ENTERTAINMENT
01/05/2021 17:56 EST | Updated 01/07/2021 10:01 EST

2021 Grammy Awards Postponed Due To COVID-19

The Recording Academy is now said to be planning for a "more intimate" ceremony to take place March 14.

The 2021 Grammy Awards, originally set for Jan. 31, will be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to multiple media outlets

Initially, the 63rd annual ceremony was expected to take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles without a live audience and with only presenters and performers in attendance. However, producers opted to delay the event entirely amid California’s surge in COVID-19 cases, Rolling Stone reported Tuesday. 

The Recording Academy, which presents the Grammy Awards, confirmed to HuffPost in an email that the ceremony will now take place March 14. 

“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,” Harvey Mason Jr., the Recording Academy’s interim CEO and president, said in a joint statement with CBS executive Jack Sussman and Grammys executive producer Ben Winston. 

“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,” the statement said. Whether the show’s previously announced host, Trevor Noah, will remain on board has not been made clear. 

On Monday, California reported its most new coronavirus cases on a single day, logging more than 74,000. To date, Los Angeles County has confirmed a total of more than 827,498 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic in 2020. 

Known globally as “music’s biggest night,” the Grammys have in recent months grappled with how to effectively reimagine a ceremony that often draws more than 18,000 people. Speaking to Billboard last month, Winston hinted organizers may be taking a few cues from the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards by staging performances in multiple locations. 

“It will feel more intimate — yet still big enough that it’s more than socially distanced,” he said. “I think we can strip back some of the grandiose elements and bling of the event, because that’s not necessarily what feels right as a tone for the world now anyway.”

“I’m so struck by the independent music venues around the world, and I’m aware of how hard hit that side of the industry has been,” he added. “I’m looking to do something quite exciting with the independent venues — supporting them and putting a spotlight on them in what has been a really tough year for them.” 

Leading the nominations list for the 2021 Grammy Awards is Beyoncé, who scored nine nods. The pop superstar is followed by Taylor Swift, Roddy Ricch and Dua Lipa, who have six apiece.