Why This Year's American Music Awards Is Raising Eyebrows

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, just about everything involving 2020 has been atypical, from political conventions, to democratic processes like presidential elections, to awards shows. Political convention delegates delivered fiery speeches in empty halls. At the Emmys, boxes were delivered to the homes of nominees, to be opened only after a winner was announced. The MTV Music Awards and the CMT Music Awards were held remotely across different locations. Only the CMAs had the audacity to hold the event live, albeit socially distanced, sitting unmasked at four-person tables. But that's about to change this weekend, as the AMAs announced it too would be broadcasting live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday night.

Under ordinary circumstances, this weekend's American Music Awards would be a great show. Vulture lists a stellar cast of performers that include Katy Perry, Billie Eilish, BTS, and more. The show's host, Taraji P. Henson, was excited enough to repost the AMAs message on Instagram, saying: "LET'S HAVE SOME FUN!!! #Repost #amas Who else is sick of wearing sweats?  Can't wait to see how many outfits our host @tarajiphenson brings to the #AMAs, LIVE November 22nd at 8/7c on ABC!" But the AMAs appear to have overlooked the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is only growing from strength to strength.

The AMAs are being held live amid a worsening pandemic

This week, Los Angeles County, where the awards are taking place, registered its highest number of cases since the pandemic began. County health officer Dr. Muntu Davis even pointed out that the area's numbers are higher than those than the spike seen in the middle of the summer. He also said, "If our numbers are really that high, something needs to be done very differently — either with our orders, but really in practice in the community, because that's really where most things are happening in order slow that spread" (via ABC). And on Thursday, California Governor Gavin Newsom's office imposed a "limited stay-at-home order," which kicks off on Saturday night and requires all non-essential work, movements, and gatherings to cease between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. (via NBC).

While the CMAs delivered on a night of entertainment, it did so despite a number of memorable no-shows who had to stay home because they had tested positive for COVID-19, including Lady A, Florida Georgia Line's Typer Hubbard, and Rascal Flatts (via Vulture). In spite of the safety guidelines imposed by the AMA's producers, Deadline reports that a few crew members have already tested positive for COVID-19, so whether the AMAs will have the same issues seen during the CMAs remains to be seen. As Vulture asks, "Did the AMAs learn nothing from the CMAs?"