Prepare for reaction memes to abound at the 2021 Grammy Awards next week, where artists and nominees will be the only ones watching one another’s performances at the otherwise audience-free event.
The Recording Academy has revealed who will be taking the stage at the 63rd annual ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday night, which has been heavily restructured and postponed due to recent COVID-19 surges in California.
While the show, which will include both live and pre-taped performances, will look quite a bit different this year ― the festivities will take place “in and around” the Los Angeles Convention Center instead of the Staples Center ― the lineup might just be enticing enough to make concert-starved viewers tune in.
This year’s ceremony will feature performances from Bad Bunny, Black Pumas, Cardi B, BTS, Brandi Carlile, DaBaby, Doja Cat, Billie Eilish, Mickey Guyton, Haim, Brittany Howard, Miranda Lambert, Lil Baby, Dua Lipa, Chris Martin, John Mayer, Megan Thee Stallion, Maren Morris, Post Malone, Roddy Ricch, Harry Styles and Taylor Swift.
Notably absent from the list is Beyoncé, who topped this year’s nominees with nine nods. The “Black Is King” singer will not be taking the stage at the Grammys, which doesn’t exactly have the best track record at honoring her work. Taylor Swift, Roddy Ricch and Dua Lipa trailed behind her, each scoring six nominations.
As for how producers will pull off the event under strict COVID-19 protocols, artists will perform in a circle of four stages that each feature their own backstage area with an additional one reserved for presenters. A shared team of masked crew members will operate in the center, with honorees also gathering in the room after they perform.
“We’ve designed a set that you could argue makes it an even more exciting show,” executive producer Ben Winston told Variety. “The performers and nominees are each other’s audience, so it’s a room of incredible musicians, all safely distanced from each other, and every 45 minutes a new four groups come in and the [previous] four go out.”
Additionally, instead of just rolling with the COVID-19 punches, the ceremony will actually acknowledge how independent music venues have suffered during the pandemic. Staff, including “bartenders, security, door people,” from New York’s Apollo Theater, Nashville’s Station Inn, and the Troubadour and the Hotel Café will present various awards throughout the night.
“It’s the people who make these places historic,” Winston added. “This allows us to highlight the great work that they do and the fact that they’ve been out of work for so long — and to show that we haven’t forgotten them on ‘Music’s Biggest Night,’ and remind our audience that when this is all over, to go back to their favorite venue.”
Hosted by Trevor Noah, the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards will air on CBS and Paramount+ Sunday, March 14, at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT.