Grammys or Scammys: Is committee voting ruining award shows?

Entertainment column by ReaganRosenbaum

Award shows: you either love them or hate them. While some people see them as opportunities for artists to make a big publicity stunt, others will never pass up a good chance to sit in front of the TV and watch the pop culture moments people will be talking about for the next five years unfold in front of them. 

Award shows are packed with elaborate outfits, spectacular performances and speeches that will leave the audience in a state of astonishment. But no award show can be fully complete without a dollop of controversy. Sometimes it’s one actor slapping another actor in the face, and other times it’s someone being robbed blind of an award they should have won.

What had Twitter in an absolute frenzy the moments after the 2023 Grammy Awards came to a close was regarding the snubs. Some of the night’s biggest awards, such as Album of the Year (AOTY) and Song of the Year (SOTY), were awarded to the underdogs in their respective categories.

Beyoncé stans were convinced Renaissance would be the album that would finally put the AOTY trophy comfortably on her bookshelf. Swifties across the globe were just as shocked as everyone in the audience when Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)(Taylor’s Version)(From the Vault)” was snubbed in favor of Bonnie Raitt’s “Just Like That.”

These shocking results caused many people to question the credibility of the Recording Academy. But contrary to popular belief, it’s not just a bunch of people with no musical bone in their body and nothing better to do than voting for these highly coveted awards.

In reality, becoming a voting member requires applicants to partake in a process similar to submitting a college application. They have to have the music credentials to show they are aware of some music theory, and they must obtain two strong recommendations from others in the industry. 

Once they have these things, they can submit their applications and cross their fingers that the Recording Academy is satisfied with their accomplishments. Oh, they also have to pay $100/month to maintain their membership.

So, unless you’ve had the honor to help an artist produce a track that’s been released on platforms or have various connections within the industry and have the means to pay $100 to keep your spot on the panel, you’re pretty much out of luck when it comes to voting for the Grammys. But fortunately, nothing stops you from creating 37 different email accounts to vote for the VMAs or the People’s Choice Awards.

However, just because there is such a prestigious requirement to vote for the Grammys does not mean that the members are immune to biases. One would think that a songwriter such as Taylor Swift would have won Song of the Year, an award honoring the songwriting, but there very well could be other factors at play that the general public will never know.

Having a committee to vote on such coveted awards is the best way to ensure that everyone is being judged with the same criteria. One artist isn’t getting more votes simply because their fans managed to flood the voting forms more aggressively than others. 

A committee also allows for knowledgeable people to stick their hands in areas of music that don’t normally receive attention. The general public might not be aware that there is a whole other ceremony for the smaller awards occurring right before the main event due to the sheer number of awards they give out. 

So, while you may be upset that Harry Styles won AOTY over Beyoncé, just remember that Beyoncé is still the most nominated and most awarded artist in Grammy history.

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