The 2021 GRAMMYs has a new date, and a new venue.
The Recording Academy announced on Tuesday that they were postponing the awards show, originally set for Jan. 31, to March 14 due to ongoing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. ET spoke with Harvey Mason Jr., Chair and Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy, via Zoom just one day later, where he shared how the decision was made and what fans can ultimately expect from the 63rd annual ceremony.
“It was a decision that we felt was the right thing to do. Based on the decline of the health circumstances around Los Angeles and the country, it didn’t feel like the right time to be having the show on Jan. 31,” Mason Jr. explained to ET’s Kevin Frazier. “I think COVID-19 has had a big impact on our planning process and how we’re putting the show together. As we move to our March 14 date, it’ll give us a little more flexibility to watch what happens and to have more conversations with health officials and continue to evolve the show.”
“The show’s fluid, and we’ve done that on purpose, so that we can try to put on the best show,” he continued. “We’re taking into consideration everything that’s going on with COVID-19; like whether we’re having an audience, whether we’re doing everything live. That’s all going to change and take place over the next weeks and months.”
Mason Jr. revealed that as of right now, the ceremony will take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center, right next door to the Staples Center. “It includes some areas around that location, as well as outside and on some of the rooftops, so I think it will be an exciting look for the show,” he shared. “Something a little bit different.”
“Right now we’re not planning on anybody attending, as far as an audience is concerned,” he continued. “I think there will be more outdoor performances. I think there will be multiple locations, giving us the flexibility to have more than one artist at a time. [With] protocols and trying to sterilize things, you need to shift things around a little bit. So we’ll be inside the L.A. Convention Center, we’ll be outside in the street, different locations.”
In regard to the new date of March 14, however, Mason Jr. says that “nothing is set in stone,” as regulations over COVID-19 could change at any minute.
“We’ll obviously adjust accordingly, but for us it’s really about the health and well-being and safety of our artist community, staff and people working on the show. That’s of paramount importance to us,” he said. “There will be live performances as planned [right] now, but we don’t know going forward what we’ll be allowed to do.”
Currently, the new date for the GRAMMYs falls on the same night as the SAG Awards. Mason Jr. told ET that he has already spoken to SAG/AFTRA, and “unfortunately that is the date that we both landed on.”
“Look, it’s not a perfect scenario … we’re both trying to deal with navigating this global pandemic and there’s no perfect weekend,” Mason Jr. explained. “Every weekend, it seems of those couple months, has a sporting event or another show, so we’re just trying to do the best we can. We’re all in the same boat. We never anticipated [this] before, and we’re all having to shift puzzle pieces here. It’s unfortunate, but it is the same date.”
The 2021 GRAMMYs will air live on CBS and CBS All Access on Sunday, March 14 at 8 p.m. ET. In the meantime, hear more on this year’s nominees in the video below.
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