61st Annual GRAMMY Awards recap

Here are some highlights from the annual award show

The Recording Academy hosted its 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards, held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. This year’s awards celebrated the most female artists it has in many years.

Camila Cabello opened the show with a performance of her 2018 chart topper “Havana,” accompanied by J Balvin on a stage resembling the streets of Cuba. Alicia Keys hosted the evening, opening with words of encouragement from fellow female artists including Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez, as well as former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Shawn Mendes began singing his hit “In My Blood” accompanied by Miley Cyrus. The two traded soaring vocals as the crowd cheered. Lady Gaga accepted the first award of the night on behalf of herself and Bradley Cooper for their song “Shallow.” The song is featured in the Oscar nominated motion picture, A Star is Born. Later in the show, Gaga rocked the stage in a rhinestone one piece as she belted out “Shallow” during an audience favorite performance. She was joined by Mark Ronson, as Cooper wasn’t available for appearance.

Kacey Musgraves performed “Rainbow.” The song is a melody of encouragement with a reminder of not giving up, even when it may feel easiest. The country songstress stood front and center in a simple white gown with rainbow hues lighting up the stage behind her. The critically-acclaimed Musgraves won “Best Country Song” for “Space Cowboy” and “Best Country Solo Performance” for “Butterflies” before the nearly four-hour show had even begun. Musgraves also took home “Best Country Album,” and the coveted “Album of the Year” for Golden Hour, making her one of the most awarded artists of the night, with a grand total of four GRAMMYs.

Keeping it country, a musical celebration honored the legendary Dolly Parton. Parton performed ten minutes of career hits, along with Kacey Musgraves, Katy Perry, Maren Morris, Little Big Town and Linda Perry. The performance also included a rendition of “Jolene,” sung with her Goddaughter, Miley Cyrus. Parton was honored two nights earlier at the 2019 MusiCares Person of the Year ceremony.

Chris Cornell won a posthumous GRAMMY for “When Bad Does Good,” nearly two years after the rocker’s death. This was his third Grammy. His children, Christopher and Toni, accepted the award on his behalf. He was chosen for the award over Greta Van Fleet, Arctic Monkeys, Halestorm, and The Fever 333 for “Best Rock Performance.”

Alicia Keys dominated two pianos at once with her renditions of two of “Lucid Dreams” from Juice WRLD, Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable,” and other covers, wrapping up with her own “New York.”

Dan + Shay received a standing ovation from the audience for “Tequila,” following their first ever GRAMMY performance. Following their performance, the duo announced the the winner for “Best Rap Song.” “God’s Plan,” by Drake took home the title, and he took the stage to accept the award, despite rumors leading up to the event that he would not attend.

Travis Scott performed “No Bystanders” in a theatrical performance accompanied by a group of about 50 dancers. Scott performed from inside a cage throughout the entirety of the song.

Female vocalist H.E.R. invited her whole team on stage to accept the award for “Record of the Year,” which she specified is actually an EP. Brandi Carlile strummed an acoustic guitar backed by her band and a violin section her band for a stunning performance of “The Joke,” which concluded in another crowd standing ovation. The lyrics were displayed in script on a screen backdrop as Carlile sung the chorus.

Jennifer Lopez performed a Motown tribute as she sang “The Best Things in Life Are Free,” “Do You Love Me,” and “Please Mr. Postman.” She was joined by Smokey Robinson for a “My Girl” duet, with Alicia Keys and Ne-Yo joining in. The medley was no doubt a tease to the Recording Academy’s upcoming Motown 60 celebration airing later this spring on CBS. The GRAMMYs also celebrated Diana Ross’ 75th birthday. Her nine year old grandson, Raif-Henok Emmanuel Kendrick, introduced the star who came to stage in a long red ball gown to sang her classic, “Best Years of My Life.”

The audience was treated to a performance by Chloe x Halle, sisters and former YouTube stars, whom Beyonce signed to her label in 2015. The pair paid tribute to the late Donny Hathaway by performing a rendition of the 1972 hit with Roberta Flack, “Where Is The Love.”

Cardi B won “Best Rap Album” for Invasion of Privacy. The rapper joked, “Maybe I need to start smoking weed” after telling her husband, Offset — who was holding her hand on stage — that she couldn’t breathe. Dua Lipa snagged “Best New Artist,” following her performance with St. Vincent. “I’m proof that you can do whatever you put your mind to,” she said.

Andra Day, Fantasia and Yolanda Adams closed the show with an Aretha Franklin tribute. The trio sang “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” to an erupting crowd. Other highlights include Childish Gambino winning four GRAMMYs for “This Is America” in the “Best Music Video,” “Record of the Year,” “Song of the Year” and “Best Rap/Sung Performance” categories, although he was not in attendance. Ariana Grande won her first GRAMMY for Sweetener as “Best Pop Album.”

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Author: Gloria Ruth Finney

Gloria Ruth Finney is a Music Journalist based in Nashville, TN. She uses her experience as a multimedia journalist and on-air reporter to produce creative content by combining her passions for music and news.