The Grammy Awards: Five Things That Need To Change

After the final award of the night was given out at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Grammy Awards had declared a number of winners. Some were literal, in the sense that Lady Gaga, Eminem, Lady Antebellum and Arcade Fire all walked away with high-profile wins in some of the biggest categories of the night. Others scored more professional victories, like Mick Jagger (who proved that he’s still got it after decades on stage) and Justin Bieber (who was one of the night’s most electric performers despite only being 16 years old). Even the producers could consider themselves winner, as the telecast was watched by 26.5 million viewers — the largest audience for the Grammys in a decade.

But the viewers didn’t necessarily walk away with a sense of victory. Though the show contained no shortage of highlights, there were also some things that could be changed moving forward. Here are five things that should be reconsidered moving forward.

Shorten The Show
Even though last night’s show was mostly entertaining, it was still too long. Three-and-a-half hours is an awfully long time to be watching much of anything (most people don’t sit down to watch films for that same amount of time). By tightening the edges and knocking off two or three performances (sorry, Barbra Streisand), you could really have a tight show that is way more viewer friendly and kinetic (which would make them more like the far superior MTV Video Music Awards).

Focus More On The Awards
We know it’s impossible to give out 109 awards live on the air (that’s how many categories there were this year), but the Oscars manage to give out two dozen awards over the course of an evening. Can’t the Grammys give out more awards — and perhaps in the same 15-20 categories every year so there’s a little consistency?

Revamp The Voting Process
The reason why Esperanza Spalding won the Best New Artist award over far more popular acts like Justin Bieber or Drake is because Best New Artist is one of those awards that everybody is allowed to vote for. Grammy voters only vote in their areas of expertise, so people from the jazz world typically only vote for the jazz-related categories. But Best New Artist throws the doors open on everybody, and while it creates some great opportunities for unknown artists, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the actual year in music (which is theoretically what the Grammys — and all awards shows — are supposed to do).

Don’t Confuse The Viewing Audience With People Who Aren’t Present
When John Mayer, Keith Urban and Norah Jones came out to sing “Jolene” to acknowledge Dolly Parton, more than one person on Twitter thought that Parton had died and that this was a memoriam for her. In reality, she had won a Lifetime Achievement Award and wasn’t present at the show. While it’s great that Parton won (she deserves it), it took up a bunch of screen time that only confused the home viewers. Stick to focusing on people who are actually in the building, so as not to throw people off and take up valuable screen time.

Retire The Neil Portnow Segment
They only give out a handful of prizes across the show’s three-and-a-half hours, but it can carve out 10 minutes so the president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (the body that hands out the Grammys) can talk about their charity projects? Let Portnow cut a video package that can live on the official Grammy Awards website and let the show be about the artists and the music.