Oh, the Grammys. It’s probably my favourite awards ceremony – packed with glamour, prestige and all the celebrities you care about. It seems to lack the terse competitiveness of the Oscars and replaces it with a music industry nonchalance.
The ceremony for 2023 took place last night in Los Angeles, hosted by Trevor Noah. It was, as predicted, a Beyonce smash – but she missed out on Best Album yet again, with a shock result in the category. What are the headlines, and what did you miss?
After arriving fashionably late having been stuck in LA traffic for an hour – “I’m surprised traffic could stop you,” said Trevor Noah, who was hosting, “I thought you travelled through space and time” – Beyonce won four awards, taking her over the threshold for the most Grammy award wins in history. She has now won 32, surpassing the Hungarian-British conductor George Solti, who had 31.
Beyonce won Best Dance/Electronic album for Renaissance, Best R&B Song for “Cuff It”, Best Dance/Electronic Recording for “Break My Soul” and Best Traditional R&B Performance for “Plastic off the Sofa”. In her acceptance speech, she thanked the queer community “for their love and for inventing the genre”, and her Uncle Jonny, who helped make her outfits before she was famous (you’ll hear him mentioned on “Heated”). Though she missed out on the coveted Best Album award, breaking the record is a fitting result for Beyonce, who is undoubtedly the defining artist of our time.
Best Album went to Harry Styles’ Harry’s House in a major upset, beating favourites Beyonce with Renaissance and Adele with her divorce album 30 (Styles also won Best Pop Vocal album over Lizzo and Abba). Beyonce has been nominated four times in the category but never won the award – she was beaten in 2015, when she was nominated for Lemonade, by Adele with 25, who dedicated the award to her.Tyler Johnson and Harry Styles accept the Album Of The Year award for Harry’s House. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)
Accepting the prize, Styles said: “On nights like tonight, it’s obviously so important for us to remember that there is no such thing as best in music”. He added: “This doesn’t happen to people like me very often, and this is so, so nice.” Styles is ever charming and self-effacing, but it’s difficult not to be a little astounded by the result, Harry’s House being a trundling, easy-listening pop record defined largely by aesthetic over substance, and Renaissance being a generation-defining tour-de-force.
Sam Smith and Kim Petras took the award for Best Duo/Group Performance for their song “Unholy”. Smith let Petras accept the trophy to acknowledge that Petras had made history. “Sam graciously wanted me to accept this award because I’m the first transgender woman to win this award,” said Petras, who is originally from Germany. She paid tribute to Madonna, her mother and the late hyperpop producer SOPHIE, who was also trans, for “kicking these doors open”.Kim Petras and Sam Smith accept Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Unholy”. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)
It was a big night for the Isle of Wight: indie duo Wet Leg scooped Best Alternative Album – beating the likes of Bjork and Arcade Fire – and Best Alternative Music Performance for their song “Chaise Longue”. Lead singer Rhian Teasdale added a dose of clunky Britishness to all the toothy American sycophancy, saying as she accepted the Best Alternative Performance trophy: “This is so funny, thanks so much! What are we even doing here? I don’t know. But here we are!”Indie duo Wet Leg accepts the Best Alternative Music Album award for “Wet Leg”. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)
The awards were called consecutively, so the band were called up again a few minutes later for Best Alternative Album. Henry Holmes, Wet Leg’s drummer, said: “There are so many people out there that we should thank, and my mind has gone blank, and I feel like I might wet myself. It’s getting a bit much!” Wet Leg will support Harry Styles on his tour, which kicks off this month.
The actress Viola Davis, whose performance in The Woman King was snubbed by the Oscars for a Best Actress nomination this year, has become an EGOT (one of an elite list of just 18 people to have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony). She won for her audiobook recording of her autobiography Finding Me, which details Davis’s extraordinary life from a childhood of poverty and trauma to Hollywood actor.Davis picked up the prize at the “premiere ceremony”, which covers the technical categories.
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