Wait, the Grammys Were Actually Fun to Watch?!

2021 has been a very, very long two-and-a-half-months year, and one thing that’s made it feel even more unbearable has been having to watch Hollywood awards shows happen… over Zoom.

Last month, the Golden Globes proved to be a nightmare of cut feeds, overlapping speeches, and technical difficulties, sucking all the fun out of a ceremony that is usually host to a bunch of hammered celebrities making fools of themselves—in a good way. But on Sunday, the Grammys, by comparison, killed it. I had so much fun watching, and it proved that awards shows during the pandemic don’t have to be a totally painful snooze. Here’s how they did it, and why other awards shows (looking at you, Oscars) should take note.

The Grammys created short videos of the nominees ahead of time, and they also pre-recorded some segments (like the BTS performance), so the show avoided the awkward glitches the Golden Globes and Emmys struggled with. I was so happy to watch Taylor Swift accept her award IRL, instead of watching her feed cut out and have her say, “Should I go? Am I on?” which really happened to Daniel Kaluuya during the Globes.

To be clear, this is only possible with extensive testing and COVID-19 protocols in place; it’s no easy feat to have all those people in the same room (or… parking lot?). But knowing the attendees were safe made the viewing experience more pleasant for me, too. Less anxiety, more “Holy shit, Billie Eilish looks amazing.”

Obviously, awards shows aren’t anyone’s prime concern right now, but tuning into a very abnormal Grammys made me feel kinda normal. That video of Taylor Swift and Harry Styles chatting during the Doja Cat performance made me think, “Yeah, maybe there’s a light at the end of the proverbial COVID-19 tunnel, and I can let my jaw comfortably rest on the floor while watching this because joy is, actually, allowed.” The whole night felt like a balm. If I’m seeing Beyoncé on my screen accepting Grammy number 28, something must be going right.

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