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Megan Thee Stallion was named Best New Artist at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards Sunday night, taking home the first trophy in a ceremony that looked extraordinarily different from the 62 such events that preceded it. Taylor Swift nabbed Album of the Year, while Beyoncé racked up enough wins to become the winningest female artist in Grammy history.

Among the departures from previous years: Winners received awards on an outdoor stage across the street from Staples Center, the opening segment was three back-to-back nominated songs by the artists who recorded them and in an attempt to get deeper into the lives of Record of the Year nominees, the opening included a profile piece on Black Pumas and their days playing the streets of Santa Monica. (The second portion started with a profile of Da Baby leading into his performance of "ROCKSTAR.")

Host Trevor Noah got things rolling on an open-air stage and rather than follow past scripts of letting surprise and anticipation carry the night, he spilled the beans at the top of the show, explaining the setup and the artist lineup. Revealing the intimate performance space, he physically walked past Black Pumas, HAIM and Billie Eilish before getting to the show opener, Harry Styles.

On a black-box stage somewhere in the L.A. Live complex, Styles and his leather-clad band worked their way through “Watermelon Sugar” before the show segued straight into Eilish's singing “everything I wanted” on a set of a car crash on a foggy night, with just her brother, Finneas, on keyboards and a drummer backing her. HAIM immediately followed her; at this point, Jools Holland fans could be overheard saying, “Yeah, this works.”  

EP Ben Winston and his team took advantage of having the performers in close proximity, cutting to reaction shots—the members of Haim head-bopping to Eilish, Styles swaying to HAIM...

Bruno Mars returned to old-school R&B more than six years after his Mark Ronson collab “Uptown Funk!” with the silky Philly Soul homage “Leave the Door Open.” Assaying the newest song of the night—and one of the show’s early highlights—the tiny dynamo traded verses and crisply choreographed dance moves with Anderson .Paak in what promises to be an inspired partnership. 

Grammy scored points by going with reps of iconic venues around the country as presenters. JT Gray of Nashville's Station Inn announced Miranda Lambert's Best Country Album victory for Wildcard, and Rachelle Erratchu of L.A.'s Troubadour fittingly called the name of recent club headliner Harry Styles in the Pop Solo Performance category.

Swift strung together three songs from her lower-case-album phase on an elaborately rustic set, and her primary collaborator, The National’s Aaron Dessner, took a guitar solo.

Mars again commanded the stage—with .Paak behind the drum kit—for a Little Richard tribute, dynamically introducing the always-problematic “In Memoriam” segment. Lionel Richie highlighted Kenny Rogers, Brandi Carlile honored John Prine and Brittany Howard—with Coldplay’s Chris Martin backing her on piano—sang “You'll Never Walk Alone” against the backdrop of prominent music figures we lost in the past year. Let the outcry begin for those who were overlooked. The segment was oddly followed by a Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky commercial, again with Howard performing "You'll Never Walk Alone."

Mickey Guyton led a country-song segment with a powerful performance of her game-changing anthem, “Black Like Me,” making clear she’s a force to be reckoned with—and a much-needed one at that. Lambert and Maren Morris (with John Mayer on guitar) followed. 

Best New Artist Megan Thee Stallion kicked off "Savage" with true swagger (that production may well rekindle an interest in tap dancing among aspiring hoofers). Then Cardi B showed up to help her duet partner debut the term "WAP" on network television—and presumably prompt a lot of uncomfortable parent/child conversations. Folks, just tell the kids it stands for "Wireless Application Protocol" and foster those I.T. dreams. Somebody needed to splash some cold water on Trevor Noah.

Billy Mitchell of the Apollo, after telling an amazing story of how James Brown pushed him to achieve, presented the award for Rap Song to "Savage" by Megan f/Beyoncé. The two Houston natives jumped onstage together.  With her win, Bey tied the record for Grammy wins (27) by a female artist and wins by a vocalist of any gender. 

Post Malone hit the stage for "Hollywood's Bleeding," his goth look echoing the style of one-time collaborator Ozzy Osbourne

Jhené Aiko and Jacob Collier strode out to present the Pop Vocal Album trophy, which went to Dua Lipa for Future Nostalgia.

Lil Baby's "The Bigger Picture" was an elaborate street scene complete with murderous cops and burning shops, protests and political speeches. "President Biden, we demand justice." Baby rapping in a police officer's impassive face was among the more powerful images of the show. “Just like with the song, this performance had to reflect the real,” the Atlanta native later explained. “No sugar-coating. My family, my fans and my city know who I do this for.”

Babyface and Jimmy Jam, fittingly enough, were enlisted to bestow the R&B Performance Grammy. The winner? Beyoncé, making her the woman with the most-ever Grammy wins. She saluted the "beautiful black queens" that inspire the world, acknowledging a magical night. "Y'all are my babies," she told the crowd. The love for her among artists of every stripe was palpable.

Doja Cat's big moment had a Metropolis-meets-Rhythm Nation vibe, as she brought ROTY contender "Say So" to the stage. 

