The Grammys are coming up in a few nights, but it’s looking more and more like music’s biggest night will be missing some of music’s biggest names. In the recent past, the show has alienated a number of big stars, and it’s failed to reward landmark works from extremely popular artists. And so now we’re looking at a show where many of them won’t bother to perform, or even to show up.
Earlier this week, the news came out that Ariana Grande, once slotted to perform, had backed out of the show over disagreements with producers. Grande to perform her single “7 Rings,” and the producers wanted to dictate which song she’d sing. And now, we’re learning that a number of other stars have outright declined offers to perform.
In a New York Times report about the show’s crisis of relevance, longtime Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich says that he offered performance slots to Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and Childish Gambino, and that all of them declined. Those artists’ reps wouldn’t say whether they’d even attend the show. All three are up for big awards. Drake and Kendrick are both nominated for Album Of The Year, Record Of The Year, and Song Of The Year, while Childish Gambino is nominated for the latter two. And in the past few years, Kendrick Lamar’s performances have been highlights; his presence will be sorely missed.
Ehrlich tells the Times, “The fact of the matter is, we continue to have a problem in the hip-hop world. When they don’t take home the big prize, the regard of the Academy, and what the Grammys represent, continues to be less meaningful to the hip-hop community, which is sad.”
Meanwhile some other heavyweights will also skip the ceremony. Two-time Album Of The Year winner Taylor Swift, who is up for a couple of awards, will be in London, where she’s filming the movie adaptation of Cats. And even Bradley Cooper, whose Lady Gaga duet “Shallow” is up for both Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year, will be in London for the BAFTAs. (Sadly, we will not get a real-life version of the A Star Is Born moment where Jackson Maine pisses himself onstage at the Grammys.)
The Grammys do have some intriguing performances, but they’re mostly lower-wattage affairs. Kacey Musgraves, Cardi B, Janelle Monaé, Dua Lipa with St. Vincent, Diana Ross, Travis Scott, and Lady Gaga will be among the performers. Also, Post Malone is performing with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, so there’s that.