Ed Sheeran: American awards shows are full of ‘resentment & hatred’

2021 MTV Video Music Awards

Here are some photos of Ed Sheeran at the VMAs this past Sunday. Ed performed “Shivers” early in the evening and then I guess he hung out for the rest of the night, watching the performances and waiting to see if he won anything. He was nominated for several awards, including Song of the Summer and Video of the Year, all for “Bad Habits.” Honestly, the more I do this job, the more I understand that music awards really don’t mean anything. The music industry is more f–ked up than the film industry (and that’s saying a lot), and half of the music awards are just random “music industry” groups giving awards to their faves. I always assumed that most musical artists just go to their music awards shows to A) perform, B) watch their peers’ perform, C) get hammered and party and D) maybe win, maybe lose, it doesn’t matter. This is especially true of the VMAs, yes? Who takes the VMAs seriously besides, like, Taylor Swift? Well, according to Ed Sheeran, people are taking it seriously and the energy around American awards shows is always really toxic?

His vibe on the 2021 VMAs: “The room is filled with resentment and hatred toward everyone else and it’s quite an uncomfortable atmosphere,” the 30-year-old said in a Tuesday interview with radio host Julia on her Audacy segment “The Julia Show.”

The groupies & entourages are the toxic ones: “All the artists are sweet people, but they’re, like, surrounded by entourages that want them to win, too, so it’s one artist surrounded by 10 people and another artist surrounded by 10 people and everyone is kind of giving each other the side-eye.”

It’s not just the VMAs: “It’s nothing to do with MTV or the award show, it’s at all the other awards shows,” too, he said, before naming the Grammys, AMAs and Billboards. “It’s just lots of people wanting other people to fail and I don’t like that.”

Britain does awards shows better: “In England, our award shows are just like everyone gets drunk and no one really cares who wins or loses, it’s just sort of a good night out.”

The after-parties suck too. “The after-parties, again … it’s not just musicians. It’s musicians, all their entourages, then you got influencers and blah blah blah… People get the same feeling as me at those award shows. I’ve spoken to people and they’re like, ‘I just felt really depressed afterward.’ The atmosphere is just not nice… It’s a really, really horrible atmosphere to be in there. I always walk away feeling sad and I don’t like it.”

[From The NY Post]

Something I’ve noticed from watching the BAFTAs is that the Brits really put a premium on moving quickly and they’re not going to stretch out a two-hour show into a three-and-a-half hour show with bulls–t just so they can sell more commercials. Which I appreciate, and I wish some enterprising American producers would decide that no matter what, they’re going to do a tight two-hour show, period. As for Ed’s negative vibe at American shows… I mean, if he feels that way, so be it. Maybe the vibes really are terrible, for all I know. It feels like it might be generational too? Like, the older musicians are probably just sitting back and enjoying the show and it’s the younger peeps who are balls of stress. Personally, I doubt that every single artist is surrounded by a huge entourage who lives and dies by whether or not their guy/girl wins a VMA.

2021 MTV Video Music Awards

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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52 Responses to “Ed Sheeran: American awards shows are full of ‘resentment & hatred’”

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  1. Neners says:

    I can totally see how the entourages would be really obnoxious and competitive. I haven’t watched an awards show since I was 12. That’s all I’ve got.

  2. Mac says:

    That sounds awful. Why does Ed keep going? He’s so famous he doesn’t need award shows to boost his profile.

  3. Jules says:

    Everything he says sounds like an honest assessment to me.

  4. Scorpion says:

    I haven’t watched an award show since 2002…..

    Ed seems like a kind soul and that blazer is way too loud for him.

  5. Snuffles says:

    I believe him. I’m sure it’s especially tense for the newbies. Lots of money involved in trying to get them established so they can make even more money.

  6. North of Boston says:

    Isn’t it up to the artist, though, to choose who is in their entourage, who gets to hang with them?

    If you’ve got someone bitter and back-stabby in your crew, fire them.

    Maybe really young artists wouldn’t see it, but certainly someone like ES or his peers should be aware of what their entourage is up to and staff accordingly. I suspect some of the “really sweet” artists are hiding behind their competitive nasty entourages to do the dirty work that allows them to complete while keeping the sweet facade.

    And with groupies, artists don’t pay them, but again, they can decide who gets backstage/passes on their names and cut out the jerks and toxic folks.

    (Reminds me of commenters who defend QE, saying the Queen isn’t the problem, it’s all the courtiers and advisers who are the nasty racist s-stirrers. Well who chooses those people and keeps them employed? Fish rots from the head and all that. It may be different now that PC is shadow regent, but for decades it’s been her call)

    • GraceB says:

      I’m not sure these artists always do have a huge say in who their entourage is though. I’m sure some of them have full control and others have some control, but then there will be the ones who have it all provided by their label. Also maybe the entourages are more invested because of their own profile within the industry.

