The Decline of Award Shows 


Gaby Jones

As the 2021 award season approaches, viewership is expected to continue tanking. Here is a list of reasons why award shows have had an overall decline within the last few decades.

Gaby Jones, Culture Editor

Back in November, the nominees were announced for the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards that are set to occur on Sunday, March 14. In the most recent years, the Grammys has been met with widespread disappointment and with the announcement of this year’s list, the reaction was no different.  

The negative reaction to the nominees allowed me to start thinking about the main reasons award shows, like the Grammys, have time and time again received flak from the general public. compiled a list of reason why I believe audiences have started to move away from award shows and why the overall excitement, ratings, quality, and prestige has severely declined. 

Idolization has changed 

Celebrity culture is evolving. Award shows used to be one of the only opportunities for fans to see their favorite celebrities. Nowadays, celebrities can post content to a plethora of social media accounts and new pictures and videos circulate more frequently on the internet. As a result, idolization of entertainers has been made more accessible to new and old fans. When it comes to bands and other musical artists, their live performances get uploaded to platforms such as YouTube and Instagram, which makes actually tuning in to award shows a hassle if you are only watching for their three-minute performance.  

Nominee lists disappoint 

As previously mentioned, the nominee lists for award shows, specifically music ones, have always been lackluster and disappointing for large number of potential viewers. The nominee and performance announcements set the tone for viewership and the overall amount of backlash the award show will receive. Often times, when mass amounts of people do not see their favorite artists getting recognition (after being praised by critics and peers, placing high on the charts, and breaking records) it will turn them away from award shows as a whole- especially if the categories happen to be fan voted. 

Promote little diversity 

Whether it be with film, television or music, award shows have been known to almost exclusively favor white men and the art that they produce. It is so normalized to a point where jokes are made during the opening monologues, yet every year nothing seems to change. Many past viewers have gone online to denounce award shows passive attitudes regarding of the lack of diversity. The viewers have stated that they perpetuate the dismissal of art created by people of color who are just as worthy of recognition.  

Less people have cable 

The influx of streaming providers has caused many people to get rid of their cable. It has become easier for people to consume media through their laptops and mobile devices, as opposed to their televisions. Further, the various options have allowed people to control what and when they watch. With factors such as these, it becomes increasingly clear why someone would prefer to continue watching their favorite new series rather than turn on these mundane award shows. 

Performances are boring 

In the past, the performances have been a key element to every good award show. They are the moments that people remember and still reference to this day. When a viewer tunes into music award show, a few great performances are expected, but in the last few years there have been numerous mediocre ones, a minuscule number of great onesand even less stand out ones that became mass pop culture moments. 

Tributes do not impress 

Tributes to iconic artists and prominent figures within the industry who have recently passed away are often executed poorlyWhether it be the dull artistthat were selected to perform or the drab imitations that insult the person who is being honored, audiences have reacted negatively to most of the mainstream tributes that have taken place on music award shows.  

Genres are racialized 

As it relates to music award shows, black artists have been restricted to categories like Rap, R&B, and Urban Contemporary. These artists are rarely ever put against their non-black counterparts for the larger categories like “Song of the Year. Black artists who have made songs that would be traditionally characterized as Pop, are limited to the aforementioned categories. Award shows continue to taunt black artists with these restrictions and many past viewers within the community have addressed it online and continue to address it, every year when the nominee lists come out. 

People do not care 

Overall, with the amount of politics and money motivation that is embedded into these award shows by the companies that run them, awards like Grammys, Oscars and AMAs do not hold as much weight with the general public like they used to. Although it is nice for your favorite artist, movie, or television show to gain formal recognition, most can agree that awards are not best indication of quality and they should not validate nor invalidate the things you enjoy.