Published Apr 06, 2011A massive overhaul of the Grammys will take place next year, with over 30 categories being axed from the awards show. While over the years the program branched out to include a vast range of musical styles, event organizers, believing things have got out of hand, are hoping to make the Grammys more manageable, as well as competitive.
An interview with Recording Academy president and CEO Neil Portnow explained the new rules of the game: if you want to win, you have to play hard.
"It ups the game in terms of what it takes to receive a Grammy and preserves the great esteem of with its held in the creative community, which is the most important element," he told the Associated Press.
While no genre will be excluded for contention, chances are a lot of specialized awards that have been shelved -- from Native American album to instrumental pop, rock and country to children's spoken word -- will get lost in the shuffle. All in all, the number of categories has dropped from 109 to 78.
Regardless, Portnow feels a little competition can help the Grammys, who don't want to just hand out an award to just anyone.
"We are talking about the most prestigious, coveted award and it should be a high bar in terms of the measurement of receiving that," he said.
Another major change eliminates separate male and female categories in pop, R&B and country. This is already the case in the rock category. Removing the gender barriers will level out the playing field, making for an egalitarian Grammy situation, according to Portnow.
"A great singer is a great singer is a great singer, and somebody that has a gift in terms of their voice, and is at the top of their game in terms of their delivery and emotion, really isn't necessarily defined by gender," he said.
While niche genres might be worried that they won't be able to nab a statuette at the next Grammys, let us remember that Arcade Fire grabbed album of the year this past February and those guys are complete unknowns, right?