UPDATED: As expected, the Grammy Awards have been postponed due to coronavirus-related concerns, an Academy spokesperson has confirmed to Variety. No new date has been confirmed as of yet.
While the 2022 show had been moving full speed ahead to take place on Jan. 31 before a full audience at its traditional venue, the Crypto.com Arena (formerly known as the Staples Center) in downtown Los Angeles, the recent Covid-19 surge has caused the postponement or cancellation of multiple events across the country. Sources tell Variety that even though the Crypto.com Arena has a basketball or hockey game or a concert booked nearly every night until mid-April, enough artists and executives voiced reluctance about appearing to convince the Academy to postpone the show.
Sources close to the situation also tell Variety that the show will probably move to April or May, which would seem to rule out holding it at the Crypto.com Arena. The Grammys traditionally require a 10-day-plus lockout of the venue in which they are held, and according to the Crypto.com Arena’s schedule, another such opening will not be available at that venue until June or even later, although a scaled-down show is a possibility. The sources added that a rumored move to the Hollywood Bowl also seems unlikely for logistical reasons; holding the event in a different major city — such as Las Vegas, where the Latin Grammys were held in November — is also a possibility.
A joint statement from the Recording Academy and its television partner, CBS, issued on Wednesday reads: “After careful consideration and analysis with city and state officials, health and safety experts, the artist community and our many partners, the Recording Academy and CBS have postponed the 64th annual Grammy Awards show. The health and safety of those in our music community, the live audience and the hundreds of people who work tirelessly to produce our show remains our top priority. Given the uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant, holding the show on January 31st simply contains too many risks. We look forward to celebrating Music’s Biggest Night on a future date, which will be announced soon.”
Grammy Week events, such as the MusiCares Person of the Year concert, honoring Joni Mitchell, and the Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala, feting Sony Music chief Rob Stringer, are likely to move to the week before the new date as well, along with other events around the show.
“The Daily Show”‘s Trevor Noah is still scheduled to return as Grammy host this year.
Last year’s show — which ironically was also scheduled for Jan. 31 — was moved up six weeks to March 14, after a holiday-season virus spike in Southern California. Ultimately, the 2021 Grammys took place in a scaled-down, tasteful setting at the Los Angeles Convention Center before small, rotating groups of nominees that changed every 45 minutes. It featured a combination of live and pre-recorded performances from Taylor Swift, BTS, Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, Bad Bunny, Silk Sonic, Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B and more, and received largely positive reviews. Most Grammy Week events were canceled, although MusiCares presented a scaled-down virtual show and the Clive party took place in two, five-hour-long installments, with the legendary executive interviewing such luminaries as Mitchell and Bruce Springsteen while showing classic clips of his favorite live performances across the decades.
Sources tell Variety that the Academy and CBS are hoping for a full show with a live audience; the Grammys generate millions of dollars in revenue, and obviously drew in just a fraction of a normal year’s amount in 2021.
The 2022 Grammy nominee list is led by Jon Batiste with 11 nods, followed by Justin Bieber, Doja Cat and H.E.R. with eight apiece. Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo followed with seven nominations each. The show will be hosted for a second consecutive year by “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah.
Jesse Collins, Raj Kapoor and Ben Winston will serve as executive producers, with Kapoor taking over for Winston this year as showrunner. Jeannae Rouzan Clay joins the team as co-executive producer. Hamish Hamilton will return as director.
Variety will have more on the situation as it develops.