Every year, at every award show, the public likes to discuss the winners and decide who deserved to win and who didn’t. This year’s Grammys was no different, with talk of the event’s awards ringing through every watch party and social media site.
Before we talk about the snubs and surprises, we have to talk about the history that was made. In the new categories of Best Global Music Performance and Best Música Urbana Album, Arooj Aftab won for her song “Mohabbat” and Bad Bunny won for his album El Último Tour del Mundo. Although H.E.R. did not win Song of the Year, this year marked her third consecutive nomination for the category; therefore, she matches the likes of Billie Eilish and Lionel Richie for most consecutive nominations for SOTY. After the death of their iconic drummer, Taylor Hawkins, Foo Fighters won the Best Rock Album Grammy for their album Medicine at Midnight: awarding them with the most Grammy awards won in this category.
Though some would disagree, all winners were deserving of their awards. But let’s get into the snubs and surprises of the biggest night in music.
Olivia Rodrigo, arguably one of the biggest artists of 2021, won three Grammys: Best Pop Solo Performance (for “driver’s license”), Best Pop Vocal Album (for Sour), and Best New Artist. She was nominated for seven awards, including the top three categories of Record, Song, and Album of the Year. Some say this was a big snub of the night since she did not win any of the top three categories. Still, winning three Grammys at 19-years-old with her first album is an impressive feat.
Silk Sonic’s sweep was a big surprise that night. The duo of Bruno Mars and Anderson. Paak won in all four categories they were nominated in: Best R&B Song, Best R&B Performance, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year (all for “Leave the Door Open”). Their excitement and energy were a highlight of the night, regardless of this sweep being a surprise to viewers.
More snubs include BTS, Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X. The Recording Academy seems to continue to ignore the sensation BTS has become and, while the band was present at the awards ceremony and even performed, they were not presented with any awards that night (after only being nominated for one). Billie Eilish had a similar snub to Rodrigo but did not take any Grammys home for Happier Than Ever as expected—despite her seven nominations. Lil Nas X also went home empty-handed and did not win any of the five categories he was nominated in. I’m sorry, Jon Batiste, Imma let you finish, but Lil Nas X had one of the best music videos of all time. (I’m sorry, I had to.)
The biggest surprise of the night was Jon Batiste’s big wins. Though he only won five of his eleven nominations, he took home the biggest award of the night: Album of the Year (We Are). He also won Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song, both for “Cry”; tied with The Queen’s Gambit for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media for Disney/Pixar’s Soul; and Best Music Video for “Freedom.” A quote from his acceptance speech does stick out as one of the most memorable of the night: “The creative arts are subjective and they reach people at a point in their lives when they need it most.”
There were also some great performances that night. Olivia Rodrigo was among the first of the performers, as she sang her Grammy-winning song “drivers license.” Billie Eilish gave an entertaining performance wearing a Taylor Hawkins t-shirt, a tribute to the late drummer. H.E.R. teamed up with Lenny Kravitz, Travis Barker, and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis to give an explosive and captivating performance with a mashup of songs. A beautiful tribute to Stephen Sondheim was made by Cynthia Erivo, Ben Platt, Leslie Odom Jr. and Rachel Zegler for the In Memoriam, in addition to many more amusing performances of the night.
Even sweet moments between talented artists occurred, like when Lady Gaga helped SZA with her dress when she and Doja Cat went up to accept their Grammy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance (for “Kiss Me More”). The Grammys is always a great night to see the biggest names in music come together and celebrate their hard work.
Even though no celebrities were slapped at this awards show, the Recording Academy’s 64th Grammy Awards was exciting and a great celebration of the music industry.