It’s been almost a week since the Grammys. And a week since Variety reported that Taylor Swift had pulled out of an unannounced performance. A few days later, Grammys showrunner Ken Ehrlich clarified that they’d been talking about it but nothing was ever confirmed so characterising it as “Taylor pulls out” wasn’t accurate. Ken says that she’d already let him know she’d been thinking about it but ended up declining a week before. And that may have had something to do with the drama surrounding the Recording Academy right now with their newly ousted chief, Deborah Dugan, accusing the Academy of all kinds of fraud and abuse of power.
But for some reason, people want to keep talking about why Taylor wasn’t at the Grammys. Taylor is a big deal, so she’s always going to be a story. And Taylor really loves winning Grammys so, sure, that’s part of it too. I don’t know though that outside of the people who are trying to extend this make-a-scandal that we actually care all that much? I care about Miss Americana, the Netflix doc that just dropped today and I’ll get to it at some point this weekend but… the Grammys are over, who still gives a sh-t?
Evidently Page Six. They’ve published “Taylor Swift skips the Grammys – WHYYYYY?” stories all week and they’ve just come out with another one. At first they were saying it may have had something to do with Scooter Braun. Now they’re saying that it’s because she wanted to be guaranteed a win before she committed to attending.
“Multiple sources have confirmed to Page Six that Swift’s team talked to show bigwigs a few days before the live event and said that Swift would only attend and perform if she was to win a big Grammy. But Swift’s team was told the winners are not known to those planning the show, and they would not bend the rules for her.
“[Her team] called and wanted to be assured that she would win the Grammy. And while it wasn’t an explicit demand, they certainly were fishing to find out if Taylor was a winner. It was understood in the conversation that if she’s not winning, she’s not coming to the Grammys,” one insider said.
Another music insider said, “It’s widely known in the industry that [Swift’s team] called to find out if she was getting a Grammy, they wouldn’t tell her, so she didn’t go. It’s not uncommon [for an artist] to want to know. And everyone knows Taylor loves to win, win, win.”
Yet a spokesperson for Swift said, “I am on the record: These statements by anonymous, unidentified ‘sources’ are absolutely 100 percent false and laughable. She just didn’t go to the Grammys. You guys need to calm down.”
Look, it’s very, very possible that that’s how it went down, that Taylor wanted to win and insisted on being promised a win before she performed. As the source even said, it’s not uncommon among artists. She wouldn’t be the first, if this is true. And if you’re a Taylor hater, you might be inclined to believe that.
But it’s also possible that Ken Ehrlich’s version is the true version – she thought about it, she decided against it, well in advance, and that’s it, nothing to see here. What’s interesting is why certain sources keep coming back to it, insisting on letting people know the True Hollywood Story of Why Taylor Swift Didn’t Go To The Grammys. And as much as you might not like Taylor Swift, her adversary here isn’t exactly sympathetic. It’s the old boys’ club of the music industry. In December when she used her Billboard Woman of the Decade speech to talk about artists owning their own work and advocating for more women to be represented in the industry there was backlash from people huffing and puffing about how she spoiled the luncheon and that that wasn’t the time to agitate.
Is it ever a good time to agitate?
That’s how the status quo remains the status quo – by telling us when it’s the “right” time to say something, when it is or isn’t “appropriate” to push for change.
So all this trash talking of Taylor Swift and why she wasn’t at the Grammys and insisting on winning as a condition of her coming….where is it actually coming from? She happens to be in a huge fight with a few very powerful music executives who have propped up the Recording Academy. And making Taylor look bad certainly works to their advantage.