Billed as music’s biggest night — though it might as well have been called music’s longest night — the Grammy Awards were handed out last night in a telecast that went even longer than its scheduled three-and-a-half hour runtime.
Kacey Musgraves and Donald Glover, a.k.a. Childish Gambino, had fruitful nights, winning four awards each. And while congrats are in order for Musgraves on being the first country artist in nine years to win album of the year, and for Glover for his song about racism in the United States, “This Is America,” winning song and record of the year, the more eyebrow-raising moments came elsewhere in the telecast – or before it even began.
Drake holding a Grammy about the Grammys: ‘You don’t need this right here’
Toronto-born rapper Drake won best rap song for “God’s Plan.” He and the Recording Academy that doles out Grammys have had a tumultuous relationship over the years. Drake’s often avoided the Grammys, accusing them of snubbing him repeatedly, so the fact that he was there to accept his award was a surprise to begin with. He’s been nominated 42 times but only has four Grammys to his name. He made his way to the podium from backstage and started his speech: It’s “the first time in Grammy history where I actually am who I thought I was
for a second, so I like that.” He shouted-out his fellow nominees and turned his attention to up-and-comers, people at home and those not even nominated. “You’ve already won if you have people who are singing your songs word for word, if you are a hero in your hometown. If there is 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.” Drake took a short pause that made producers think he was done, but when he started talking again, it sounded like his mic was cut off after a subtle dig at the show and awards themselves. Producers later clarified that wasn’t the case and even offered the rapper to go back on stage to finish his speech. According to Variety, the rapper said he doesn’t need to because he’s happy with what he said.
Surprise! It’s Michelle Obama
A most surprising guest made her way to the stage after Alicia Keys said she is going to bring out some of her girls to talk about music. The quartet included Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jennifer Lopez and former FLOTUS Michelle Obama. “Music has always helped me tell my story,” Obama said. The audience erupted in such applause just as she started speaking, Obama actually had to calm everyone down and start over.
“From the Motown records I wore out on the Southside to the Who Run the World songs that fuelled me through this last decade … Whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves.” The social media response to Obama’s appearance was unsurprisingly rapturous, with many saying they wished she were still FLOTUS.
The stunt MAGA ‘fashion’
Joy Villa, who’s never been nominated for a Grammy, has made it a habit to show up to the red carpet in MAGA-inspired and extremely pro-Trump fashions. Last year, she wore the now-infamous “Make America Great Again” dress. This year, she wore a “Build the Wall”-themed dress that even included a barbed wire element on the shoulders. One side was “silver,” like the steel fence Trump has said would be built at the U.S.-Mexico border. The other side was a play on Pink Floyd’s iconic “The Wall” album art. Villa paired the costume with a red “Make America Great Again” purse. She would later tear the silver attachment at the front of her dress to reveal a full brick wall motif on a white dress.
Another never-nominee from Whoville, Ricky Rebel, showed up in pro-Trump fashion. The blue jacket featured the quote “Keep America Great” as an endorsement for Trump 2020. His Wikipedia page says the singer-songwriter is known for “advocating for LGBT rights and supporting Donald Trump,” the president with the infamously homophobic Veep. OK!
Ariana Grande feuds with the Grammys, wins her first Grammy
Singer Ariana Grande, whose latest album was just released Friday, cancelled her appearance at the Grammys after a dispute with producers who apparently wanted to dictate which songs she performed on the telecast. Just days before she was scheduled to perform, she took to Twitter to explain why she wouldn’t be. Grande did end up winning a Grammy on Sunday though, for her album Sweetener, which came out in 2018.
Lady Gaga turns a ballad into a rock song
Lady Gaga won three awards, including two for the song “Shallow” from the A Star Is Born soundtrack. She is also scheduled to perform that song at the Oscars later this month. The song comes at a pivotal moment in the movie when her character Ally, a then-unknown singer-songwriter, gets the chance to sing her song for the first time in front of a massive audience. She is meek and nervous, but ultimately does the thing. On Sunday, however, Gaga turned “Shallow” into a rousing rock song. Oscar incoming!