Ariana Grande Is Boycotting The Grammys Over Producers’ Screw Up
Well, this is awkward. Ariana Grande‘s gigantic head has been looming over the 405 for a month as part of a massive campaign across Los Angeles promoting the Grammys, and now she won’t even be attending Sunday’s ceremony. Ari’s decision to pull out of the show entirely is a boss move following reports that the Recording Academy was attempting to impose additional restrictions on her performance during the live broadcast.
A source told Variety that producers tried to bar her from performing her new single, “7 Rings,” which broke Spotify streaming records and made Ari the youngest female artist to have two number-one hits on the Billboard 100 from the same album. The Recording Academy then backpedaled and told Ari they’d allow her to sing “7 Rings” in a medley, but only if they were allowed to choose the other song. Apparently, other artists performing at the show weren’t subjected to the same heavy-handed creative stipulations, so Ari decided to bail on the event altogether.
This isn’t the first time the Recording Academy has treated female nominees unfairly. Last year, Lorde wasn’t allowed to perform a song from Melodrama despite the album being an Album Of The Year nominee. The “Green Light” singer was blocked from performing solo (unlike any of the male nominees in her category), and producers instead asked her to contribute to the show’s Tom Petty tribute. Lorde declined.
This year’s Grammy nominations show that while the Recording Academy is attempting to keep up with the times and become more inclusive of hip-hop and artists of color, they’ve now completely overlooked the women of pop music. Post Malone copped an AOTY nomination for Beerbongs & Bentleys, while pop’s top female performers like Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, and Camila Cabello were shut out of the Big Four categories completely. Now, pop music’s biggest star won’t even be in attendance, a fitting representation of what the 2019 Grammys are lacking.
The broadcast *will* include performances from Travis Scott, Chloe x Halle, Lady Gaga, and Dua Lipa with St. Vincent. There will also be an Aretha Franklin tribute featuring Fantasia, Andra Day, and Yolanda Adams. Props have to be given to the Grammys for finally diversifying beyond rewarding white males, but the conspicuous absence of big-name artists from the lineup shows that producers could have used Ari to give the broadcast a little more star power. Replacing her with another performance of “Shallow” won’t be enough to cover up the producers’ attempts to creatively control one of today’s biggest artists.
This also shows that the Recording Academy still doesn’t *quite* understand what to make of streaming, an issue that dramatically slowed their acceptance of rap and hip-hop in the past and is rearing its ugly head once again. “Tiny BBQ Grill” controversies aside, Sweetener, “thank u, next,” and “7 Rings” all broke huge Spotify records, and Ari’s recent singles have challenged ideas of how music (and female artists) have to be marketed on a traditional schedule. Ari’s surprise fifth album, Thank U, Next, is dropping only two days before the Grammys, and she’ll be the biggest news of the night whether she’s in attendance or not.