After severely cutting back the number of categories at last year’s ceremony from 109 to 78, the Grammys couldn’t help themselves. They’ve added three new awards for the 2013 show, bringing the current total to 81 categories.
The most noteworthy of the three additions is Best Urban Contemporary Album, a new award in the R&B Field. There’s also an existing Best R&B Album award, meaning that the R&B album field is once again (unnecessarily) split into two categories, as it was up until 2011.
What does this mean in practical terms? Paul Grein reports that Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange and Emeli Sande’s Our Version of Events (both possible Album of the Year nominees) were submitted to the Urban Contemporary category. That leaves the Best R&B Album race wide open. Those who perform traditional R&B and soul music are the big winners here, as they now have five new nomination slots to compete for each year.
We’ve said for years that the Grammys have way too many categories, and that excess is one of the big reasons why the Grammys aren’t nearly as respected as the Oscars. We’ve advocated slashing the number of categories to fewer than 25 (and we’re aware that will never happen.) Last year’s cuts were a step in the right direction, but at this rate, it looks like we’ll be back to 100 categories again before long.
The other two category additions for 2013, by the way, are Best Latin Jazz Album and Best Classical Compendium. For those seeking a visual breakdown, check out these charts listing the 2012 Grammy Awards categories and the 2013 Grammy Awards categories (PDF).