Until this week the Grammys didn’t matter. Awards shows are so numerous now that it’s smarter to buy stock in a company that makes red carpets than to back the most recent “best new artist.” Among the major awards (Emmys, Tonys, Grammys and Oscars) only the Oscars still seemed broadly relevant–a Best Picture winner still generally makes extra money for its prize, The Hurt Locker notwithstanding. Just last week the Grammys was battling awards show malaise like all the rest. Enter Kanye and the Beck/Beyonce brouhaha.
Wham! People are mad–mad I tell you!–that Beyonce was robbed. And it wasn’t just Kanye West and his shenanigans–regular people living regular life tweeted things like “I can’t believe I live in a world where Bey didn’t win best album.” All of a sudden, the Grammys mattered to people. So what if Beyonce won the only category everybody in the industry actually cares about–SALES. (Beyonce sold 5 million copies; Beck 300K.) Not winning a Grammy was somehow an injustice that needed redressing–both by the famous and the work-a-day. If the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which runs the Grammy Awards, didn’t put Kanye up to his particular brand of faux-test–sorry, protest–then it should have. All of a sudden the Grammys are relevant again. Even if it’s for being wrong.