Last Sunday, March 14th proved that even a global pandemic can stop music’s biggest night. All of the year’s top musicians gathered–at a social distance–to perform and see if they’d be receiving any awards. The show definitely looked different than it has in recent years, but host Trevor Noah and all of the stars kept it exciting and entertaining.
One of my favorite parts of this year’s show was how women dominated the night. Megan Thee Stallion took home three awards including Best New Artist, a prestigious award that has been won by a multitude of other notable artists including Adele, Alicia Keys, Maroon 5, Sam Smith, and Billie Eilish. Taylor Swift became the first woman to win Album of the Year three times, which she won this year for “Folklore.” The rock and country categories were also completely full of women or female-led groups, which in categories usually defined by male artists was a nice change of pace. Fiona Apple took home the award for Best Rock Performance, and Miranda Lamber solidified her third award with Best Country Album. Beyonce also made history with her four wins by becoming the most Grammy awarded female artist with a total of 28.
Another notable award of the night was first-time nominee (and winner) Harry Styles. Harry has had an insanely successful solo career since parting ways with One Direction, and his smash hit album Fine Line and the night he had at the Grammys proved that. He opened the show with “Watermelon Sugar” in a black leather Gucci suit and a green feather boa. That one gif of Billie Eilish in the crowd watching him is how we all felt, let’s be real. Harry ended up taking home one of three awards he was nominated for: Pop Solo Performance for Watermelon Sugar.
And of course, with any awards show, there is always some scandal. Fans and artists alike called out for transparency from the Academy with the snubs in major categories to BTS, Post Malone, and Phoebe Bridgers. The Weeknd also had some things to say when his best-selling “After Hours” album received not a single nomination.
Despite controversy, however, fans praised many of the performers and what they were able to bring to the show even in these unprecedented circumstances. HAIM brought amazing harmonies and crazy musical talent, Lil Baby’s performance of “The Bigger Picture” showcased a powerful message speaking out against police brutality and racism in America, Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak gave us smooth vocals and all-around good vibes. Taylor Swift crafted a medley of songs from Folklore with a mystical woodland set that matched her current aesthetic perfectly, and Post Malone helped to round out the night with a dark rendition of “Hollywood’s Bleeding” complete with smoke and a fully leather outfit many started jokingly comparing to something you’d see on Wrestlemania.
Although it took place outside with everyone far apart at their own tables and not in an auditorium, and everyone’s faces were covered in masks, for the most part, the 2021 Grammys were still full of excitement and surprise. I think live music has been at the top of the list of things people have missed during the pandemic, so the Grammys this year provided some sort of normalcy back to us. Music brings people together, so it was great to be able to experience this show.