      The Queen on the other hand does have control over who her staff are. There are no doubts about that.

      • B says:

        @ GRACEB, I totally agree with you and the others, and very much with Ed. I worked for Warner Bros. Record Co. in my twenties helping start up the New Media dept. Man, are there are stories and drama, and it is so true about the evil entourage energy. The label reps (A&R, marketing, execs, managers, young assistants, etc.) would follow the Artists to shows, award shows, after parties, etc. all over and act like THEY were the talent/celebs/masterminds/egos. Once I was watching a famous artist perform at our small, private after party and an Exec’s wife thought I was too tall & in her way of the stage, so she threw a wet lime from her cocktail that smacked my back to get me to move. (I didn’t, I gave her eye darts, a smile and stood up taller in my heels). So nuts, such a true depection by Ed (but fun when you are young & partying, lol).

    • Susan says:

      @north of Boston, interesting comment and I agree. I was having this conversation today with a colleague about work, about who the leaders choose to surround themselves with. Some choose intellectual, thoughtful and challenging people that will possibly disagree with you; but to be honest, MOST hire kiss ass yes people that don’t challenge them and are sycophant suck ups.

    • Oh-Dear says:

      I think the entourage is supposed to distance the artist from the people they don’t want to talk to and to create space between what goes on behind the red rope and what is seen.
      I think it is a backlash to how open and accessible celebrities are now with paparazzi and social media. I wonder how many wish for the days before all that when they could do things behind closed doors and there was a mystique around fame that isn’t there anymore…the old Hollywood vibe. I wouldn’t be surprised if entourages are used to create that again and to act as bouncers and gatekeepers, which then becomes toxic.
      Eminem has been pretty openly critical about the award system, especially the Grammy’s and it is nice to hear others speaking openly about them too.

  7. Cessily says:

    I personally think after the red carpet for any awards show, it’s time to turn the tv off.
    I do have an issue with the UK vs USA crap in everything even awards shows now? The world has gone crazy with people hating each other for far to many reasons than can be counted, I wouldn’t look to the music industry to change what even the churches and governments are failing at.

    I wish him well with his music and British awards shows, I’m sure they love him.

  8. Haylie says:

    Sounds pretty credible to me

    Except the part about British awards shows. Didn’t Bafta make a rule about not insulting the royals after 2020, or am I remembering things wrong?

    • SnoodleDumpling says:

      I remember some were floating the idea of required attendees to sign something about promising to give the royals the ‘required dignity’ attached to their position or something, but I think that got laughed out of town. I’ve been googling to try to find the article about him wanting to do that and can’t find it, so it may have been scrubbed.

  9. Amy Bee says:

    But why does he keep going to them? Plus we’re still in a pandemic, this is the best time to skip them.

  10. TIFFANY says:

    Yeah, he made that entourage comment before. His anti Black is showing and it wouldn’t surprise me if members of a Black artist entourage told him about himself.

    • Larisa says:

      Anti-Black? Because only black artists have entourages? Wasn’t there literally a white bro show called The Entourage?

    • Snuffles says:

      That’s not anti-black. Most artists have entourages. Every race. Shit, BTS from Korea roll DEEP and they’re some of the nicest people in the industry.

    • Gobo says:

      That’s quite the leap.

      • Tiffany says:

        To all this people on here defending him.

        I said what I said. This dude is garbage.

        He didn’t say staff, he said entourage. He knows what he is saying and I see it and him.

        There you go.

      • Snuffles says:


        He could be garbage, but his comments about entourage’s isn’t really evidence. Lot of musical artists and actors of all races have entourages. People from their personal life they like to surround themselves with.

      • Tiffany says:


        If you want to continue to lecture someone about a muddling white artist who would not know you from Eve, you do you. He didn’t have to go, but he did. He is the male Goop and if Goop went and said this the next day, you would be down her throat.

      • Snuffles says:


        I’m pretty neutral on Ed. And why are you bringing up Goop? I’m just saying you’re making a poor argument.

    • Greywacke says:

      When I think of an entourage, I think of Leo Dicaprio and his crew of mediocre white dudes.

    • Jules says:

      Taylor Swift has the biggest and most obnoxious entourage, which is funny because they are besties.

    • MsIam says:

      Elvis had an entourage for goodness sake. Most artists do, if only to ward off the hangers on. It has nothing to do with black or white. And he specifically said he’s not shading any of the artists.

