Beyoncé makes history, but she isn't the only big winner in a long night of Grammy surprises
History was made, and host Trevor Noah was friendly at the 65th annual Grammy Awards. The nearly four-hour show split time between performances by Harry Styles, Stevie Wonder, and Quavo and handing Beyoncé awards. The 65th annual Grammys only had to do one thing to make people happy: Give Beyoncé some awards. To that end, they’re playing a dangerous game. The Bey-hive can rest easy knowing that Beyoncé now has more Grammys than any other artist, picking up three awards over the course of the evening—though she was snubbed for Album Of The Year for a fourth time. It was a night of upsets and surprises as the likes of Harry Styles, Lizzo, and, yup, Bonnie Raitt beat out Bey for some major awards, much to the dismay of everyone online and probably in the Crypto.com arena.
Harry Styles took home two awards during the broadcast, including Album Of The Year and Pop Vocal Album. “I’ve been so inspired by every artist in this category,” he said. “I think on tonight’s like tonight it’s important to remember there’s no such thing is best in music. I don’t think any of us sit in the studio thinking about how we’re going to get one of these.” And no, he did not spit on anyone except all the Beyoncé fans in the house.
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Even without Album, Record, or Song Of The Year, Beyoncé had a good night. Her first win was for Best R&B Song for “Cuff It.” Presented by EGOT winner Viola Davis, the award tied Beyoncé for most Grammys won by an artist, a record she would break later in the night. However, due to that dastardly L.A. traffic, Beyoncé did not arrive in time to accept the award, so the legendary Nile Rodgers stood in for Bey and bragged about nailing “Cuff It” in one take. As if there was any doubt.
James Corden presented Beyoncé with her second award for Best Dance/Electronic Album because “of course” he did. She now has more Grammys than any artist in history, with 32 little gold gramophones.
Beyoncé wasn’t the only one to make history. Kim Petras became the first transgender woman to win the award for Best Pop/Duo Performance for her song with Sam Smith, “Unholy.” Later in the night, and after being name-checked by Petras in her acceptance speech, Madonna brought the “Unholy” duo to perform their Grammy-winning song.
Record Of The Year went to a very surprised Lizzo for “About Damn Time.” It was her second award of the night and the fourth of her career. Purple Disco Machine also got a trophy for the remix of the song. She also performed, laying down a powerful rendition of the title track on her 2022 album Special. Trevor Noah desribed her as “If dopamine was a person.” It’s hard to disagree with that.
Lizzo did pay tribute to Beyoncé in her acceptance speech, following the tempo of the night with very quick speeches—no one was played off the stage.“Beyoncé, in the fifth grade I skipped school to watch you perform,” she said. “You changed my life. The way you make people feel, I was like, ‘I want to make people feel that way with my music.’”
Dr. Jill Biden, yes, the First Lady of the United States, presented the award for Song Of The Year to Second Lady of the United States, Bonnie Raitt, for the title track to her 2022 album Just Like That... No one was more surprised than Raitt, but she said she was inspired by organ donors and the late artist John Prine. Just Like That... was Raitt’s 18th studio album, and the Grammy was her 11th. Raitt-hive will have to fend off the Bey-hive, but Raitt’s win was well-deserved.
At the age of 19, last year’s Best New Artist, Olivia Rodrigo, is now old. As such, she presented the award for Best New Artist to jazz singer Samara Joy, who also seemed surprised that Beyoncé didn’t win.
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, rap was all over the night, including Quavo’s emotional tribute to Takeoff during the In Memoriam and the 33 rappers who performed in celebration of the genre’s half-century. Speaking of rap, Kendrick Lamar won the award for Best Rap Album for his divisive, difficult album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers. Earlier in the night, he picked up an award for Best Rap Song for “The Heart Part 5.” Lamar is now the owner of 16 Grammy awards.
Bad Bunny kicked off the night with a blistering performance of “El Apagon” and “Despues De La Playa,” complete with giant masks bearing the likeness of Puerto Rican greats like Roberto Clemente, Tego Calderón, and Julia de Burgos. Taylor Swift and Jack Harlowe were dancing in the aisles, with Bad Bunny bringing enough energy to power Crypto.com’s poorly named arena. Bad Bunny would leave the show with some gold, winning the award for Best Música Urbana Album.
“This is really easy because I just made this album with love and passion,” Bad Bunny said in his acceptance speech. “When you do things with love and passion, life is easier.”
Elsewhere, Adele won the Best Pop Solo artist award for “Easy On Me.” However, the win is probably old hat for her as she’s won this award four times in the past. So add it to the pile, Adele. Shina Twain announced the winner of Best Country Album with a gasp. Up-and-coming, 89-year-old country artist Willie Nelson won the award for Leave You With A Smile, bumping his career total to 11 statues.
The most talented man in the room, Stevie Wonder, performed a tribute to Smokey Robinson and Barry Gordie, and it felt like a miscalculation not to end the night with this. Smokey joined Stevie to perform “Tears Of A Clown, and Stevie jumped into “Higher Ground” with Chris Stapleton on guitar. It doesn’t get much better than that. Long live Stevie. The only person who seemed unimpressed was Ben Affleck. Tough crowd. He’s probably just disappointed that Beyoncé didn’t perform.
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