The Grammys were good this year ( www.vox.com )

Thank women, host Alicia Keys, and director Louis J. Horvitz for the most entertaining show in some time.

The Grammys are the most unpredictable of the major awards shows. Depending on the year, they might be a raucous, fun party or a horrible snooze — or they might land anywhere in between those two poles.

After the 2018 Grammys were among the worst ceremonies in recent memory, it was tempting to expect this year’s awards would be, at best, only a slight improvement. Instead, they were sprightly and fun, zipping along from big moment to big moment.

Yes, they ran over their three-and-a-half hour time slot by nearly 15 minutes (an unforgivable offense when you’re scheduled to run three-and-a-half hours in the first place), and yes, they made some curious decisions here and there (like having Jennifer Lopez headline a tribute to Motown?), but for the most part, this was the most captivating Grammy ceremony in quite some time.

And it certainly didn’t hurt that the winners were solid, too, capped off by twin prizes for Childish Gambino’s searing “This Is America” in the Song and Record of the Year categories and an Album of the Year prize for Kacey Musgraves’s swooning Golden Hour, which by some measures was the most acclaimed album of last year.

So what was it that made the Grammys so good this year? Here are three key choices the awards made to create an enjoyable show.

1) The Grammys (mostly) celebrated a year when the best music was made by women by getting out of those women’s way

Shortly before the 2019 Grammys were awarded, the annual Pazz and Jop poll

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