Campaigning is an essential part of a successful awards season. This year it has been varied with the return of TV appearances in addition to performances for internet media voters may frequent. And campaigning seems as intense as ever, so let’s look at how the potential nominees did so before nomination voting closed on October 20.
Late night talk shows
Talk shows have always been good campaigning spots, and this year they were even more so. Talk shows went off-air for months due to the WGA strike, so many people were eager to watch them again when they finally came back on the air. Coincidentally, the return of these shows almost matched with the first day of Grammy voting (October 11), so there was a lot of hype that artists could take advantage of.
Boygenius, for example, performed their Best Alternative Performance contender “Cool About It” on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”; they’re pushing for an Album of the Year nom as well. There was also Raye, who performed on Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show,” doing her hit “Escapism” — up for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Music Video and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance — as well as her track “Worth It,” which is contending in the R&B field.
Other contenders this year that have performed on TV shows include Kelly Clarkson, Feist, and David Kushner on “The Tonight Show”; Caroline Polachek and Daniel Caesar on “The Late Show”; Myke Towers, Grace Potter and Maneskin on “Jimmy Kimmel Live”; and Ryan Beatty and Jungle on “Late Night.”
“Tiny Desk Concert”
As usual, NPR’s “Tiny Desk Concert” has been a great spot to appeal to Grammy voters. While the show is a good Grammy promo year-round, some artists do theirs near Grammy voting to be freshest in academy members’ minds. This year wasn’t an exception. Polachek dropped her concert right on the first day of voting. There was also Sam Smith, who did their “Tiny Desk” a few days before voting started, and it went viral. Other artists who recently featured on the series include Becky G, competing in Latin categories; Smokey Robinson, a big contender in R&B; and BTS’s V, contending in pop.
Saturday Night Live
“SNL” tends to start its season near Grammy voting, so it’s no wonder artists love booking the show. This year Ice Spice was the lucky one, getting the musical guest spot for the show’s season premiere alongside Pete Davidson as host. Spice, who’s the front-runner for Best New Artist, performed her hit “In Ha Mood,” which could be nominated in the general field and is a big contender in the rap field. Spice also got collaborator, friend, and big-name contender Taylor Swift to introduce her, which prompted a social media frenzy.
The other contender who’s doing “SNL” is Bad Bunny. His episode doesn’t air until October 21, the day after voting, but advance promotion might have given him a boost. Benito has a couple of features submitted in the pop and global fields at the Grammys this year, but his main contender is his own hit “Where She Goes,” which could net nominations for Record of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance, and Best Music Video. He is also doing double duty as host and musical guest, which might have impressed voters even more in anticipation.
New music releases
Ariana Grande’s 2019 Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album for “Sweetener” was very much sealed when she dropped “Thank U, Next,” the lead single from her next album, which at the time became her biggest hit and a cultural phenomenon. Grande’s popularity during final voting likely sky-rocketed “Sweetener” to a surefire lock in the category.
Taylor Swift employed a similar strategy at the 2021 Grammys. Her “Folklore” was a possible Album of the Year front-runner, but its victory was sealed when Swift surprise-dropped another record, “Evermore,” perhaps-not-so-coincidentally on the week of Grammy voting for winners. Indeed, it seems like releasing new music at the right time can help artists gain more exposure and, as such, lure voters.
This year Boygenius has done just that, dropping a companion EP to their contender “The Record,” titled “The Rest,” just at the start of Grammy voting. Another contender who released new music was Ice Spice, with her Rema-assisted single “Pretty Girl.”
Grammys FYC site
Last but not least, the recording academy offers an FYC section on its voter dashboard in order for members to upload any material they wish to promote. This is an especially useful tool for less prominent artists, who oftentimes can’t book TV shows or have already done “Tiny Desk.” Some artists who were posted and are big contender include Raye, Bad Bunny, Olivia Rodrigo, Peso Pluma, Caroline Polachek, Boygenius, and Gracie Abrams.
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