Podcast: Inside the 2022 Grammys, from BTS to Billie Eilish
The Grammys haven’t finished evolving, according to the ceremony’s executive producer, Ben Winston, who took over the show last year from Ken Ehrlich, the show’s mastermind for more than 40 years. Winston and Raj Kapoor, the show’s executive producer and showrunner, joined the latest episode of our Rolling Stone Music Now podcast to dive into behind-the-scenes secrets from this year’s awards show, respond to critics and more.
JTo listen to the full episode, hit play above or listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Some highlights follow:
BTS barely performed — and couldn’t rehearse as a full group until the day before the ceremony.
“There were times when we were worried they couldn’t be here,” Winston says. “J-Hope had Covid and was quarantined. And he wasn’t allowed to fly until Saturday, the day before the show, Jungkook was in Vegas with Covid, but unless he got two negative tests, he wasn’t allowed to come. It was very tense. We were very nervous… I was actually so excited about this one, not because it was better than anyone else’s, but just because I knew what these seven guys had been through to to get to that level… I really think these guys are incredibly talented. I’m kind of impressed with what they do every time.
Not enough rap performances this year? The producers agree.
“We would have liked a little more hip-hop,” Winston said, while pointing to the many rap performances at last year’s ceremony as evidence of her goals for the show. “We won’t always get the exact quota we want. We always try. It was certainly not a conscious decision to only have Nas as a hip hop performance… We lost a few artists in the [show’s] moving from LA to Vegas. So, you know, shit happens. We have done our best.
The beep during Justin Bieber’s set was because he was supposed to censor himself on his lyrics and he didn’t.
“I think he probably got carried away by the moment and forgot not to say the word ‘shit,'” Winston says. “I don’t think there is anything more than that.”
The rain during Billie Eilish’s set wasn’t real, for purely practical reasons.
“Ultimately it was decided that Billie and Finneas didn’t want to physically get wet,” Kapoor explains. “Because she wanted to sit back and enjoy the rest of the evening without really taking a long time to get back into the glam. So we created this really amazing digital effect.
Producers apologize for ‘in memoriam’ omissions, which included Drakeo the Ruler, Calvin Simon of Parliament-Funkadelic and Joey Jordison of Slipknot – and address the absence of any mention of the victims of the crowd crush Astroworld in December.
“Anyone who feels left out or feels almost snubbed by an in memoriam, I think from the bottom of my heart there can only be apologies because we are entering this show only to bring joy and love to the people with music,” says Winston, who notes that the Academy, not the show’s producers, came up with the list of names. “As far as the victims of Astroworld, I think that’s a really fair point. I think, you know, maybe we should have done something”
With a new Recording Academy director (Harvey Mason Jr.), various procedural changes, and a new production company behind the ceremony, producers are trying to convince artists struggling with the Grammys that a massive change is coming. is already produced.
“I was meeting artists on this trip for the last two years and they were like, ‘Well, the Grammys did this and the Grammys did that and it’s time for that to change,'” Winston explains. “And I’m like, yeah, yeah! That’s why I’m [sitting] here. This is what we can do, be part of the change rather than just being mad at what happened before.
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