The lows of the 66th Grammy Awards

Sydney Anderson

Staff Writer Emeritus



The evening of February 4 brought us the 66th Annual Grammy Awards, a night that music lovers and pop culture fiends alike await each year. Hosted by comedian Trevor Noah, the 66th Grammys reflected on the music of 2023 in a wild ride of ups and downs. Between exciting wins and disappointing losses, the event was littered with strange advertisements and ignorant commentary. Here to hate? The lows are as follows:

Trevor Noah’s Epstein Joke

Trevor Noah is a world-famous comedian and television personality, having hosted “The Daily Show” from 2015-2022. Noah holds a clean reputation, with a remarkably cancellation-free record; which is more than what can be said for most comedians. Following the beloved Matt Rife’s horrible downfall and the tone-deaf hosting of January’s Golden Globes, the bar is low for decent comedy. 

The only crack in his set was an offhand joke about Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex trafficker and rapist. Noah joked that the star-studded audience was “[all of the celebrities] not on Jeffrey Epstein’s list.” While comedy surrounding serious events certainly can be done well, the joke fell flat, and the audience’s silence definitely made for an awkward moment.

Photo via Getty Images

Awkward lip-service to the genocide in Gaza

Recently, the public’s obligational pressure towards celebrities regarding outspokenness on world issues has increased. While the Grammys is a music awards show, due to their vast viewership and the powerful influence of the celebrity audience membership, activists and political spectators believe that the show has a responsibility to address relevant world topics, including that of Palestine and Israel. 

Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy, set aside a few moments to give what was meant to be a heartfelt monologue addressing the conflict, but instead was a disjointed speech that managed to reduce a full-fledged genocide to a disagreement that can be resolved by music. 

Mason opened with a statement regarding the 360 Israeli lives lost at the October 7th Re’im Music Festival. However, the 22,000 Palestinian lives lost since October 7th (Gaza Health Ministry) were not mentioned. In fact, Palestine’s suffrage was not mentioned at all. 

The neutrality and censorship of the speech effectively did more harm than good, and came off as tone-deaf and ignorant. While the segment wasn’t surprising, it was disappointing. The Grammys coverage of Palestine and Israel proves that more often than not, it’s best to leave serious topics to those who are educated enough to speak on them. 

Photo via Getty Images

Noah Kahan’s Best New Artist Loss

Best New Artist is one of the most anticipated awards of the Grammys each year. The category has an impressive list of past winners, including Olivia Rodrigo (2021), Megan Thee Stallion (2020), Billie Eilish (2019) and Dua Lipa (2018). This year’s nominees were in close competition, namely with Ice Spice, Gracie Abrams, Victoria Monet and Noah Kahan all being listed as 2023 nominees. 

Ultimately, the win went to Monet, despire her discography dating back to 2014.While she absolutely deserves recognition for her talent and success, naming her the best new artist is dismissive of the category as a whole when she is nowhere near new to the scene. 

The award should have gone to one of the newer artists, particularly Kahan, who’s career blossomed practically overnight in 2023. Kahan’s album “Stick Season”, and later “Stick Season (We’ll All Be Here Forever)”, charted at #6 on Billboard’s Top Rock Album chart and is certified 2x platinum with over 2 million sales to date. 

Kahan, having recently collaborated with esteemed artists such as Hozier, Kasey Musgraves and Post Malone, is making an incredible name for himself in the industry. Despite his 2023 loss, he’s certainly in the running for future Grammys to come.

Noah Kahan and his mother, photo via Getty Images