If you got all worked up this year when “Wayne’s World” actress Tia Carrere won the Grammy for Best Hawaiian Music Album over hotly tipped nominee Amy Hanaiali’i, well, your days of fretting are over. After seven years as an official, stand-alone Grammy category, the Hawaiian award is going away, along with 30 other award categories in one of the most radical revamps in Grammy history.
The Recording Academy announced Wednesday (April 6) that it is going on a little-golden-man diet, trimming the field from 109 to 78 categories beginning next year. The bottom line is that male and female pop, country and R&B artists will be going head-to-head in their genres for the first time in recent memory instead of vying for their own trophies.
At the same time, the minimum number of artist entries in each category was bumped up from 25 to at least 40. Under the new rules, if only 25 to 39 entries are considered for a certain award, only three recordings will be nominated; and if there are fewer than 25 entries, that category will go on hiatus for a year. If the same shortfall happens for three consecutive years, the award will be discontinued.
The biggest changes come in the many breakout awards within certain fields. For instance, instead of separate male and female pop-vocal awards, there will be a single Best Pop Solo Performance category; and the Best Pop Instrumental Performance, Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals will be consolidated into Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
The “big four” — Record, Album and Song of the Year and Best New Artist — will remain the same.
“Every year, we diligently examine our Awards structure to develop an overall guiding vision and ensure that it remains a balanced and viable process,” Grammy President and CEO Neil Portnow said in a statement. “After careful and extensive review and analysis of all Categories and Fields, it was objectively determined that our Grammy categories be restructured to the continued competition and prestige of the highest and only peer-recognized award in music. Our Board of Trustees continues to demonstrate its dedication to keeping The Recording Academy a pertinent and responsive organization in our dynamic music community.”
In the rock field, the Best Rock Instrumental Performance and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals will go away, while the Best Hard Rock and Best Metal Performance awards will be consolidated into one trophy. Similar trimming was done to the R&B and rap fields, where the separate male, female and duo or group awards were merged into Best R&B Performance, while with Best Urban/Alternative Performance and Best Contemporary R&B Album were done away with. The rap field merged the Best Rap Solo Performance and Performance by a Duo or Group into Best Rap Performance.
Similar changes were made in the country, jazz, gospel, Latin, American roots, world and classical genres, while Best Native American, Zydeco or Cajun and Hawaiian will compete in a larger field under Best Regional Roots Music Album.
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