Socially Distant Award Shows are the New Normal

BTS at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards. Photo by Courtesy of MTV/ViacomCBS/Shutterstock (10761136w)

2020 has not panned out to be the year we were all hoping for. Everything has changed, and we’ve had to get used to a new normal. One thing that’s kept us sane is TV, film, and music, and we’ve been patiently waiting for new releases to come out, even though things have been delayed due to the pandemic. Award shows were one of the many things affected by COVID-19 and while many originally postponed, ultimately, they decided to have virtual, social distanced shows. So far, we’ve had a virtual BAFTA TV, BETs, and VMAs, with the Emmy’s scheduled as the next virtual show on September 21.

One of the things we love about awards shows, in addition to the incredible fashion, are the unscripted, unplanned moments, but the virtual shows take these moments to a whole new level of awkward. The interviewer and interviewee barely fit on the screen at the same time and the show’s done in weird green rooms or abandoned lots. The show mostly consists of prerecorded remotely-produced videos, which makes it hard to tell what’s actually live. One advantage of virtual shows is that producers can tape things ahead of time and include high tech effects and the performers can shift between sets.

Also, when the performers walk the red carpet, we can’t help but wonder where they are going. Are they headed to parking lots, abandoned lots, or to their bedrooms?

So, what’s the future of award shows? Will they continue to be held like this in the future when the pandemic is a thing of the past? It would mean higher-quality production and more control over unplanned moments like artists’ acceptance speeches and surprise elements in performances. Like everything during the pandemic, we’ll just have to wait it out.