CBS Defends Decision to Censor Lil Wayne, Drake and Eminem Grammy Performance
Viewers who were looking forward to Lil Wayne, Eminem and Drake's performance at Sunday night's Grammy Awards were confused when the audio went on the fritz several times during the set. Fans took to Facebook and Twitter to share their confusion about the sound defects until it became apparent that overeager audio edits from the CBS team were actually to blame.
The network immediately caught heat about their decision to put together a high profile hip-hop set and then censor a substantial part of the performance. CBS representatives defended the audio bleeps, explaining that they were trying to keep up with the times, but still had to follow certain decency guidelines. "It was a rousing musical performance, but words were edited from the live telecast that didn't meet our broadcast standards," CBS spokesman Chris Ender told the Associated Press. "We have great respect for artists' creative freedom, but there are certain things you can't say, or sing, on television."
New York Magazine ran a feature on the over-bleeped performance questioning the decision to silence entire lines of the song when the rappers were already making a conscious decision to censor themselves. But Grammy executive producer Ken Ehrlich said that he anticipated the performance to create a difficult situation for producers and artists. According to Ehrlich, hip-hop performances have created similar problems in the past, but they are still an integral part of the show. "I knew going in that it was going to be pretty rough" Ehrlich said. "They have a responsibility to standards and we have a responsibility to represent music of the moment, and some of that music is edgier ... But this is music that is very popular, and we can't do a show that represents everything that is out there without this being part of it."
Lil Wayne and Eminem kicked off their set with a performance of the new single 'Drop the World,' from Wayne's album 'Rebirth,' (which hit stores today) followed by a performance of 'Forever' with Drake. West Coast viewers were treated to a more audible performance thanks to a tape-delayed broadcast.