Los Angeles (AFP)
Lizzo the exuberant black rapper, Billie Eilish the teenager and her dark universe or the musical UFO Lil Nas X. The Grammy Awards, prestigious awards of American music, are announced very disputed Sunday and the winners should make the spotlight new talents, especially women.
Even if all eyes will be on the stage of the famous Staples Center in Los Angeles, the show and the glitter may not be enough to completely forget the serious accusations of harassment and irregularities brought against the Grammy Awards by his ex- patron, recently suspended from office.
Just days before the annual music industry high mass, Deborah Dugan accused the Recording Academy of discrimination and harassment, further claiming that her predecessor had raped an artist and that some votes for Grammy nominations were tainted "conflicts of interest".
Neil Portnow, his predecessor, and the organization flatly denied.
An independent investigation was opened, but many record professionals deplored the damage to the reputation of the Grammy Awards.
- "Make things happen" -
"The timing is a shame, and this whole situation is a shame," Michael McDonald, president emeritus of MusiCares, the charity branch of the Academy, told AFP on the sidelines of the annual gala held on Friday evening.
"This casts a shadow over all the candidates, present or past," he lamented, insisting however on the need for the Recording Academy to be self-critical in order to "make things change".
Deborah Dugan had taken over as head of the Academy in August, becoming the first woman in history to hold the post. She claimed to be the victim of reprisals because she wanted to "change things" after 17 years of presidency of Neil Portnow.
The latter had been strongly criticized for remarks deemed sexist: he had declared that women must "move up a gear" to justify the fact that few of them had obtained awards during the 2018 edition of the Grammy Awards.
From this point of view, the 2020 vintage should be a success.
Women dominate the list of nominations, in particular in the four queen categories (album of the year, recording of the year, song of the year and revelation of the year), where they are at least on par with the men.
- 84 awards -
In addition to Lizzo, in pole position with eight nominations, Billie Eilish (six), Ariana Grande (five), Lana Del Rey, Beyoncé and the singer HER also fared well.
According to the specialized site Gold Derby and many other American media, Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande and the rapper Lil Nas X, phenomenon of 2019 with his hit "Old Town Road", should share the most prominent prices.
The exuberant Lizzo, 31, and the somber Billie Eilish, 18, embody two styles very far apart: on the one hand a sparkling young black woman, with colorful clips and bursts of voice; on the other a white teenager with a soft and heady voice.
The two artists each represent in their own way a mixture of musical genres typical of current trends, which play with traditional categories.
This is the case with "Old Town Road", with its mix of country banjos and hip-hop basses, which makes almost unanimous predictions in the category of "recording of the year" (rewarding the production).
The gala evening of the Grammy Awards must present as every year twenty musical numbers, among which Aerosmith, Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, Camila Cabello, the Jonas Brothers, Cyndi Lauper, Lil Nas X, Lizzo, Demi Lovato, Meek Mill, Run-DMC, Gwen Stefani and rapper YG.
This year again, Alicia Keys will play the mistress of ceremonies for a show which will notably offer a version of "Old Town Road" by the K-pop group BTS, country star Billy Ray Cyrus and DJ Diplo.
The ceremony should start at 12:30 p.m. Los Angeles time (8:30 p.m. GMT) but it will not be broadcast until 5:00 p.m. on television.
Previously, you will have to be content with the Grammy's website (www.grammy.com) and above all have patience: no less than 84 awards must be awarded, some in quite disconcerting categories ("best album with immersive sound") , "best album accompaniment booklet" ...).
© 2020 AFP