If it's sentimental, the judges like to say Yes it must be a winner

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The Independent Online
THE GRAMMYS matter. Held every year by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, they are the music industry's equivalent of the Oscars. Win big and watch sales of your song or album soar.

And yet for years, the awards ceremony has been the one that everyone loved to ridicule. The complaint is that the Grammy voters are out of touch and their choices are mainstream and sentimental. Michael Bolton has won two Grammys. So have the Rolling Stones.

And remember in 1989 when Milli Vanilli won the best new artist and its two stage-faces, Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan, then had to return the prize after it was discovered they had never sung a note on their album? Oops.

The problem lies partly in the voting. The academy has 9,000 paid-up members, all of whom participate in selecting the winners. Many may never have even listened to some of the songs and acts they are meant to be judging. There is simply too much music out there.

The sheer volume of product is also reflected in the mountainous and often confusing collection of categories - 92 in all, covering every type of music from rock to classical and everything in between, including Best Album Notes. There are awards for performers, for video makers, record producers and so on. How many nominees were up for gongs yesterday? Four hundred and sixty.

The Academy has been trying to find formulas to make the awards more relevant and responsive. A panel of must 20 industry insiders is now responsible for selecting nominees in the five most important categories.