Got 3½ hours? No, you don't. So why do the Grammy Awards insist on occupying more scheduled time than any other awards show?
It's too late to make changes for Sunday's 65th annual Grammys on CBS, but here are 10 suggestions to make future Grammys more watchable.
1. Schedule three hours of entertainment and awards. Period. Time for a remix. Skip the opening monologue. Tighten up the "in memoriam" segment. Limit performers to one song or a medley of two abbreviated numbers.
2. With all due respect to Trevor Noah and James Corden, the Grammys should stick to music personalities as host(s). Specifically, current stars who matter to (read: will attract) music-loving viewers. Say, a different host every hour. Famous names who can think on their feet such as Adele, Taylor Swift, Lizzo, Blake Shelton, Harry Styles, Selena Gomez, Simon Cowell, Snoop Dogg, Kelly Clarkson and Ryan Seacrest, to name a few. If they're competing for an award, put that category during an hour in which they're not the host. It doesn't matter if these stars are attached to TV programs not on CBS. The host should be about quality programming, not network politics.
3. Promote in advance (on TV and social media) which stars will perform during which hour. Yes, that goes against the notion of tease, tune in and wait. But no one wants to wait three hours. Everyone is busy. Having viewers watch for one hour is better than not watching at all or waiting for YouTube clips on Monday.
4. Redefine the Grammy eligibility period closer to the calendar year to make it feel more meaningful. Right now, the dates range from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. So in 2023, Coldplay's "Music of Spheres," released in October 2021, could be album of the year for 2022. That's so stale. Make the cutoff Nov. 30. Very few albums are released in December anyway. The Recording Academy can just condense its too complicated nominating process. Have the finalists reflect the preceding calendar year as almost all other awards shows do.
5. Speaking of the nominating process, all recordings made in the eligibility period should be on the ballot, not just titles submitted by record labels. In other words, projects by the Weeknd and Drake should have been competing this year even though they chose to boycott the Grammys. These awards are about recognizing outstanding work in recordings, whether the artists want to participate or not.
6. Rename record of the year to "single of the year." Every year, befuddled viewers and music fans wonder: What's the difference between "song of the year" and "record of the year"? The latter is marketed as a single; the former is a songwriting award. In the age of streaming, "record" may be outdated.
7. There are 91 categories and best new artist ain't an exciting one. Not enough, anyway. It's overstuffed and thus diluted. Limit the nominees to six. After the expansion to 10 candidates in recent years, viewers too often ask "Who's that"? Granted, the Grammys are trying to be more inclusive, to embrace more genres. Not every nominee needs to be a household name but streamlining this category will pique interest in a major televised competition and speed up the ceremonies.
8. Create a new category called "genre unto itself" or "beyond." Many awards are divided into genre silos but, let's be honest, some recordings blend styles, fall between the cracks, can't be defined as fish or fowl. So, create a category for unclassifiable otherness.
9. Create a category for engineer of the year. The job is just as important as producer. A trophy is given for best engineered recording but it's time to recognize an engineer for working on multiple projects, just as the Recording Academy does for producer of the year. Not that adding engineer of the year would make the TV show more watchable (this prize would be presented in the pre-telecast) but it would be the right remix, so to speak, in terms of fairness to the crafts involved in the recording process.
10. Give Beyoncé a Grammy on camera EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. that she's eligible. Not because she needs to add to her record number of Grammys. Because she adds class, sizzle and excitement to a telecast that desperately needs all three. And her always top-notch work merits a prime-time prize.
When: 7 p.m. Sun. WCCO, Ch. 4
Host: Trevor Noah.
Performers include: Mary J. Blige, Bad Bunny, Brandi Carlile, Luke Combs, Steve Lacy, Lizzo, Kim Petras, Sam Smith, Harry Styles.