The Academy Awards just gave up and decided to go without a host for the Oscars telecast on February 24. But the Grammy Awards does have a host; it was announced on Tuesday that it will be Alicia Keys. She becomes the first female host in a decade. The 61st annual Grammy Awards are on February 10.
The first Grammys were held on May 4, 1959. The host was comic Mort Sahl who pioneered an improvisational style of social satire that pokes fun at political and current event topics. He was an inspiration for Lenny Bruce, George Carlin and Miriam Maisel. In 1992, Whoopi Goldberg became the first female host. Previous female hosts include Queen Latifah, Rosie O’Donnell, Ellen DeGeneres and Garry Shandling.
James Corden hosted the Grammys last year and in 2017. He replaced LL Cool J, who hosted for five years beginning in 2012. From 2006 to 2011, there was no host.
The 61st annual Grammys are bringing a female-centric year after the 2018 awards received a great deal controversy over gender diversity.
Keys is a 15-time Grammy winner who has frequently performed on the show. She is a safe choice at a time when the Academy Awards has battled bad press over the selection and subsequent withdrawal and then re-offer to Kevin Hart because of his past homophobic tweets.
The nominees in the major Grammy categories are filled with more female artists than in recent years. Last year, after only one woman won a high-profile Grammy, the head of the Recording Academy, Neil Portnow, brought a big backlash when he said that women in the industry should “step up” to advance their careers. Portnow will step down from the Academy this year.
Drake and Kendrick Lamar have the most nominations this year, but Brandi Carlile, the fabulous Janelle Monáe, Cardi B, H.E.R. (an Alicia Keys discovery) and Kacey Musgraves, are all up for Album of the Year. Of the eight nominees for Best New Artists, seven are women: Chole X Halle, Greta Van Fleet, H.E.R., Dua Lipa, Margo Price, Jorja Smith and Bebe Rexha. The lone dude is Country singer/songwriter Luke Combs.
Even Keys’ announcement video celebrates girl power . Watch: