“Music’s Biggest Night” is over, but what will we remember about the 62nd annual Grammy Awards?
The better question: Who will we remember? Two answers: Kobe Bryant and Billie Eilish.
Of course, that’s for very different reasons. Sunday night was packed with high-profile performances, tributes (good and not-so-good) and a series of flabbergasted speeches by Eilish.
Read on for five takeaways from the Grammys.
1. Honoring a Lakers legend
“We’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built,” Alicia Keys said, just moments into the show. It was a reference to Staples Center, where Bryant played for much of his NBA career. It was far from the only reference to the man who died in a helicopter crash hours before the ceremony began. Lizzo, the first performer of the night, made it clear that “Tonight is for Kobe.” Bryant’s retired No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys were illuminated inside the arena. During a performance of “Old Town Road,” you could see No. 24 written on Billy Ray Cyrus’ guitar. Keys, the host of the evening, also had this to say: “Here we are together, on music’s biggest night, celebrating the artists that do it best, but to be honest with you, we’re all feeling crazy sadness right now.” She then sang “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” with members of the group Boyz II Men to honor Bryant.
2. A true host
Keys’ hosting ability was a solid and stable force of the night. The tough job was made even tougher with the news of Bryant’s death, but she handled it like a true and graceful leader. My favorite Keys moment was her Grammys-themed version of “Someone You Loved,” the song by Lewis Capaldi. She called out a bunch of artists and whipped together these comforting lyrics: “Here’s Alicia Keys to get you through it all.” Keys was and is here for us.
3. Eilish eyes are smiling
When it comes to the awards, this was Eilish’s night. She took home the four major categories: best new artist, song of the year, album of the year and record of the year. When she accepted her first one, she and her brother/music-making partner Finneas looked genuinely surprised and pleased about the win. Eilish confirmed that, saying, “I genuinely want to say I’m so grateful.” By the end of the night, all the siblings could say was “thank you” and “goodbye.” Literally. That was their speech for record of the year.
4. Emotional performances
Talk about tear-jerking moments. “You made me cry, and I don’t cry,” sang Meek Mill, who started off a tribute to the late rapper Nipsey Hussle. The tribute ended with side-by-side images of Hussle and Bryant on the screen. Demi Lovato had to start her emotional performance of “Anyone” over again after she started crying. Also crying? Camila Cabello’s father as she sang “First Man” directly to him. I didn’t see any tears during Tanya Tucker’s rendition of “Bring My Flowers Now,” supported by Brandi Carlile on piano, but I certainly felt chills.
5. Less music, more awards
Overall, I would’ve liked to have seen more of the actual awards. Only nine of the Grammys’ 84 awards were given out during the live broadcast, and some of those included were odd choices. I wanted to see Tucker accept her Grammy for best country song (“Bring My Flowers Now”), but instead I watched her present the award for best comedy album (and accept it on behalf of Dave Chappelle). Most of the performances were worth watching, except for that weird Aerosmith and Run-DMC duet. But time ran out and that meant rushing through the night’s biggest awards