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Grammy producers: NYC show performances to become ‘moments’

Recording Academy officials say they welcome dropping the routine and becoming a more ‘unpredictable’ celebration of artists.

Recording Academy chief Neil Portnow and Mayor Bill

Recording Academy chief Neil Portnow and Mayor Bill de Blasio kick off Grammy Week festivities on Jan. 22, 2018, in Manhattan. The Grammys will be held Jan. 28, 2018, at Madison Square Garden. Photo Credit: Getty Images for NARAS / Cindy Ord

Grammy producers say the first ceremony held in New York in 15 years will be packed with the one-of-a-kind performances that have come to be known as “Grammy moments.”

Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow said that his main concern for Sunday night’s ceremony at Madison Square Garden is the weather. “I’m checking at least every five minutes,” he said at a Grammy kickoff event at the Paley Center for the Media Monday night.

Grammy Awards Executive Producer Ken Ehrlich told the crowd that he was most excited about performances from SZA, Childish Gambino and Kesha, though there are some performances he still can’t discuss.

The show’s writer/producer David Wild revealed that new performers have been added in the past few days and that he booked a presenter on the plane ride to New York this weekend.

Ehrlich said the reaction of New Yorkers to the Grammys’ return has also boosted the show’s energy. Portnow said the main reason the awards have been away from New York so long is economics. “It was a bit of a routine that we used to have that we got away from for good business reasons, difficult conditions and the recession,” said Portnow, referring to the previous practice of regularly moving the show between New York and Los Angeles. “Now, we’re being unpredictable.”

At a ribbon-cutting on The Recording Academy’s new Manhattan headquarters Monday morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was proud the awards had returned to New York. “This is the biggest night in music returning to the musical capital of the world and that feels really good,” said de Blasio, whose office estimates this week of activities will generate $200 million in revenue. “We are so happy to have the Grammys where, in our humble opinion, they belong.”

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