Grammy Awards postponed due to omicron variant concerns

Host Trevor Noah on stage at the 63rd Grammy Awards outside Staples Center in Los Angeles on March 14, 2021. Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS

LOS ANGELES — The 64th Grammy Awards will not take place Jan. 31 in Los Angeles, due to the rapid spread of the highly infectious omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The Recording Academy, which presents music’s most prestigious awards show, said Wednesday that “holding the show on January 31 simply contains too many risks” and added that a new date would be announced “soon.”

“After careful consideration and analysis with city and state officials, health and safety experts, the artist community and our many partners, the Recording Academy and CBS have postponed the 64th Annual Grammy Awards show,” the group said in a joint statement with CBS, its longtime television partner. “The health and safety of those in our music community, the live audience, and the hundreds of people who work tirelessly to produce our show remains our top priority.

The postponement marks the second year in a row that the Grammys have been delayed because of COVID-19. In 2021, the show was scheduled to take place Jan. 31 before being moved to March 14.

Specific plans for the ceremony weren’t immediately announced. In an interview in November, academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. told the L.A. Times he was “excited about having audience members back in seats” for the 2022 show after 2021’s edition, which combined live and pretaped performances in a crowd-free environment in and around the L.A. Convention Center.

“(I)t’s definitely going to be a different show than the last one — closer to the show that we’ve had in the past,” Mason added, referring to pre-pandemic Grammys productions held before thousands of spectators at downtown’s Staples Center (now known as Arena).

As he did last year, comedian Trevor Noah of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” is set to host the 2022 ceremony.

Another denizen of late-night TV, “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” bandleader Jon Batiste, leads nominees for the 64th Grammys with 11 nods in categories including album, record and song of the year, as well as traditional R&B performance, American roots song and improvised jazz solo.

Other acts with multiple nominations include Justin Bieber, Doja Cat and H.E.R. (each with eight) and Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo (each with seven).

This year’s show is the first to feature 10 nominees (up from eight) in the four major categories of album, record and song of the year and best new artist.

The Grammys’ delay comes days after the Critics Choice Awards said its annual show, originally set for Jan. 9, would move to a later date yet to be determined.

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Tribune Wire

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