    • GandalfTheMeh says:

      I’m just saying this as a PoC. You’re reaching if you think this man is racist for saying entourage. You’re not helping the dialogue about race and prejudice by doing this.

    • teecee says:

      I hadn’t thought about that before your post, but his comment does sound a little dog-whistle-y to me now.

      I just wanted to say that because there’s a bunch of people naysaying you and I disagree with them.

    • Meh says:

      I think Tiffany is just trolling us

  11. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I quit awards sometime in the 90s. It’s almost embarrassing to admit that I think the last time I remember was Paltrow’s pink dress win haha! Since then, I read about them the next day. And yeah, I totally believe Sheeran. It sucks because on one hand, you need to attend for visibility, but on the other hand, you don’t want to go because of visibility lol. Social media vacuums every morsel and spits it back up in an unidentifiable pile of mush. Most attendees WANT to be the center of attention, and that’s the problem.

  12. Larisa says:

    I absolutely don’t doubt that every single artist is surrounded by 10 people, whether those 10 people live or die by the award is a different question, but they may feel like they have to at least pretend to do that?

  13. Lunasf17 says:

    Who even watches these shows? I feel like they are for the artists and their entourages themselves at this point. Also who is forcing him to go to them? He seems like a decent person but my god his music is bland AF and has no edge or growth. Every song of his on the radio sounds like the one before it. Why is his music rewarded? Part of the reason these shows suck is because there is no creativity or risk taking awarded anymore. It’s all generic, safe crap because everyone is playing it so safe these days and doesn’t want to risk it.

  14. Lowrider says:

    Well, then he can choose not to attend and attend British shows only.

    • Sof says:

      I don’t think he can, record companies surely have clauses about their talents assisting to events. Plus, that’s what fans expect.

  15. Yonati says:

    Lil Nas X won stuff. I’m happy. No one else (except Lizzo) matters to me.

  16. Sof says:

    ” It’s musicians, all their entourages, then you got influencers and blah blah blah”
    So, first the fashion industry, now musicians, people don’t like influencers huh.

    As for awards show, yes, it’s obvious that musical talent is not a priority when it comes to choose winners.

  17. KG says:

    I used to watch most of the film award shows and the Grammys. Somehow during the pandemic when I tried to watch one it made me queasy. It seemed like a lot of rich people patting each other on the back. A lot of ostentation and a vibe of “we’re more valuable people that everyone else” whether that was the intent or not. I miss enjoying them.


    I think it’s kinda shitty to go and then bash them. Either stay home or suck it up. There’s such a thing as grinning and bearing it. If he has to be there for label reasons, I’m not so sure they’re happy with him going if he’s then going to insult the proceedings?

    • Nina says:

      He has to be there and also he has the right to voice his opinion about the industry he works in. If we all just shut up, smile and bear whatever happens, there would be no Me Too movement

      • teecee says:

        Oh please. He’s not being abused. People just don’t want to hang out with him.

        He’s sounding like Lena Dunham talking about Odell Beckham Jr at the Met Gala and you’re caping for him…

      • KT says:

        Oh stop it. Ed’s a hugely popular guy and loads of people hang with him. Partly because he’s not afraid to say it how it is!

        He’s right about British awards shows being big old piss-ups. That’s why they’ve been historically shambolic TV shows! Putting together a good TV show and making sure the people attending actually have fun is really difficult.

  19. #facts says:

    Music awards, film awards all are the same and people see through the BS now. Good for him.

    • L4frimaire says:

      He kinda sounds like a case of sour grapes. A lot of his recent work has been ignored by the awards shows lately. Could also be frustrated with the whole scene.

  20. enike says:

    Elton John called, he wants his blazer back!

    I like Ed, I think he is right. But its not so easy with the entourage and staff imho, as some of them may be obnoxious, but very effective in their jobs and very useful for the artist. You dont fire someone from your team for not being kissy-kissy to others at awards shows if they do a brilliant job otherwise.

  21. Marie says:

    My brother in law was working the Grammy’s when Ed Sheeran was brand new on the scene. He said he witnessed Sheeran backstage bitching to his manager that he should be as big as Taylor Swift by now.
    That’s my Ed Sheeran story.

  22. goofpuff says:

    I don’t really care about him or his music. But I will always appreciate that he stepped in for EACH’s fundraising gala as their celebrity patron in their desperate hour when the Duchess of Cambridge abandoned the children’s hospice charity.

  23. jferber says:

    I think there’s a lot of resentment and hatred in America everywhere now and on every level. And I blame the fat orange former guy for that.

  24. Ascr says:

    Well he can talk. I’ve seen him and his security treat people with utter contempt. Hypocrite.