This year’s Grammy Awards, touted as the country’s most illustrious music award shows, was ripe with historic wins, impressive performances, entertaining presenters and the typical award show drama. Hosted last night by Alicia Keys at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the 61st edition of the Grammys celebrated some of the most talented names in music, with upsets and surprises to go around in the 84 categories presented.
The show opened with a powerful posse of women, when host Alicia Keys brought Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, Michelle Obama and Jennifer Lopez on stage, introducing them as “(her) sisters.” They each discussed the power and inspiration of music in their lives. The Grammys’ attention to gender equity is crucial as they have struggled to remain relevant among the other award shows that seek to offer more representation, especially considering last year, only one woman accepted a solo award during the show.
“From the Motown records I wore out on the South Side,” Obama said, “to the ‘who run the world’ songs that fueled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story.”
One of the biggest headlines preceding the show was Ariana Grande’s decision to no longer attend “following a disagreement with producers over which songs would be featured during her performance,” according to Variety. However, she also made news by winning her first Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album for “Sweetener,” which was announced before the show started.
Grande tweeted after hearing the news, saying, “i know i’m not there tonight (trust, i tried and still truly wished it had worked out tbh) and i know i said i try not to put too much weight into these things…this is wild and beautiful. thank you so much.”
Childish Gambino also notched a historic win despite his absence at the show, with “This is America” being the first rap song to take home the Grammy for Song of the Year. An important distinction to make is that song of the Year goes to the song’s writers, and Record of the Year goes to the artist themself. The song also went on to win Best Music Video, and Best Rap/Sung Performance.
Cardi B’s first solo Grammy performance made waves as she performed a whole cabaret scene to her latest single “Money,” receiving a standing ovation. She had been nominated for five Grammys, including the prestigious Album of the Year for “Invasion of Privacy.”
Lady Gaga also went on to win multiple awards, including Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Shallow” with Bradley Cooper in the critically-acclaimed “A Star is Born,” which Gaga co-stars in. The song also won Best Song written for Visual Media. She also won the Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance with “Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?).”
Dolly Parton’s five-song medley with Katy Perry, Kasey Musgraves, Miley Cyrus and Maren Morris also proved to be a crowd-pleaser. Musgraves won three awards last night, including Best Country Solo Performance for “Butterflies,” Best Country Song for “Space Cowboy” and Best Country Album for “Golden Hour.”
Other notable wins include Drake taking home Best Rap Song for “God’s Plan” and Chris Connell’s posthumous Best Rock Performance Grammy for “When Bad Does Good.” Drake had been nominated for seven awards, and Kendrick Lamar had the most going into the night with eight nominations, eventually winning Best Rap Performance for “King’s Dead” along with the song’s other performers and tying with Anderson .Paak’s “Bubblin.”
More awards continued to be presented throughout the night. Silk City & Dua Lipa won Best Dance Recording for “Electricity (feat. Diplo and Mark Ronson)” while “The Greatest Showman” won Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media and “Black Panther’s” composer, Ludwig Goransson, won Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media for his work on the movie. Pharrell Williams won Producer of the Year, Non-Classical. Beck won Best Alternative Music Album for “Colors.”
A full list of winners, including the award for Record of the Year and Album of the Year, can be found online at the Grammy Awards’ website.
Hollie Lao is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.