Inside Scoop: What’s It Like To Be A GRAMMYs Seat Filler?

Inside Scoop: What’s It Like To Be A GRAMMYs Seat Filler? 

Posted: 11:03 am Monday, January 29th, 2018

By Staff

By Jillian Lawton

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This was my first experience at an award show and what an experience it was! The Grammy’s are my favorite award show to watch. You get the glamour, but you also get all the performances!

I’ve always found it to be a jaw-dropping moment when you first walk into Madison Square Garden, but this time even more so. The floor to ceiling set illuminated the room, celebrities greeted each other like friends who all happened to be at the same concert, and the presence of artistic teamwork and music history made you feel like you were part of something wonderful and important.

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It was not a huge party. On TV it looks like everything in the room is super high-energy and people are going nuts! It was actually extremely polite and cordial. People followed the rules of only getting up during commercial breaks, everyone used inside voices to catch up with each other, there was a round of golf claps with a tasteful amount of “woo’s” when awards were announced, and celebrities were able to walk freely without being attacked by fans (except Beyoncé who kept to herself behind over-sized sunglasses, a floppy hat, and a huge bodyguard! She is Queen Bey, after all).


Fewer celebrities attended than I thought. We forget there are so many people behind the music (additional writers, producers, etc.) that you would never recognize by face. So, while sitting in the main first 20 rows, there were probably 100 faces I recognized. The others were equally important, of course, but I didn’t know who they were unless I spoke with them. The celebs we know by face are seated, roughly, within the first 8 rows and people who are nominated or are performing tend to be in aisle seats, so they can easily get up and out.


It ran so smooth! You’d have to think they’d be good at what they do after doing this same show for YEARS! Every set change, break, transition, and presentation was seamless! And all the production people handled what is likely one of the most stressful nights of their life with kindness and a smile.

Other Odds & Ends!

  • The Grammys request you to wear dark colors.
  • The Grammys asks you to avoid reds and white outfits so you don’t stand out.
  • You arrive a few hours before the show, check into a holding location, and wait.
  • You are only allowed to bring a small clutch into the show with you (no coat, no large bags) and you must keep your cell phone off.

I got lucky and started in Alessia Cara’s seat (second row behind Lorde and across from Kesha). But she arrived just as the show started and I was moved back to row 21 next to one of Kendrick Lamar’s producers. He was so humble (pun intended), you’d never know his work was up for a Grammy. I only knew because his date was super excited when Kendrick (including his team) won the first Grammy. The man next to me was awestruck and stoic. After that I moved to row 9 near Cyndi Lauper (who looks amazing) and Jim Gaffigan. Lastly, I ended up in row 18 with Katie Holmes to my right in a different section, being the only person I recognized  in site (the only celeb I saw not sitting in the floor seats).

Being a seat filler is like musical chairs: when you see an empty seat close to the front, you go sit in it until someone gets back. This was the best game of musical chairs I’ve ever played.


It was such an incredible experience that I feel so fortunate to have attended. I would go back in a heartbeat because it truly was such an amazing night!