Last November when the Grammy nominations were revealed, the Recording Academy announced that it would be postponing the Immersive Audio award due to the pandemic — the committee that judges the award, which essentially recognizes superior sound quality, was unable to meet together in a suitable and safe environment with the appropriate high-end audio equipment — but issues related to sound seemed to be plaguing today’s virtual Premiere Ceremony as well.
As producers have pivoted to virtual awards and Zoom, technical glitches are not uncommon. Just the other week at the Golden Globes, Daniel Kaluuya experienced some audio difficulties after winning best supporting actor for “Judas and the Black Messiah.” As Kaluuya tried to deliver his speech, audiences could not hear him and the camera cut back to host Laura Dern (he later returned for a do-over).
But seeing as the Grammys primarily award outstanding sound, the multiple acceptance speeches during the Premiere Ceremony that suffered from echoing, distortion or absent volume felt like a big miss for a show of its stature.
Audiences who tuned into the pre-telecast ceremony, kicked off by interim CEO Harvey Mason jr. (pictured) and during which dozens of awards are given out, took to Twitter to voice their grievances at the sound issue. One user wrote, “I swear to god if bts has sound issues for their speech and the Grammys don’t fix it I will raise hell.” Another user compared the awards show so far to a regular Zoom call saying, “Wow the Grammys has about as many sound/video issues as a regular Zoom call.” Other fans are pleading to the Recording Academy to fix their sound issues. “@RecordingAcad please deal with the sound issues… like we can’t hear half the winners… #LightItUpBTS.”
The most egregious lag may have been The Strokes’ win for best rock album. With the Zoom fixed to three members of the band — frontman Julian Casablancas, bassist Nikolai Fraiture and drummer Fabrizio Moretti — they could not hear that they had indeed won the category. It took a good minute of discomfort before they were able to deduce that the Grammy was theirs and celebrate.
This is not the first time the Grammy Awards has experienced glitches with their audio. During the live show in previous years, both Adele and Katy Perry have been some of the performers plagued with tech issues.
During Adele’s 2016 performance of “All I Ask,” the performer’s microphone cut out. It was later explained that there were audio issues with the piano mic. The singer tweeted, “The piano mics fell on the piano strings, that’s what the guitar sound was. It made it sound out of tune. S–t happens,” Adele explained. “Because of it though… I’m treating myself to an in n out. So maybe it was worth it.”
Variety has reached out to the Recording Academy for comment.
the funniest thing about the grammys are the sound problems and them just cutting of the people mid talking
— lissy❀ ♡’s harry (@bbyharoId) March 14, 2021
for a ceremony that is supposed to celebrate music, they do have a lot of problems with sound #grammys
— aimee (@heylouisblue) March 14, 2021
The way they just skipped that one man in the middle of his speech because there wasn’t any sound… RUDE #GRAMMYs
— melis⁷|📼 (@joonsbootyy) March 14, 2021
They sound like those early 2010s autotune robots Hahahah #GRAMMYs
— 𝐌𝐢𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐠 ⁷𖧵 (@Pvrplekoo) March 14, 2021
These grammys sound –
— CHLEO (@MonksTire) March 14, 2021
grammys drinking game: take a shot for every nominee sound problem
— nath⁷ (@pradaskth) March 14, 2021