Volume 96, Issue 57
Friday, January 10, 2003

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Another year, another undeserved Grammy

World Wide Wong
Brian Wong
Web Editor

Gazette file photo
I'D LIKE TO THANK MY... ER... MANAGER." Celine Dion poses after winning one of her many Grammy Awards.

Award shows – we love them, we hate them, we still watch them.

Every year we sit through countless hours of award shows – the Academy Awards, the Emmys, the MTV Video Music Awards, the VH1 Fashion Awards, the People's Choice Awards, the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, etc..

But lately, there's one particular show that gets the most amount of criticism for its questionable choices – the National Academy of Recording Arts and Science's Grammys.

Last Tuesday, nominees for this year's show were announced, which horrified listeners of so-called "quality music with substance." Not only did the top vote-getters include Avril Lavigne, Eminem, Nelly and Ashanti, but apparently our little Avril, who helped read the nominees list, also mispronounced David Bowie's name, which is the ultimate sin.

Like the Oscars, the Grammys are known in their respective industry as being the prestigious award. But people don't complain about the Oscars as much as they do about the Grammys. Perhaps it's because the modern Oscars have embraced independently produced works more than the Grammys; sure, there have been many mainstream Oscar winners like Titanic, Lord of the Rings and Julia Roberts, but rarely do they incite the same type of anger that people feel when they learn that Britney Spears has received a nomination for Best Female Vocal Performance.

So, is it stupid to tune in for three hours of commercialized music? Maybe not.

Yes, award shows exist to sell products by bringing out the biggest and brightest, as well as the freakiest and most whorish, in the world of celebritydom. And marketers and self-promoters take these little shebangs rather seriously – witness Dick Clark's incessant promotion of his American Music Awards during his annual Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve.

But a lot of people who will be watching the Grammys in February are fully aware of the commercial interests surrounding award shows. Some people just watch for mere entertainment. Some don't care that Britney isn't Cecelia Bartoli. Some – gasp! – actually enjoy "Soak Up the Sun."

Although critics have noted that in recent years, the Grammys have tried to win a hipper and younger audience by nominating such artists as Alicia Keys and Radiohead alongside tried, tested and true favourites like Steely Dan and Sheryl Crow, music enthusiasts also know that Grammy voters will still never warm up to smaller artists.

But despite this knowledge, there are still a surprising number of music snobs who bitch about the awards, even when they're already convinced that the Grammys are not an absolute indication of artistic achievement. Is it really necessary to get riled up over the Grammys when they've always been about celebrating popular music?

Perhaps some people are shallow music fans and are easily suckered into watching Celine Dion win another mini golden victrola... what? Celine wasn't nominated this year?! Well, we all know I won't be watching. She was robbed!

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2002 THE GAZETTE