Controversial Picks Polarize Viewers

Olivia Santos, Staff

On February 5, almost every music lover was turning on his or her TVs for a night full of entertainment: the Grammys. Similar to the Oscars, the Grammys is an award show dedicated to gifting musical artists with acknowledgment for their hard work and talent. For over 60 years, the ceremony has become a national event, with many constantly discussing how things have played out for the nominated artists in categories of each award. With all of this discussion, it is perfectly obvious that disagreements are bound to happen. Controversy is more than likely to brew, especially with social media playing an important role in the sea of opinions people have to share. Over the past few years, it has become evident that many think the Grammys have become twisted, with their nominees not being rightfully awarded and their winners being wrongfully chosen. The Grammys of 2023 reflects just that.

The specific situation that seems to still stir up a storm among online users is Harry Styles’ win of Album of the Year. Beyoncé was also nominated for the award, and many immediately began to argue that she should have won instead of Styles. The main reason for this is that Beyoncé had never won a Grammy for Album of the Year, despite being nominated for it four times. This could be a result, declare some, of the Grammys’ subtle racism, favoring White artists as opposed to people of color. This is not a new topic for Grammy enthusiasts—the controversy over how the Grammys choose their winners has lasted for years. The situation has become severely apparent, especially since 2009, when Ye (formerly Kanye West), interrupted Taylor Swift’s speech after she won the MTV award for Best Female Video. Beyoncé had been nominated for the award as well but had lost to the White artist. Many people believe that Swift deserved the award, but even so, fans have been quick to draw parallels between the two circumstances.

In addition to Beyoncé’s loss for Album of the Year, fans have criticized Harry Styles’ win specifically. Not only were people cheering for Beyoncé while Styles gave his acceptance speech but Styles was later criticized for a comment he made during his acceptance speech which altered the conditions of his win completely. As audience members were leaving the show altogether, Styles stated, “This doesn’t happen to people like me very often,” after stating how grateful he was for the award. Under the context of underlying racism throughout the Grammys, and the fact that Styles is a White man, many were quick to take this to the Internet and denounce Styles’ words, questioning his statement after his win against a Black woman. To add more fuel to the fire, plenty of rumors have circulated online that Adele, who was among the nominated artists for the Album of the Year award, walked out of the show once Styles began his speech. Some speculated that this could have been because of Adele’s disappointment at Styles’ win itself, or her own opinion that Beyoncé deserved it more. However, these rumors were put to rest when Lizzo, who sat next to Adele during the ceremony, posted a video on TikTok, showing Adele cheering for Styles while he walked up to accept his award. Moreover, Adele was seen singing along to the music and happily telling Lizzo to aim the camera on Styles. These rumors being cleared up this fast represents how quickly the Internet can take an assumption and run with it. So could it be that something like this happened with the Beyoncé and Styles situation?

As for the public, they have continually rained down on Styles’ win, with Callie Ahlgrim from Insider being especially opinionated in her article by saying there are, “Six artists who don’t deserve their 2023 Grammy Awards — sorry.” She says, “It’s long past time for the Recording Academy to stop using Beyoncé for clout, stop allowing white mediocrity to triumph over her genius, and start showing her respect. (And even if the fates had doomed her to lose this year, Bad Bunny or Kendrick Lamar should’ve won over Styles).” 

All of this is simply one of the main controversies of the fateful night on February 5. Did Harry Styles really deserve his award? And Beyoncé—could she have deserved it more? Both are questions that continue to be discussed. Whether it be in the country, pop, or rap genre, there is certainly much to say about the criticism of the Grammys, and there will likely be for many years to come. 

(Above) Adele, mentioned in the Harry Styles and Beyoncé controversy, took home one award at the Grammys this year. She won Best Solo Pop Performance with her song “Easy on Me.” Additionally, she gained nominations for Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year/New Song of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Music Video, Short Form, and Best Music Video, Long Form. Photo courtesy of Mike Blake of REUTERS.(Photo courtesy of Mike Blake of REUTERS.)
(Above) Beyoncé went home with four awards on February 5, 2023. She broke a record for having the most Grammys ever with her total coming up to 32 awards. In addition to her five nominations for Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year/New Song of the Year, Best R&B Performance, and Best Song Written for Media, she won Best Dance Recording, Best Dance/Electronica Album, Best Traditional R&B Performance, and Best R&B Song. Photo courtesy of Kevin Winter of Getty Images.
(Photo courtesy of Kevin Winter of Getty Images.)
(Above) Harry Styles gave his acceptance speech at the Arena in Los Angeles, California. The Arena has hosted the Grammys the most out of all the venues used for the awards show. Other venues include Madison Square Garden, in New York City, as well as the Shrine Auditorium, in Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of Timothy Norris of FilmMagic.
(Photo courtesy of Timothy Norris of FilmMagic.)