The 2023 Grammy Awards airs this Sunday—it's the 65th anniversary of the ceremony—and Trevor Noah is returning as Master of Ceremonies for the third consecutive year (he also serves as a producer on the show). “I'll admit I'm a fan of many of the artists,” he says of his return. The broadcast returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center, and five new award categories have been added, including Songwriter Of The Year (Non-Classical) and Best Score Soundtrack For Video Games.
EBONY chatted with Noah to learn his biggest reason for returning to host again, who he's excited to see perform and his predictions on who will win (trust us, it's a game changer!).
EBONY: This is your third consecutive year as Master of ceremonies for The Grammys. What keeps you coming back?
Trevor Noah: I really love working with the team. And then there's the very selfish side of me because I'll admit it, I'm a fan of many of the artists. There are not many opportunities in your life where you get to look Beyoncé in the eyes and say anything to her or watch a Bad Bunny performance up close and personal. And there are not many moments in your life where you get to sing along to a Harry Styles song with Lizzo, who's going to be performing later on in a show. That is what I experienced in previous years. I can only imagine what I'm going to experience going forward. I keep coming back because of the magic. Every single year something surprises me.”
What are some of the packages that you're planning to do for Grammy's 65th anniversary?
We keep a lot of that under wraps to try and make it as much of a surprise as possible. The performers love to surprise the audience with what they're coming up with and on my side, I try and keep everything as fresh as possible. Until the very last moment, I haven't locked down anything that I'm going to say or what I'm going to do. For the show itself, I know the producing team loves to keep their cards close to their chest. I think they keep it away from me as well, partly just for my safety, so that nobody tries to kidnap me and find out who's performing.
It’s an amazing performance lineup.
I'm excited about the names that have been announced. I’ve always loved Mary J. Blige. I think anyone who loves music loves her as a performer and an artist. I'm excited to see Lizzo on stage, Brandi Carlile and Bad Bunny. Those are the moments I get to plan around.
What are some of the secrets to being a great host?
I think that I'm always aware of what's happening in the world. But I also like to be aware that this is the Grammys If something crazy happens that we're all thinking about, there's a good chance I'll say something about it. If something happens on the night, I'm going to say something about it. But I also like an award show to be a celebration of the people who have been nominated. I know what it's like to be nominated. I know what it's like to come in there with your nerves and all of your feelings and your emotions around a piece of work that you've spent a long time creating. I respect what these artists have done and what this night means to them. So I'm never trying to detract from that; I’m only trying to add to it for both the artists and their fans who have been on the journey with them.
Is there any place you wouldn’t go with your monologues?
I never think there's a place I wouldn't go. But I'm always trying to think of what's appropriate. I think each awards show is different from the others for different reasons. so as a host, I'm always trying to think of what is appropriate for the show that I'm on. First of all, it's a show about music. So I'm not going to make jokes about movies. It's a show about the artists and the songs, so I'll try and keep it in that world. I'm lucky producers never tell me, “that's taboo.” I'm not restricted in any way. But as a performer and as a person, I'm trying to figure out how best to have a show and I'm not trying to make it about me. I don't want you walking away talking about me when it could be Beyonce's biggest night and she breaks the all-time record for Grammys won or Harry Styles walks away with an “Album of the Year” award or a night where ABBA wins after decades of dominating music as we know it. I try my best to compliment the show as opposed to trying to, in some way, shape or form, steal a spotlight.
Can we take those as some of your predictions of what's going to happen at this year's Grammys?
That would mean I've predicted that everyone in the same category wins the Grammy. So yeah, if everybody wins the same Grammy, you can say I predicted it!
How many costume changes will you have?
I'll try and get at least three costume changes, depending on the running order. I like changing jackets mostly just because I'm so stressed and I like to get like a fresh feeling on me when I move from one part of the show to the next.
How does hosting differ from doing standup?
At my standup show, people came to see me. There's no tension. No one is wondering if this is going to be their big night that could change their career, you just get to have fun with me in some city somewhere in the world. With show hosting, people have come for many different reasons. Some people come for one artist and others have come for the whole show. I think the main difference is understanding how broad the audience is. And most importantly, you understand that it is an awards night. As an audience, we get to celebrate that with the performers who I think in many ways have created the soundtracks for our lives.
Sounds like you take a real sense of caring and pride in protecting these people who could win an award and change their lives.
Because it might never happen again. It's not promised in the first place and I don't think anybody should take that for granted. It's a pretty big night for anyone who's in music.
Why should we tune in this year?
Wait and see what happens. I will tell you that you will not and cannot regret watching this year's Grammys. My first year was a pandemic and that was different and interesting. My second was in Vegas. Now we’re back in Los Angeles, and this is the main event. This is every single album that you love going head to head and people celebrating that of each other. You definitely want to tune in.
The 2023 Grammy Awards airs Sunday, February 5, 2023 on CBS and Paramount+.