The 65th Grammy Awards were aired on Sunday, Feb. 5 and were a night of surprising upsets and historic firsts.
Music’s biggest night was kicked off with an electric performance from Puerto Rican superstar Bad Bunny, who took home the award for Best Música Urbana Album later in the night. Additional performances included Harry Styles, Mary J. Blige, Steve Lacy, Lizzo, Stevie Wonder, Quavo, Jay-Z and others. But by far, the highlight of the night was a performance introduced by hip-hop legend and former Grammys host LL Cool J. The performance featured Ice-T, Busta Rhymes, Public Enemy, Run-D.M.C., Nelly, Questlove, Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, Lil Baby and GloRilla and was a tribute to hip-hop’s 50th anniversary, which is this year. Cool J promised a longer extension to the performance at a later date.
West Coast legend Dr. Dre received the first Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, named after him for his decades of contributions to music. Actress and icon Viola Davis received the coveted EGOT status — meaning a recipient of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony — after winning the award for Best Audio Book, Narration and Storytelling Recording.
Furthermore, iconic grunge band Nirvana received the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award the day before the awards show, alongside bands The Supremes and Heart. 2023 marks 30 years since the release of Nirvana’s last album, “In Utero.” Bassist Krist Novoselic, joined by drummer Dave Grohl, acknowledged the new generation of Nirvana fans and thanked them for their support while receiving the band’s second Grammy.
Ma Rainey, known in the music world as the “Mother of the Blues,” also received a Lifetime Achievement Award — 84 years after her passing. The award was accepted posthumously by her great-nephew and great-great niece.
During the main event on Sunday, Adele took home the award for Best Pop Solo Performance for her track “Easy On Me.” Lizzo joined the winner’s podium shortly after by winning Record of the Year for “About Damn Time,” making her a four-time Grammy winner.
The Grammys concluded with a series of upsets, the most surprising of which being folk-legend Bonnie Raitt’s Song of the Year win over heavyweights “BREAK MY SOUL,” “Bad Habit” and fan-favorite “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” by Taylor Swift. Raitt herself seemed surprised at the decision when she received the award from presenter first lady Jill Biden. Swift ultimately took home one award: Best Music Video for “All Too Well.” However, next year looks to be more promising for her with the eligibility of her 10th studio album, “Midnights.”
Jazz vocalist Samara Joy triumphed over Latto, Måneskin, Wet Leg and others to win the Best New Artist Award. Beyoncé’s chart-topping and beloved album “RENAISSANCE” was ultimately beat out by “Harry’s House,” the third studio album from English heartthrob Harry Styles.
The night was still a huge success for Beyoncé. The “CUFF IT” singer took home four awards and her win for Best Electronic/Dance Album made her the most awarded musician in the Grammys’ history with 32 awards. Still, many were shocked at her loss in the Best Album category. Many critics and fans were confident that “RENAISSANCE” would be the album to finally get Beyoncé the coveted award, especially after the reaction when her previous album “Lemonade” lost in 2017. In her acceptance speech for Best Electronic/Dance Album, Beyoncé thanked the queer community for their love and for invention of the genre.
The night was also historic for many other artists. Nigerian rapper Tems won the award for Best Melodic Rap Performance for a collaboration with Future and Drake, becoming the first Nigerian female artist to win a Grammy. Singer Kim Petras became the first transgender woman to win the award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. Her track “Unholy” with Sam Smith topped the Billboard Hot 100 and beat out collaborations “My Universe” by BTS and Coldplay and “I Like You (A Happier Song)” by Post Malone and Doja Cat.
Next year’s 66th Grammy Awards are already promising to be an exciting night filled with incredible contenders. Albums such as SZA’s “SOS,” Arctic Monkeys’ “The Car” and Swift’s “Midnights” have already been released to great press and acclaim and fall within the release timeframe.