FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR AT THE GRAM­MYS

Kuwait Times - - Lifestyle Music -

Mu­sic’s glit­terati will sparkle on the red car­pet at this to­day’s Grammy awards, which honors the top hits and artists of the year. Scan­dal at the Record­ing Academy, which puts on the show, has over­whelmed the lead-up to the glam event, but there are still plenty of mu­si­cal mo­ments to watch for. Here is our quick guide to the event, which will take place at the Sta­ples Cen­ter in Los An­ge­les:

Women poised to lead

Women dom­i­nated at last year’s gala and are lead­ing the pack this year as well, with the twerk­ing flautist Lizzo and the teenage goth-pop phe­nom­e­non Bil­lie Eil­ish ex­pected to bat­tle for the top awards. The Academy has long come un­der fire for fail­ing to rec­og­nize women and peo­ple of color. So in re­cent years, it ex­panded the nom­i­nee field from five to eight in the ma­jor four cat­e­gories: Al­bum of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist.

Both Lizzo and Eil­ish are nom­i­nated for all of the “big four” prizes. Other fe­male fron­trun­ners vy­ing for Gram­mys gold in­clude Lana Del Rey - whose 2019 al­bum was con­sid­ered by many crit­ics as the best of the year - and R&B prodigy H.E.R., who is up for five awards and last year won two. Pop sen­sa­tion Ari­ana Grande is also among the top nom­i­nees, while fla­menco re­vival­ist Ros­alia, up for Best New Artist, could be­come a rare Span­ish-lan­guage win­ner in the gen­eral cat­e­gories.

Gen­er­a­tional shift

Lizzo, Eil­ish and Lil Nas X are the top three con­tenders of the night with a com­bined age of 69 - a fig­ure once closer to the av­er­age age of just one vet­eran star that would dom­i­nate the night. The gen­er­a­tional shift could mark a new era for the Record­ing Academy, which has long fa­vored older pop and rock main­stays. Eil­ish, who first gained fame on­line, was just 17 when the nom­i­na­tions were an­nounced, mak­ing her the youngest artist ever to be up for all four top Grammy awards.

Her song­writ­ing part­ner and brother Fin­neas, 22, mean­while has five chances at Gram­mys glory. Fans are ex­pect­ing a rager of a per­for­mance from Lizzo, who rou­tinely slings back tequila from the bot­tle on­stage. Fash­ion watch­ers will also be on red alert for the bois­ter­ous star’s lat­est en­sem­ble she donned a fluffy, hot pink Marc Jacobs jacket to this year’s Met Gala, which she proudly wore as she strut­ted through a New York air­port the morn­ing after.

‘Old Town Road’ all-stars

Lil Nas X, the brain be­hind the year’s ubiq­ui­tous ear­worm “Old Town Road,” will take the stage to per­form a pumped-up ren­di­tion of his coun­try-trap smash. His Grammy co-nom­i­nee for Record of the Year, Billy Ray Cyrus - who lent the song coun­try-world street cred when Nashville snubbed it - will join him on stage, as will the eclec­tic DJ Diplo and K-pop mega stars BTS.

The video-shar­ing app Tik­Tok pro­pelled the young rap­per to fame - his song went vi­ral and ul­ti­mately broke the record for the long­est stretch atop the Bill­board hot songs chart at 19 weeks. The gen­rebend­ing mega-hit was re­moved from Bill­board’s coun­try mu­sic charts early last year - which crit­ics al­leged was in­dus­try white-wash­ing as the artist is black. Lil Nas X is bound to im­press on the red car­pet; the rap­per is known for his campy West­ern out­fits com­plete with fringe, vests or hats in gar­ish colors.

Bar­ring none

Two artists who faced ma­jor le­gal trou­bles in 2019 - Meek Mill and 21 Sav­age are up for Best Rap Al­bum. Mill ended his con­tro­ver­sial le­gal saga in Au­gust after plead­ing guilty to a mis­de­meanor gun charge dat­ing back more than a decade - a move that lifted the pro­ba­tion he dealt with for most of his adult life. The plea deal, which saw ad­di­tional charges against Mill dropped, re­solved a case that had be­come a flash­point in the na­tional de­bate over the US crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem’s treat­ment of black peo­ple.

21 Sav­age was mean­while ar­rested just be­fore last year’s Gram­mys gala in his home­town At­lanta, with US im­mi­gra­tion agents say­ing he had been liv­ing state­side il­le­gally since over­stay­ing a visa that ex­pired in 2006, when he was a mi­nor. The shock ar­rest sur­prised fans, who dis­cov­ered the rap­per - strongly as­so­ci­ated with the south­ern cap­i­tal of hip-hop - was in fact born in Bri­tain.

Nipsey Hus­sle trib­ute

Mill - along with artists in­clud­ing DJ Khaled, John Leg­end and Roddy Ricch will per­form a trib­ute to the late rap­per Nipsey Hus­sle, who is posthu­mously up for three awards after los­ing out on Best Rap Al­bum to Cardi B in 2019. The Eritrean-Amer­i­can born Er­mias As­ghe­dom was shot dead last March at age 33 in broad day­light, trig­ger­ing an out­pour­ing of grief in Los An­ge­les and among Hus­sle’s su­per­star peers, who hailed both his mu­si­cal ta­lents and tire­less com­mu­nity or­ga­niz­ing.

Both Leg­end and Khaled are up for a Grammy with Hus­sle for “Higher”, a col­lab­o­ra­tion re­leased after the rap­per’s death. Long part of the un­der­ground rap cir­cuit, Hus­sle strug­gled to find fame but be­gan sell­ing his own mix­tapes. Hip-hop roy­alty Jay-Z once bought 100 of them for $100 each.

Lil Nas X

John Leg­end

Lizzo

Bil­lie Eil­ish

Ros­alia

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