Candice Fox, bartender at beloved Hollywood venue The Hotel Cafe, reminded us of the club vibe we've been missing over the last year; the venue's last show was exactly one year ago. She presented the trophy for Album of the Year, which went to Taylor Swift for folklore. Swift was joined by producers Dessner and Jack Antonoff, among other collaborators. She thanked her crew and most of all the fans for meeting her "in this imaginary world." She is now the first three-time female AOTY winner.

Grammys interim CEO/Board Chair Harvey Mason Jr. delivered a plea for the biz to "work with us, not against us, as we build an Academy we can all be proud of," adding, "Our work is important, because music is important."

BTS brought that K-poppin' charisma to a spirited rendition of "Dynamite" that culminated in a fusillade of rooftop choreography. Resistance is futile. Roddy Ricch followed with a medley including "The Box."

Lifetime Achievement Honorees Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, Lionel Hampton, Marilyn Horne, Salt-N-Pepa, Selena and Talking Heads were saluted.

Record of the Year was presented by... Ringo Starr? OK, sure. And Billie Eilish took it but said Megan deserved it.


CBS broadcast the Grammys live across the country and rebroadcast the show on the West Coast starting at 8:30pm PT.

Prior to the telecast, Beyoncé, the late John Prine and Chick Corea, Fiona AppleKAYTRANADA and Fiona Apple were the first double winners. Eilish, Lady Gaga and Beck were among the early winners at the Premiere Ceremony.

According to the Recording Academy, 12.6m viewers tuned in to the Sunday afternoon livestream.

RCA’s KAYTRANADA opened the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony by sweeping the dance categories, winning Best Dance Recording ("10%" with Kali Uchis) and Best Dance/Electronic Album (BUBBA).

“I Remember Everything,” the final recording by John Prine, who died 4/7/20, was honored for American Roots Performance and American Roots Song.

Epic's Fiona Apple earned a pair of trophies: Best Alternative Music Album (Fetch the Bolt Cutters) and Best Rock Performance ("Shameika").

Beyoncé secured her 25th Grammy, winning in the video category for “Brown Skin Girl,” and 26th, for Rap Performance as a guest on "Savage" with Megan Thee Stallion, whose win is her first. 

Corea, who died in February after the votes were in, was honored with Best Improvised Jazz Solo and Best Jazz Instrumental Album for his work with Christian McBride and Brian Blade. These are the pianist’s 24th and 25th wins. Another double winner was Maria Schneider, who won for Instrumental Composition and Large Jazz Ensemble Album.

First-time nominee Andrew Watt, left, was named Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, for his work on Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello’s “Señiorita,” Cabello’s “Havana,” 5SOS’s “Youngblood” and benny blanco f/Khalid and Halsey’s “Eastside.” The Scooter Braun-repped producer was behind the boards for Post Malone’s Hollywood’s Bleeding, Ozzy Osbourne’s Ordinary Man and Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia and served as executive producer of Miley Cyrus’ Plastic Hearts.

KAYTRANADA's wins came after the streamed ceremony opened with an impressive pre-recorded all-star rendition of Marvin Gaye’s "Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)" featuring 20 nominees, among them Bebel Gilberto, Ledisi, PJ Morton, Gregory Porter, Gustavo Santaolalla and Kamasi Washington. Cheche Alara led the band as musical director.

Seventy awards were handed out during the Premiere Ceremony, held prior to the telecast. Previously mounted at the Convention Center or Microsoft Theater adjacent to Staples Center in downtown L.A., the 2021 iteration saw winners receiving their awards in “virtual rooms,” aka their homes, recording studios and, in one case, the streets of New Orleans. (Classical musicians got the tech-savvy trophy in the video-quality department.)

Lady Gaga and John Legend pushed their lifetime Grammy tallies to 12 each; Legend received Best R&B Album for Bigger Love (Columbia) and Gaga nabbed Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Rain on Me” with Ariana Grande (the latter's lone nom this year).

Billie Eilish won the sixth Grammy of her young career, securing Best Song Written for Visual Media for her James Bond theme, “No Time to Die.” Her brother, FINNEAS, shared in the win, his seventh. Don't be concerned if you don't remember how the song was used in the film; the COVID-delayed picture won't be released until October.

A quintuple nominee this year, Brittany Howard won Best Rock Song for “Stay High,” taking her lifetime total to five awards.

James Taylor, who 50 years ago won the Pop Vocal Performance award for “You’ve Got a Friend,” won Traditional Pop Vocal Album for American Standard.

Beck received his eighth Grammy, sharing the Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical trophy for Hyperspace (Capitol).

A year and two days after Broadway shut down, the Broadway cast album of Jagged Little Pill was named Best Musical Theater Album.

Album of the Year nominee Jacob Collier secured an early win for Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals, calling it "the coolest thing ever."

Brandi Carlile, a multiple winner the last two years, continues her streak with Best Country Song, for “Crowded Table” by her supergroup The Highwomen.

Fito Paez, who went 20 years between nominations, took home the Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album award for La Conquista del Espacio (Sony). Rhino’s Replacements set Dead Man's Pop was honored in the Album Notes category with a win for Bob Mehr


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