Pit country against hip-hop, get nasty with Dick Clark’s AMAs … and, yes, bring in Simon and Randy
Since they started in 1958, no one has ever accused the Grammy Awards of being on the cutting edge. This is, after all, a music award show that didn’t add Best Rock and Roll Recording as a category until 1962 — six years after Elvis electrified "The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show" and America with his talent — and didn’t give out its first award for a Rap Performance until almost a decade after the Sugarhill Gang had the genre’s first Top 40 hit with “Rapper’s Delight.”
Add to that the fact that Grammy ratings have been in a slump since 1994 when they were last watched by an audience of 30 million. In the last four years, they have not been able to get 20 million viewers. That’s not even a decent night of "American Idol." Still, don’t worry, music fans — we might not be able to save the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards that being are handed out Sunday, but while the patient is on the table, the doctor is in the house armed with a red guitar and the truth.
1. LESS IS MORE
3. IDOLIZE IT
Nothing, the cliché tells us, succeeds like success. So we say in today’s economy and amidst declining music sales, embrace what’s working.
Honestly, besides reinvigorating music on TV, nothing constantly cleans up with the American public like "American Idol." So, if the Grammys has primarily become a performance show, which it has, let’s bring in the "Idol" judges to pick the winners, critique the performances and surge the ratings upwards.
Couldn’t you just see Simon Cowell telling a nervous Jamie Foxx, T-Pain, Slash and Doug E. Fresh, who are all performing together this year, that he “doesn’t mean to be rude, but …”
Having fans vote online — as the Grammys are this year, on the song a band will perform live on the show — is a small step forward towards an "Idol" mentality. Hell, it’s a small step towards living in the 21st century. But having that band be Bon Jovi and the choice be limited to one of only three possible tunes isn’t much of a great leap.
As Randy Jackson, the on-air Ezra Pound of our times, would say — “I mean, I’m not saying I was blown away.”
4. NO MORE MR. NICE GUY
One reason the Grammys have become so irrelevant is that there are so many other music awards shows and venues for music TV out there. The American Music Awards, the MTV Video Awards, Prince Albert of Monaco’s World Music Awards, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame … and that’s not even getting in all those acts that show up to mentor on the likes of "American Idol" and "America’s Got Talent."
"5 Ways to Save the Music Industry"