DALLAS — Their performance was eye-catching.
But, a handful of the eyes watching Cardi B. and Megan Thee Stallion perform their hit song, “WAP,” during last Sunday night’s GRAMMYs felt like the performance was too sexual and took their complaints to the Federal Communications Commission.
Despite earning much praise on social media from fans and celebrities, the FCC received approximately 80 complaints from viewers who thought the performance was obscene, pornographic, and, in the eyes of one viewer from Colorado, “as if they were dancing in a strip club.”
The GRAMMY Awards delivered an average of 8.8 million viewers for CBS’s Sunday night broadcast, according to Nielsen. Last year’s awards ceremony brought in 18.7 million viewers.
The complaints, though few, echoed criticism shared online in divisive social media conversation about the performance where fans and celebrities defended the performers for owning their sexuality without shame.
Last year's Super Bowl LIV halftime show with performances by Jennifer Lopez and Shakira drew more than 1,300 FCC complaints.
WFAA received the complaints through an open records request with the FCC.
The rappers’ performance used edited lyrics made to be safe for broadcast standards. We won’t be writing what the lyrics actually stand for. If you know, you know.
The set included a giant stiletto that featured a pole for a heel and choreography that mimicked sex acts.
“This network should face very stiff penalties,” an Idaho viewer wrote.
A viewer from Richmond, Texas, criticized Megan Thee Stallion being “barely dressed in a thong and showed naked look alike legs.”
We’re not sure what "look alike legs" are, but Megan Thee Stallion wore a purple one-piece, while Cardi B wore a neon purple and metallic two-piece outfit.
A viewer from Connecticut also criticized the costumes.
“The Grammys need to require the artist not to be performing any types of sexual acts and require clothes to stay on and not stripping down to bra and panties.”
Neither rapper performed any sex acts on national television. Both were clothed.
Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion weren't the only ones wearing bikini-like costumes. British singer Dua Lippa performed her song "Don't Start Now" wearing a pink bikini-style costume.
The GRAMMYs long have been known for their boundary-pushing performances and fashion choices, including Jennifer Lopez's belly-button length neckline in a green Versace dress worn to the 42nd GRAMMYs in 2000.
About this year's GRAMMYs, a viewer from Frisco, Texas, wrote to the FCC saying, “The media has a problem with Dr. Seuss, yet allows Cardi B to sing about her [WAP] on national television.”
Cardi B responded to similar criticism after conservative cable news hosts compared the GRAMMYs performance to the choice by Dr. Seuss Enterprises that chose to stop publishing six of the author’s children’s books, saying they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”
Cardi B wrote on Twitter, “Well I can DEFINITELY tell some of ya ONLY read dr Seuss books cause ya mind lacks comprehension.”
Cancel culture was a running theme in many of the complaints.
“Why was that performance okay but Pepe Le Pew is offensive?” wrote one viewer from New Jersey, referencing Warner Bros.’ decision to remove the cartoon skunk from upcoming projects because of concerns about promoting rape culture.
A New York radio DJ summed up fan's praise in a single tweet.
An Oakdale, Calif., viewer compared the GRAMMYs performance to the infamous Janet Jackson Super Bowl halftime show incident.
“This display made the Janet Jackson Super Bowl Halftime faux pas seem like children’s television! The FCC has failed at their job!”
Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction led the FCC to fine CBS $550,000, which later was ruled by an appeals court to have been made “arbitrarily and capriciously.”
The FCC did not comment on whether there was an investigation into Sunday night’s WAP performance on the GRAMMYs.
There was one GRAMMYs complaint to the FCC that stood out from the rest. And, it’s hard to say whether it was a complaint or a recommendation.
“It was incredibly erotic, sexual and perhaps better suited for a later timeslot,” the San Antonio, Texas, viewer wrote.
“Please consider,” the complaint ended.