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Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Grammys Remove 31 Award Categories, Remain Utterly Irrational

Posted By on Thu, Apr 7, 2011 at 8:24 AM

A totem of absurdity
  • A totem of absurdity

​You might think it irrational, pointless, and shallow to

waste one's energy getting upset about music awards shows, but last February's

Grammy Awards filled us with such bubbling rage, we almost threw the cat

at the TV.

It wasn't Cee-Lo's chicken outfit that did it. It wasn't

even Katy Perry on that goddamn swing or Barbara Streisand doing her best to

bore us out of remembering what a valuable artist she once was.

No, our main beef initially lay with the fact that the Grammys

were persisting with having both Song Of The Year and Record Of The

Year awards. Which -- unless you are a crack-smoker -- are clearly the same thing.

Was this some kind of elaborate hoax? An in-joke? Or just an evil plot to make

the world feel like it was taking crazy pills? We didn't know, either.

Then, when both awards went to the same artist -- Lady-bastard-Antebellum, to add insult to injury -- it felt as if the Recording

Academy was leaning down into our

tiny, confused faces, cackling like a gigantic super-villain and just plain

mocking us. We pledged, henceforth, to never pay attention to this silly

awards ceremony ever again.

But, as we all know, "ever again" in music-blogger years is about

seven weeks, so when the Grammy's announced yesterday that it's they were cutting 31 categories

for next year's awards, we couldn't help but sit up and ask "Doesn't that only

leave about nine?"

No, no, dear readers. Turns out, the Grammy's gave out a whopping 109 awards this year. Next year it'll only be 78... Phew!

Except, wait a second... Doesn't that still seem like a lot to you? Surely the point of awards is to publicly tell someone -- using the bizarre communications tool of a shiny statuette (we genuinely would like to know who came up with that) -- that they are the best of the best. If there's 78 awards going out annually, that doesn't really feel like the best of the best. It feels like weird music industry code for being terrified about leaving someone out. And 109! What on earth could all those be for?

Well, helpfully, the Recording Academy has posted a handy comparative chart showing us all the categories of this year alongside all the categories we can expect next year. 

While we applaud the move to stop separating the men from the women in certain categories (it's not like this was ever boxing, people), we do have to wonder aloud why the categories remain so bloody long-winded? Why do we need a Best R&B Performance and a Best Traditional R&B performance? It's all R&B, isn't it?

And if New Age, Alternative, Reggae, Pop, Comedy, and Spoken Word are limited to only having a Best Album category, why the bejesus should Dance get a Best Recording one as well? Why are Gospel and Contemporary Christian lumped together when it comes to Performance but given separate categories from each other for Song and Album awards? 

There is still virtually nothing rational or sane about the structure of these awards.

We had a look and figured out how they could trim it down to 45 categories without leaving anyone out -- and it took us about five minutes. So why don't they? Probably because the Academy likes making its job look far more complicated and important than it actually is.

Oh, and yes. Joy of joys -- at the 2012 54th Grammy Awards, we can still look forward to tearing our hair out through both Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year categories.

We will stop being annoyed when they can tell us what the difference is.

Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown, follow Rae Alexandra @Raemondjjjj, and like us at

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Rae Alexandra


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