Grammys Buzz: Memorable Moments From Music's Big Night
The 65th Grammy Awards took place Sunday in Los Angeles but music fans are still buzzing about what went down during a show that included Sam Smith in devil horns singing “Unholy” and Jay-Z rapping for five minutes at the Last Supper during “God Did.”
Check out all the winners here and coverage of the premiere ceremony here.
Here’s a look at some of memorable moments from music's big night – the winners, the losers, the snubs, the highlights and the not-so-highlights.
Usually Canada is repped at awards shows by Ontario – thanks to artists like Drake, The Weeknd, Shania Twain and Justin Bieber. But, despite a good showing from Ontario artists in the nominations this year, it was B.C. that really came through. Canada’s top winner was Vancouver native Tobias Jesso Jr. who was named Songwriter of the Year and among the Album of the Year winners thanks to his contribution to Harry’s House by Harry Styles (he co-wrote “Boyfriends”). Vancouver’s Michael Bublé won his first Grammy since 2014 – his Higher was crowned Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. Canada was also represented by Montreal-born conductor and pianist Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who won Best Opera Recording (for Blanchard: Fire Shut Up In My Bones) and by presenter Shania Twain.
Putting the granny in Grammys was Reina, a 78-year-old Harry Styles superfan from Sudbury, Ont. She was featured in one of the bizarre round-table segments and got some attention from host Trevor Noah while seated in the audience. Reina then got to announce the winner of the night’s biggest award, Album of the Year, which went to her guy Harry. Judging by the look on her face, Reina was the happiest Canadian in Los Angeles at that moment.
Christopher Polk / Variety/Getty Images
Everyone is talking about how Beyoncé made history by surpassing the late conductor Georg Solti to become the artist with the most Grammy wins ever. The accomplishment overshadowed the fact that none of Beyoncé’s awards on Sunday were in the top three categories: Album, Record and Song of the Year. The win that broke Solti’s record was for Best Dance/Electronic Album (for Renaissance) and Bey won Best Dance/Electronic Recording (“Break My Soul”), Best R&B Song (“Cuff It”) and Best Traditional R&B Performance (“Plastic Off The Sofa”). Beyoncé has only won a major category one time – in 2010, when “Single Ladies” was named Song of the Year – despite earning 16 nominations.
THE RAITT WORDS
It was a good night for Bonnie Raitt. At the premiere ceremony, she picked up Grammys for Best Americana Performance (for “Made Up Mind”) and Best American Roots Song (for “Just Like That”). On the prime time show, the 73-year-old seemed as surprised as the rest of us when “Just Like That” was announced as Song of the Year, beating out hits like Lizzo’s “About Damn Time,” Harry Styles’ “As It Was,” Adele’s “Easy On Me” and Beyoncé’s “Break My Soul.”
Muni Long surprised many by nabbing three Grammy nominations this year, including one for Best New Artist – even though her debut album came out in 2009 and she has since released two albums and five EPs. But Long stunned many on Sunday when her only song to ever reach the charts, “Hrs & Hrs,” won her the Grammy for Best R&B Performance – beating the likes of Beyoncé and Mary J. Blige. So, who is Muni Long? She’s 34-year-old Priscilla Hamilton, who has co-written tracks for artists like Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato and Florida Georgia Line.
WELL, THIS IS AWKWARD
The show had plenty of talented, powerful female artists with important messages about strength and self-acceptance. But, it also had a moment of celebration for Dr. Dre. After the hip hop icon pleaded no contest to assaulting TV host Dee Barnes at a party in Hollywood in 1991, he told Rolling Stone: “I just did it, you know. Ain’t nothing you can do now by talking about it. Besides, it ain’t no big thing – I just threw her through a door.” Other alleged incidents of violence against women have been documented over the years. "I was out of my f**king mind at the time," he said in The Defiant Ones. “I’m sorry for it, and I apologize for it. I have this dark cloud that follows me, and it’s going to be attached to me forever. It’s a major blemish on who I am as a man.” Yeah, except now there's a Dr. Dre Global Impact Award at the Grammys.
THEY’RE HERE, THEY’RE QUEER
It was a good night for LGBTQ representation. The premiere ceremony was hosted by out singer and comedian Randy Rainbow and performers on the prime time show included Sam Smith, Kim Petras, Steve Lacy and Brandi Carlile. (Viewers also got to see Carlile introduced by her wife of 10 years, Catherine Shepherd.) There were also performances by a couple of not-publicly-out artists as well as appearances by several notable allies of the LGBTQ community, including Kacey Musgraves, Lizzo and Madonna. To top it off, Beyoncé thanked “the queer community” while accepting the Grammy for Best Dance/Electonic Album.
ODE TO JOY
Speaking of Best New Artist, Italian rock band Måneskin was favoured to win (even though they’ve been around more than six years) but the award went to Samara Joy, a 23-year-old jazz vocalist. At the premiere ceremony, where Joy got a standing ovation for her performance of Nina Simone’s “Can’t Get Out Of This Mood,” her sophomore album Linger Awhile was named Best Jazz Vocal Album.
BEST NEW FACE
Madonna sparked a social media kerfuffle when she appeared on the show to introduce a performance by Sam Smith and Kim Petras. The 64-year-old was almost unrecognizable. "Madonna looks good for her age… if her age is 2,700 year old vampire who eats babies and small animals alive,” read one tweet.
Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
The In Memoriam segment managed to include a Grammy camera operator and an entertainment lawyer but left out Aaron Carter, who died last November. (He was listed in the official Grammy program.) “Aaron was an extremely successful artist who paid a heavy toll for it, had a hard time & unlike some with redemption arcs, was mocked until death,” tweeted author Matthew Rettenmund.
German DJ and music producer Purple Disco Machine (aka Tino Piontek) will forever remember his first Grammy win – but not for the right reasons. He won the award for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical for his remix of Lizzo’s “About Damn Time.” But, during the premiere ceremony, the presenter read Lizzo’s name as the winner (the award goes to the remixer, not the artist). Piontek, seemingly a bit peeved, gave a quick "thank you" and shuffled off the stage.
Missy Elliott, LL Cool J, Grandmaster Flash and Busta Rhymes are only a few of the big names featured in the 50th anniversary of hip hop medley that, despite lacking more recent hits, will surely go down in Grammy history as one of the best live performances ever. The crowd couldn't get enough.
WRAP IT UP
The Grammy show was so long that by the end of it, the Best New Artist nominees qualified for Lifetime Achievement Awards. OK, not really, but it felt like that. In fact, the Recording Academy spent nearly eight hours handing out awards on Sunday if you combine the premiere ceremony (where winners in most of the 91 categories are announced) and the prime time show. Where could they have trimmed? Those ridiculous super-fan roundtable segments would not have been missed (sorry, Reina!) and we didn’t need a trip down memory lane by Billy Crystal. And yes, Stevie Wonder is a legend... but could no one have told him to cut “Higher Ground” by a few minutes?
Listen to music from Grammy winners