CBS Adds Spanish Closed Captioning to Replays of Bad Bunny’s Grammys Performance After Backlash

Grammy viewers who were using the closed captioning while watching the awards telecast on Sunday night didn’t have much to go on when opening act Bad Bunny hit the stage. That’s because, during the initial live broadcast, the captions only said, “[SPEAKING NON-ENGLISH]” and “[SINGING IN NON-ENGLISH]” during Bad Bunny’s mashup performance of “El Apagon” and “Despues De La Playa.”

Later, when Bad Bunny accepted the Grammy for Música Urbana album, his acceptance speech was partially in Spanish — and once again, the captions only said “[SPEAKING NON-ENGLISH]”.

Turns out, that is generally standard practice for live closed captioning, where the captioners don’t have the capability to quickly add translations. (The “speaking non-English” is a catchall for all languages and is built into the system.) Insiders note that although the lyrics for “El Apagon” and “Despues De La Playa” are readily available online, they don’t account for ad libs or expletives that may or may not be bleeped.

But with reaction swift online — many commenters noted that regardless of the live nature, the network should have realized that especially because the Grammys opened with Bad Bunny, one of the biggest superstars in music right now, they should have been prepared — CBS quickly sprang into action. By the time the Grammys were rebroadcast in primetime on the West Coast, the encore had updated Spanish language closed captioning for Bad Bunny’s opening performance. The on-demand feed of the Grammys available today on Paramount+ also includes the closed captioning in Spanish.

“Un Verano Sin Ti,” Bad Bunny’s fourth solo studio effort, made Grammys history this year with its album of the year nomination. The 23-song set was the first all-Spanish language album to be nominated in the coveted category, which was eventually won by Harry Styles’ “Harry’s House.” Next up, Bad Bunny will make Coachella history as the first Latin headliner for the upcoming festival this April.

As “Un Verano Sin Ti” won the Grammy this year for best música urbana album, this repped the artist’s first performance at the Grammys, following his performance at the Latin Grammys in 2021. In addition to his three previous Grammy wins, Bad Bunny has been nominated for 26 Latin Grammys and won five since his first nomination in 2017.

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