The Recording Academy has postponed the Grammy Awards weeks before the planned ceremony in Los Angeles over the risk posed by the coronavirus’ Omicron variant, signalling the start of yet another year of pandemic upheaval during the awards season.
The organisers had attempted to return the award show to normality with a live audience and performances at the Crypto.com Arena (formerly Staples Center) on January 31, the Associated Press reported.
In an announcement on Wednesday, The Recording Academy said it had decided to postpone the awards ceremony following talks with Los Angeles and California officials, health experts, the artiste community, and its partners.
It said in a statement that there were too many risks attached to holding the event on January 31, given the uncertainty surrounding the spread of the Omicron variant. It is yet to announce any new date for the event.
The Grammy Awards, like most major awards shows, had to be postponed last year as well due to concerns over the coronavirus. The event was moved from its original date in late January to mid-March and held with an audience made up of nominees and their guests.
The live performances, which set the Grammy Awards apart from other such events, were set separately with no significant crowds. Many of these performances were also pre-taped.
This time, however, the organisers could struggle to find a new date for the event with the arena occupied by a hockey team and two basketball teams. The Recording Academy did not mention any possible change of venue.
The Sundance Film Festival also cancelled in-person programming, set to start from January 20, and shifted online. It is likely that this could be the beginning of one more round of award-show rescheduling after a fresh coronavirus surge over the winter with the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Academy Awards planned for February and March, respectively.