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Thursday June 17th, 2021 1:09PM

Grammy Awards shift to March due to pandemic conditions

By The Associated Press
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NEW YORK (AP) — The 2021 Grammy Awards will no longer take place this month in Los Angeles and will broadcast in March due to a recent surge in coronavirus cases and deaths.

The annual show would shift from its original Jan. 31 broadcast to March 14, according to a joint statement released Tuesday from the Recording Academy and CBS, which broadcasts the ceremony. The statement said the decision was reached “after thoughtful conversations with health experts, our host and artists scheduled to appear.”

“The deteriorating COVID situation in Los Angeles, with hospital services being overwhelmed, ICUs having reached capacity, and new guidance from state and local governments have all led us to conclude that postponing our show was the right thing to do. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of those in our music community and the hundreds of people who work tirelessly on producing the show,” read the statement from Recording Academy interim CEO Harvey Mason Jr., CBS executive Jack Sussman and Grammys executive producer Ben Winston.

"We want to thank all of the talented artists, the staff, our vendors and especially this year’s nominees for their understanding, patience and willingness to work with us as we navigate these unprecedented times.”

The Grammys will be held in Los Angeles at the Staples Center. Los Angeles County, the epicenter of the crisis in California, has surpassed 11,000 COVID-19 deaths and has had 40% of the deaths in California. It is the third state to reach the 25,000 death count.

An average of six people die every hour from COVID-19 in Los Angeles County, which has a quarter of the state’s 40 million residents. County health officials fear the incoming Christmas and New Year’s surge.

The new Grammys date coincides with the scheduled hosting of the Screen Actors Guild Awards, which is typically held at another downtown Los Angeles venue, the Shrine Auditorium. That show honors the best performances in film and television.

“The Daily Show” host and comedian Trevor Noah is set to host the 2021 Grammys, where Beyoncé is leading contender with nine nominations. She scored nominations for song and record of the year with “Black Parade,” which she released on Juneteenth, while “Savage" — her No. 1 collaboration with Megan Thee Stallion — picked up bids for record of the year, best rap song and best rap performance.

Beyoncé’s “Black Is King," which aired on Disney+, is nominated for best music film while “Brown Skin Girl,” a song dedicated to dark- and brown-skinned women, is nominated for best music video. Her daughter Blue Ivy Carter sings on “Brown Skin Girl" and also earned a Grammy nomination.

Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, Roddy Ricch, Jhené Aiko, Post Malone, Renée Zellweger, Billie Eilish and her producer-brother Finneas also scored nominations. First-time nominees include The Strokes, Megan Thee Stallion and Harry Styles.

Since the pandemic, a number of awards show were postponed and later revamped due to COVID-19 restrictions. The BET Awards was the first major awards show during the pandemic and was a success thanks to its artsy, highly produced, well-crafted pre-taped performances. The MTV Video Music Awards featured Lady Gaga winning awards and performing onsite in a mask, and the Latin Grammys pre-taped several performances the week of the show, handing out some of its awards to the winners who attended the show.

Performers at the upcoming Grammys will be announced at a later date.

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