Updated: Nov 15
By Olivia Madrid
The 65th Annual Grammy Awards kicked off this past Sunday at Los Angeles’ Crypto Arena. It marked the return of the show back to California after a brief stint in Las Vegas following the pandemic. Former “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah led the show for the second consecutive year, making a slew of corny pop culture jokes.
Bad Bunny began the show with a fire fueled tribute to Puerto Rico. The singer started off with “El Apagón,” and went on to end with his hit song “Después de la Playa” from his nominated album “Un Verano Sin Ti.” The audience was brought to their feet and became merengue dancers themselves. It was the first ever all-spanish album to receive a nomination for Album of the Year, and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 last May.
A Motown medley followed afterwards, with a tribute to the legendary Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy. Stevie Wonder made a surprise appearance and performed a cover of the Temptations’ “The Way You Do the Things you Do,” and also joined Robinson for a duet of “The Tears of a Clown.” Blazing guitar riffs delighted even the most stoic of crowd members, even getting Jay-Z to sing and smile along.
The night made history multiple times, beginning with Kim Petras, the first openly transgender woman to win the award for Pop Duo/Group Performance with Sam Smith for their hit song “Unholy” which they later gave a devilish and wild performance of. Viola Davis became an EGOT, with her win for Best Spoken Word Album. Beyoncé became the most decorated Grammy Award winner of all time, snagging her 32nd award for Best Dance/Electronic Album for “Renaissance,” in which she graciously thanked the queer community “For [their] love and for inventing this genre.” Bey lost in the Album of the Year category to Harry Styles’ 2022 pop album, “Harry’s House.” This is the fourth time Beyoncé lost out in that category, and her fans were not happy. Styles expressed his appreciation for the coveted prize saying, “This doesn’t happen to people like me very often,” which had also caused quite the quarrel online.
Kendrick Lamar, another highly notable Album of the Year nominee, accepted the award for Best Rap Album for his album, “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.” Lamar held the most nominations for a male artist this year, and went home with awards for three of the eight categories he was nominated for. Taylor Swift was also a major winner as, “All Too Well: The Short Film” won Best Music Video. Lizzo graciously did gospel-like versions of “About Damn Time” and “Special,” in the midst of teary-eyed shoutouts to the late Prince and Beyonce. Bonnie Raitt pulled a major upset when she won Song of the Year for “Just Like That”, beating out Swift, Styles, Lamar, Adele, Lizzo, Steve Lacy, Gayle, and DJ Khaled.
This year’s memoriam segment was moving and devastating. The emotional tribute highlighted stars that passed over the last year. Quavo had performed a soulful and heartbreaking tribute to his late groupmate and cousin Takeoff, who was fatally shot in November of 2022. A chair decorated with Takeoff’s chain sat beside Quavo as he did his personal eulogy, “Without You,” with backing vocals sung by Maverick City Music, a gospel choir from their hometown of Atlanta. Fleetwood Mac’s band member Christine McVie was honored by a touching cover of “Songbird,” which was originally written by McVie, sung by Sheryl Crow, Mick Fleetwood, and Bonnie Raitt. Fans did however notice a few faces missing from the screen, especially the beloved Aaron Carter who died last year.
In a lighter celebratory moment, the show also celebrated 50 years of hip-hop with some of the greatest in the genre celebrating such an important category of music. The array of artists included Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah, Run-DMC, Lil Wayne, Big Boi, Grandmaster Flash, Method Man, Public Enemy, Salt-N-Pepa, Busta Rhymes, Lil Baby and GoRilla and many more. It was a refreshing moment of community where each star showed their genius in the best way possible, with live music.