Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Grammys: Fewer Envelopes, Please

We note with some regret the reduced number of categories for the Grammy Awards this year. The Washington Post reports:

What, you didn’t notice? The annual awards — taking place on Sunday in Los Angeles — have eliminated 31 categories, scaling back from 109 to 78.

And it’s still way too big ...

For artists who might win in the categories that were trimmed, a Grammy nomination alone could help keep a musical career afloat until retirement. (R&B, classical and American roots lost four categories in the reduction. Pop, rock, country and Latin each lost three. And best Hawaiian album, best Native American album and best rock or rap gospel album categories were eliminated altogether.)

To wit, both "Best Traditional Folk Album" and "Best Contemporary Folk Album" have been combined into one "Best Folk Album," which hardly does justice to this genre. The recently added "Best Cajun/Zydeco Album" is gone, its contestants lumped in with other American ethnic styles as part of a "Best Regional Roots Music Album" category. Cajun artist C J Chenier shares the list of nominees with polka giant Jimmy Sturr and rocker-turned-ukulele-artist Eddie Vedder. (Say goodbye to Sturr's near-perfect polka winning streak.) On the other hand, "Best Americana Album" gives at least some recognition to the expanding range of genre in the recording industry over the years, which is why the number of categories expanded to begin with.

You can see the list of nominees, as well as the winners, at the website, without having to sit through the usual skank-fest tonight on CBS. The bio piece on Whitney Houston's tragic demise, showing on NBC tonight, is actually an improvement.

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