Grammy Awards Postponed Amid COVID-19 Surge

Billie Eilish_Onstage_Grammys_Song of the Year - Getty - H 2020
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

The ceremony has been moved to March.

The Grammy Awards have been postponed to March 14 as COVID-19 cases surge in Los Angeles, where the ceremony was set to be held.

"After thoughtful conversations with health experts, our host and artists scheduled to appear, we are rescheduling The 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards to be broadcast Sunday, March 14, 2021," Recording Academy chair and interim president/CEO Harvey Mason Jr., CBS evp specials, music, live events and alternative programming Jack Sussman and Grammy Awards executive producer Ben Winston said in a statement on Tuesday. "The deteriorating COVID situation in Los Angeles, with hospital services being overwhelmed, ICUs having reached capacity, and new guidance from state and local governments have all led us to conclude that postponing our show was the right thing to do."

The ceremony was originally set to take place on Jan. 31 at the Staples Center in downtown L.A. and air on CBS at 8 p.m. that night. The new date coincides with the 2021 SAG Awards, which also moved its ceremony date amid the pandemic.

Mason Jr., Sussman and Winston added in their statement, "Nothing is more important than the health and safety of those in our music community and the hundreds of people who work tirelessly on producing the show. We want to thank all of the talented artists, the staff, our vendors and especially this year’s nominees for their understanding, patience and willingness to work with us as we navigate these unprecedented times."

Organizers were already conceiving the 2021 Grammys, which will be hosted by Trevor Noah, as an altered affair amid the ongoing pandemic before the ceremony was postponed. The ceremony would only host presenters and performers at the Staples Center, and no audience or nominated artists would be present, according to Rolling Stone, which initially reported on the Grammys' postponement on Tuesday. It remains to be seen how the March ceremony will be organized.

California posted a new single-day record for coronavirus cases on Monday with 74,000, the Los Angeles Times reported the next day. Over the last week in Los Angeles County, the county has recorded about 184 deaths a day due to COVID-19 and about one in five people in the county who are getting tested for the virus are positive.

Beyoncé led the nominations for the 2021 Grammys with nine nods; Dua Lipa, Roddy Ricch and Taylor Swift all earned six nominations, Brittany Howard earned five and Megan Thee Stallion, Billie Eilish, DaBaby, Phoebe Bridgers, Justin Bieber, John Beasley and David Frost all received four nods.

Late on Tuesday, SAG-AFTRA issued a statement expressing displeasure about the fact that the Grammys has moved to the same date and time for which the SAG Awards has long been scheduled.

"We are extremely disappointed to hear of the conflicting date, March 14th, announced today for this year’s Grammy Awards telecast," the statement begins. "We announced the same date for the SAG Awards last July with the intent to give the greatest possible scheduling consideration for other awards shows. We expect the same consideration from sister organizations throughout the industry."

The statement continues, "The SAG Awards recognizes outstanding acting performances over the past year. We will again put on a spectacular show that accomplishes that mission. Our two organizations, SAG-AFTRA and the Recording Academy, share members and work together effectively to advocate for artists in many areas. In an environment that is increasingly challenging for televised awards programs, we also have a mutual interest in successfully showcasing the artistry and talent of our respective memberships. We are in contact with the Recording Academy and will continue to work with our sister organizations to find ways to make this year’s awards season as successful as possible."

Jan. 5, 3:29 p.m.: Updated with statement from Mason Jr., Sussman and Winston.

Jan. 5, 9:57 p.m.: Updated with statement from SAG-AFTRA.