shows isn’t even a contest. I couldn’t find any exact ratio, but I’ll go out on a limb and say it’s a lot, to a little. Very daring of me, I know.

Given the ultimate selection of thousands of potential nominees, one would think these judges could amass a respectable list of nominees, but instead we’re force-fed the crap we’ve heard through radio, in shopping malls and on television all year round.

A similar yet opposite effect takes place with the Oscars. Here, we have an awards show that takes relatively obscure movies released in the final month of the year and essentially snubs the other 11 months.

The Emmys might be the happy medium in all this, but honestly, it’s a cakewalk. There are few enough TV shows that if one’s good enough, there’s a decent chance it’ll be recognized. Even cult shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or “Arrested Development” stood a chance.

What’s my point in all this? Out of these three awards shows, the Grammys is the only one to consistently and mainly go with the mainstream. I’m not saying the mainstream is always bad. Amy Winehouse, the White Stripes and Feist are very deserving of their nominations, but where’s the Juno of the Grammys?

Unfortunately, the low-budget sleeper is something completely foreign and freakish to the in-crowd of Grammy lore.

Joe Shearer is a senior magazine journalism major and an all reporter. Contact him at [email protected].