Covid-19: The advance of the omicron variant forces the Grammy awards to be postponed | Culture

A gramophone used as decoration at the 63rd Grammy Awards, held in March 2021.
A gramophone used as decoration at the 63rd Grammy Awards, held in March 2021.Chris Pizzello (AP)

There will be no Grammy Awards at the moment. The Recording Academy and the CBS network, the organizers of the event that was to be held on January 31 in Los Angeles, announced this Wednesday that the 64th gala is postponed indefinitely. The decision comes before a rebound in positive cases caused by the coronavirus throughout the United States, which only yesterday left more than 869,000 new infections and 2,300 deaths. This has forced to change the winter plans of other cultural encounters. Among these is the Sundance Film Festival, which will once again become a virtual event.

It is the second year in a row that the pandemic frustrates plans for the biggest music awards. “Given the uncertainty surrounding the omicron variant, it is simply too risky to maintain the show on January 31,” the academy and the chain, which broadcasts the event, have indicated in a joint statement. “We hope to celebrate the greatest night of music at a future date, which will be announced soon,” adds the text. Last year, the health crisis forced the awards to move six weeks, which were held in mid-March at the Los Angeles Convention Center on a night that crowned Beyoncé as the most awarded woman by the academy.

In California, the state that hosts the event, about 55,000 new cases of coronavirus have been reported in the last week. This figure represents a rebound of more than 500% from what was registered two weeks ago. The infection rate has grown, although deaths remain down in an entity where 75% of its population has received at least one dose of the vaccine and 68% have the complete scheme. Experts affirm that the delta variant is still the predominant one in the newly infected, but it is a matter of days for it to be displaced by the omicron.

The 64th edition of the academy awards had created great expectations after a summer and fall where concerts and some awards ceremonies returned, including the Latin version of the Grammys. The meeting, which was to be held at the Microsoft Theater, in the center of the city, gave an appointment for the reunion of great celebrities after a year of events that, like the Oscar, were marked by the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

Jazz musician Jon Batiste leads the category nominations, which were announced in late November. Artists like Billie Eilish, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Lil Nas X, Doja Cat, and Abba were vying for some of the most coveted awards – Album of the Year and Record of the Year, for example. The ceremony had also aroused a certain curiosity because it was going to be the scene of the reunion of Taylor Swift and Kanye West, who starred in a clash 13 years ago at the Video Music Awards.

The Sundace Festival, one of the most important showcases for independent cinema, has also reported this Wednesday that it will cancel any face-to-face event that was going to be held in Park City, Utah, throughout the 10 days, from 20 to January 30th. The organizers had opted for a hybrid format, something that allowed them to mix the activities between the face-to-face with the virtual ones. This after the 2021 festival was carried out completely remotely, which left, in the words of the managers, one of the most successful editions due to the sales that were achieved.

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Other film events of the season, although minor, have been postponed or suspended. Among them the Palm Springs International Film Festival, in California, and the Critics Choice Awards gala, which was to take place this Sunday in Los Angeles. These awards were eagerly awaiting the moment, as their creators believe that they can fill the void left by the Golden Globes, which this Sunday will be delivered without a host, without confirmed stars and without a red carpet after a year of controversy over the lack of diversity in the Foreign Press Association, which organizes the event. Of the Oscars, scheduled for the end of March, there is no news at the moment. Omicron will have the last word.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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