2021 GRAMMYs Host Trevor Noah and EP Ben Winston Tease What to Expect From This Year's Show (Exclusive)

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We're just days away from the 2021 GRAMMYs, and this year's awards show will certainly be one to remember!

ET spoke with host Trevor Noah during a break from rehearsals this week, where he shared what fans can expect from the upcoming ceremony, airing Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBS. Unlike some of the other awards shows that have gone on virtually amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, he says the GRAMMYs will have a much more "intimate" feel.

"Most shows, I understand, have been done retrofitted to the pandemic. What they've done for the GRAMMYs, it's really amazing," Noah tells ET's Keltie Knight. "They've gone, 'No, we're going to bring the artists to the GRAMMYs, but find a way to space everybody out.' The audience is basically going to be like friends and family, plus the nominees. It's like tiny groups, and then it's outdoors as well, so we're finding spaces and places to do the show."

"It's going to be interesting. Just in the rehearsals, it's already felt really intimate," he continues. "What I'm really excited for is seeing which artists are fans of the other artists. Because of how we're doing the show, everyone's watching everyone else perform, so it's almost like they're performing for each other, and for everybody at home, which is a really cool dynamic."

As for what he's going to be like as host? Noah says he's going to try to "react as honestly as possible while the show is happening."

"I try to watch the show with you, because that's what I'm doing, I'm watching a performance," he explains. "And then if something happens in the performance, I might be like, 'You guys see this? Is this just me?' And what's cool is, I can even talk to the artists after the performance. So I might just ask someone a random question, and hopefully they won't hate me. We'll see what happens."

ET also spoke with Ben Winston, executive producer of the GRAMMY Awards, this week, who gave us even more insight into what to expect from this year's event.

"Everything is going to be a bit of a surprise because, ultimately, it's a GRAMMYs like no other," he teases. "I really don't think people are going to be disappointed. We are going to put on an evening of real entertainment that people will remember for a very long time. That's my hope, and we are going to try our absolute best."

Winston admits that while he never could have imagined his first GRAMMYs as EP happening amid a pandemic, it's also what makes it "really special."

"It actually allowed us to think more creatively about what the show could be this year," he explains. "It hasn't been a great year, that's for sure, but I do think it's gonna be a really great GRAMMYs."

Read on for more about what other changes are being made due to COVID-19.

SAFETY PROTOCOLS

Winston tells ET that aside from the entertainment factor, the main priority is, of course, everybody's safety. "We can't take any risks on anything that we do," he says. "Coming into this building [on show day], you have to give yourself a good 20 minutes extra before you're needed in the building."

"You first go through a credential check, then you have a COVID-19 test. After that, you go to the next table for a temperature check. Then they check your ID again, and then you go through security," he adds. "It has been a lot but our team has done a phenomenal job."

THERE ARE 5 STAGES

Winston says that the main goal for him and his team is to "essentially bring an incredible live concert to people." In order to make that happen safely, they're using five different stages!

"There's nothing virtual about this award show," he shares. "When certain artists said they'd like to be on the show, but couldn't make it to Los Angeles, I told them, 'Look, I totally get why, but we're only having people who are going to be able to be in that room.'"

"It was really important to me that we could create an event, and we felt that it was safe to do so," he continues. "We've had a team of 10 COVID-19 consultants all the way through, making sure that everything we've done is OK. It's going to be a real special event that in a way will be unlike anything the GRAMMYs have done before or will ever do. We are determined to make a really fun, vibrant, exciting night of television and I'm excited about it."

THE AUDIENCE WILL LOOK DIFFERENT

According to Winston, you won't see a typical GRAMMYs audience this year. "The audience is the other artists, and the other nominees," he reveals. "So, very star-studded."

"For the awards ceremony, it will be just the nominees who are in [that category] in that area at that time, socially distanced at separate tables," he explains. "Meanwhile, all the other artists will be performing in another space and they will be performing for each other."

"It's almost like a jigsaw puzzle," he adds. "We will keep cutting between various locations so we make sure the show never stands still."

THERE WILL BE SPECIAL PRESENTERS 

One of the things that Winston and his team were thinking about while planning for the GRAMMYs was how they could pay tribute to people in the music industry who have faced hardships amid the pandemic.

"I drive past the Troubadour [in Los Angeles] every day on my way home from work, and it's boarded up with a sign saying 'See you soon,' or whatever," he explains. "It sort of gave me the idea that, rather than really well-known people giving out gold statues to other really well-known people, I thought it'd be a really lovely idea to feature some of the amazing independent venues from around the country, like the Station Inn in Nashville or the Harlem Apollo."

"We went and spoke to a few of these venues and we met amazing people who are really missing the jobs they do. So this year, we're gonna feature a little bit about their venue," he continues. "They're gonna talk about why their venue is important, and remind the audience at home how great live music is. Then, they're gonna come onstage and give out awards to our amazing nominees."

EXPECT NEXT-LEVEL PERFORMANCES

This year's performance lineup is stacked with incredible talent, with stars like Harry Styles, Doja Cat, Bad Bunny, Billie Eilish and Dua Lipa all set to take the stage. While all of the performances are expected to be "next level," Winston tells ET that Taylor Swift's is definitely one you won't want to miss.

"It's an amazing performance. She was rehearsing this morning, and it's genuinely magical," he raves. "Her and her team have the most ambitious concept for her performance, but it's brilliant and it's beautiful. I think it's going to be one of the moments of the night, no doubt."

"And there's three country performances," he adds, referencing Maren Morris, Miranda Lambert and Mickey Guyton. "We're also real excited about Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B. I think that's gonna be a real moment that everyone's gonna be talking about the next day."


The 63rd GRAMMY Awards air Sunday, March 14 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBS. Follow along right here at ETonline.com for everything you need to get ready for the annual awards show, including how to watch the GRAMMYsGRAMMYs performersBest Dressed stars and more.

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