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9 Weird Rules Celebs Have To Follow At The Grammys

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Beyonce at the Grammys

Winning a Grammy Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences means that the wider professional music society recognizes talents and spectacular work in the music industry.

Celebrities like Beyonce, Jaz-Z, Kanye West, Adele, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, and more have established themselves as big Grammy winners, and younger singers like Billie Eilish, Lorde, and Post Malone are starting to make their name in the music industry. 

This year marks the 64th annual Grammy awards which will premiere live at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on January 31, 2022.

However, due to the rise of COVID-19, it might be postponed. Last year all recipients had to wear masks as there was a strict rule due to covid, but that's not the only rule that Grammy awards are known to have.

According to award-show history, the Grammy awards have lots of rules which celebs need to follow — and some of them are kind of weird. 

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There are two red carpets: one for celebrities and another for non A-listers.

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The Grammys red carpet

Apparently on all red carpets, according to a person's celeb status, not everyone gets to walk on the main red carpet and get their outfit photographed in front of hundreds of photographers.

This could be for award shows like The Grammys, "The Oscars," and more. According to ABC the carpet actually has two lanes, one for major stars like Scarlett Johansson or Tom Hanks, and the other is for "common folk" or "right lane" worthy. Therefore, separating the artists that way helps in getting the perfect shot of a star.

Sometimes photogs even ask other non "right lane-worthy" stars to step away from the shot asking, "Okay, can we get a fashion?" according to LA Times photographer Jay L. Clendenin for Vanity Fair.

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No Swearing allowed at all.

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The Grammys no swearing

One of the most strict rules the Grammys has, much like other live award shows or events, is no swearing. Every song that is performed must be clean and announcers and artists must avoid cursing at all costs. If a celeb does swear it's hard for production behind the scenes to cover it quickly. 

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Artist performances and speeches can't have a hidden agenda.

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The Grammys no agenda

The next strict rule the recording academy has is for artists to not voice their opinions or thoughts at the award show. The award show lasts three and a half hours which gives some time for artists to make speeches after winning their awards, however, the time isn't to be used to voice a hidden agenda.

This rule has been broken a few times by celebs who have won. Most recently, Billie Eilish used her speech time to shed light on deserving Black artists who have historically been unrecognized for their work during The Grammys.

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Artists don't get paid to perform at The Grammys.

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the Grammys performance

Performances during "The Grammy" awards aren't typically planned by the singer — they have very little say in what their performance will look like during the show, so they don't have the same kind of freedom they would have if they were on tour.

Performers receive no payment for their performances, however, in return, they do get exposure and supposedly get the "grammy bounce" which is a myth that after performing on the Grammys their revenue will increase and they'll have success later on.

With performances, there's also a dress code artists must follow, which often includes things like not showing too much cleavage or skin, avoiding sheer fabrics or thong-type costumes, as well as avoiding names or logos. 

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The awards show provides their own "Grammy ready" hair and makeup crew for the performers.

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the Grammys hair and makeup

Each performer on The Grammys must be passed through the Grammy hair and makeup crew in order to perform on stage. This needs to be done for background dancers and singers too.

Anyone stepping foot on the recording academy stage for the night needs to be cleared by the approved hair and makeup team — not the celebs' own crew.

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Collaboration performances are set up by the recording academy.

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the Grammys artists collaborating

At the Grammys, they — not the performers — choose specific artists to do collaborations. Artists sign up to perform, but ultimately it's up to the Grammys to allow whichever singers they want.

If an artist turns down a collaboration then it doesn't allow them for more screen time and fame and most go along with it.

However, there have been some exceptions to that rule in the past. Arianna Grande, for instance, wasn't chosen to do a collaboration, but to perform something The Grammys had in mind. She ended up canceling her performance a couple of days before, though, because she didn't want to be pushed by Grammy producers.

This also happened with Lorde in 2018 when she was asked to perform with an artist — but that meant she had to collab with them. She declined the offer because they wouldn't let her sing solo and didn't end up performing. Interestingly enough, the four other nominated male artists in her category were reportedly all offered to perform their own solo tracks, three of whom performed that year.

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No drinking allowed for performers at The Grammys.

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the Grammys no drinking

At The Grammys, there is no tolerance for drinking at or before the show — singers and performers must be sober for their part in the show.

Even though the rule is advised there haven't been any reports of breathalyzer tests being administered backstage. The rule asks performers to refrain from a pre-show drink, and if a performer breaks this rule they would get a lot of flack. 

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The Grammys have had too long history of male-favored rules.

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the Grammys male host traditions

The Grammys don't have the best history when it comes to equal opportunities for men and women. In the past, it was only allowed that men were the hosts and there were definitely more male performers.

Over the years that's changed, if only slightly. So far, there have only been 5 female hosts in the history of the show, which started in 1959.

The former president and CEO of the recording academy Neil Portnow said in the past that this absence of a female presence at The Grammys was because more women need to "step it up if they want to have the same recognition as their male counterparts."

He ended up getting heavily criticized by many female artists and soon after stepped down from his role.

According to the Recording Academy's newly updated rules, to be nominated, artists must have an album that contains "greater than 50 percent playing time of newly recorded (within five years of the release date), previously unreleased recordings", which many women have achieved. The rule used to be 75 percent but was brought down after the pandemic.

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Lip syncing is not allowed.

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the Grammys no lip syncing

All artists must perform original songs and not lip-sync. Singing must be live and the background track used for dances and for artists to take a break isn't allowed.

In 2019, fans accused Cardi-B of lip-syncing which was deemed to be false as the Grammys are notorious for not allowing any and all artists to lip-sync. 

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Megan Hatch is a writer at YourTango who covers news & entertainment, love & relationships, and internet culture. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.