2019's Greatest Grammy Moments

Sunday, February 10 was yet another cold, snowy night, and what better excuse to stay inside to watch this year’s 61st Annual Grammy Awards. It was only fitting that this year’s ceremony was hosted by musical legend Alicia Keys, whose talents as a world-class pianist, singer, and songwriter have earned her fifteen Grammys over the years. The presence of a successful female host mirrored the rest of the night, as female artists dominated in the ceremony performances and in most major categories. If you happened to miss the biggest night in music, don’t worry, because I am prepared to take you through all of the Grammy’s most memorable moments, including a few of my personal favorites.

Some of the most notable winners included Childish Gambino, whose powerful statement piece “This Is America” won a total of four awards before the night was over, including both Record and Song of the Year. And he wasn’t the only one to come home with four Grammys. Country singer and songwriter Kacey Musgraves earned four awards as well, including the final award of the night, Album of the Year, for her 2018 release “Golden Hour.” Several other women took home awards, such as Filipino and African-American singer H.E.R. As an artist who rose to fame through participating in Radio Disney’s “Next Big Thing” in 2009, her career has certainly skyrocketed since then, as she won two of the awards she was nominated for that night, including Best R&B album. Other first-timers included Ariana Grande, who earned the Best Pop Vocals award for her 2018 album “Sweetener.” And by no surprise, our favorite Bronx city girl Cardi B took home her first Grammy for her album “Invasion of Privacy,” becoming the first solo female artist in Grammy history to win Best Rap Album.

Beyond these exciting wins, viewers also got to witness some amazing performances. Jennifer Lopez brought her Vegas flare to an upbeat Motown tribute with fellow artists Smokey Robinson and Ne-Yo, singing classics like “Please Mr. Postman” and “My Girl.” After winning an award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Lady Gaga and Mark Ronson took the stage to give a powerful performance of “Shallow” from the 2018 film “A Star is Born,” directed by Bradley Cooper. Gaga won a total of three Grammy awards that night, including Best Pop Solo Performance for her soulful song, “Joanne.”

Travis Scott brought Astroworld to the Grammy stage by having fans join him to rage and crowd surf on stage. One of my personal favorite performances was Post Malone’s, who was joined on stage by the Red Hot Chili Peppers during his hit song “Rockstar” featuring rapper 21 Savage. And although this woman isn’t technically an artist, no one can deny that former first lady Michelle Obama’s surprise appearance during Alicia Key’s opening speech was one of the most exciting things to happen on that stage all night. She could hardly get a word in without the crowd erupting in cheers and applause, but managed to share some thoughtful words about the importance of music as a method of expressing our feelings and stories with one another.

As exhilarating as it is to watch this year’s top artists earn the credit they deserve and perform our favorite songs, is it really a successful Grammys without some celebrity gossip? Award shows are notorious for blaring music to signal that a winner’s speech has gone on a little too long, and the Grammys did not shy away from that option this year. Even the ‘Best New Artist’ got her speech cut off. But was it because of length or content? Dua Lipa threw slight shade at Recording Academy President Neil Portnow, who was criticized last year for suggesting that women should “step up” if they hoped to see more female artist nominations. When accepting her award, she retorted, “I guess we’ve really stepped up this year.” Drake also had his speech cut off, which I was personally happy about. Although his words were fashioned politely, the content of his speech came off slightly condescending, as he closed with, “If there’s people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain, in the snow, spending their hard-earned money to buy tickets to come to your shows, you don’t need this right here.” Rather than offering his gratitude, he chose to almost diminish the honor associated with his award, which seemed inappropriate to me. Regardless, I cannot deny Drake’s talent or popularity, and his award was well deserved.

If you think my criticism of Drake is harsh, then you should look into the gossip surrounding pop singer Katy Perry, who is being shamed for appearing to try to upstage Dolly Parton during the country artist’s tribute. I’m not sure if it was the red and gold sparkly cowgirl outfit or the wide range of notes that she intensely belted out during her performance, but fans felt that her presence was out-of-line, leading them to question why she was selected to accompany country musicians for a Parton tribute in the first place. Personally, I feel bad for Perry. As a female artist who used to be the ultimate pop princess back in the early 2000s, earning musical records comparable to those of legends like Michael Jackson, I think the Academy was hoping to resurrect her career through this performance. Perry has expressed that her mental health has declined in recent years, particularly after her recent 2017 album “Witness” received absolutely no acknowledgment whatsoever. With the theme of powerful women in mind for this year’s Grammys, I think the goal was to lighten Perry’s spirits and bring her back into the public spotlight – a goal that seemingly backfired.

Despite all the drama, this year's Grammy Awards was an exceptionally entertaining and impressive event. Watching some of our generation’s most talented female figures perform and earn well-deserved honors was an inspiration, and gave me hope towards a future that will continue to recognize hard-working, gifted women, within the music industry and beyond.

 

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