UNITED STATES: The Grammys were held in Las Vegas for the first time, which could have been an exciting opportunity for the music industry. Still, the 64th edition of the industry’s most prestigious awards remained relatively tight-lipped. Trevor Noah, Questlove, and others involved in the day’s events in Sin City were able to get a few jabs in at the actor-rapper – a past Grammy winner himself – for his slap of comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars.
Nate Bargatze, a comedian, made the first joke about the Oscars when he appeared onstage during the pre-gala ceremony, during which most of the awards were given out. “They said comedians now have to wear these at award shows during their joke parts,” he said, sporting a massive helmet.
“We’re not going to say people’s names,” Noah said at the start, referring to Smith’s expletive-laden tirade at Rock over his joke about Smith’s wife, Jada. Questlove, who received the Oscar for best documentary shortly after the shocking scuffle, later came out to present a Grammy.
President Volodymyr Zelensky made a surprise appearance in a pre-taped video urging the top artists to “fill the silence” left by Russia’s invasion with music. Zelensky delivered his pre-recorded message before John Legend performed “Free” with Ukrainian singer Mika Newton, musician Siuzanna Iglidan, and poet Lyuba Yakimchuk. “What could be more opposed to music? The silence of destroyed cities and murdered people,” according to Zelensky.
“Instead of tuxedos, our musicians dress in body armor. They sing to the injured in hospitals, even if they are deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly, But the music will still get through.”
“On our soil, we are fighting Russia, which brings horrible silence with its bombs,” he added. “There was complete silence. Fill the silence with your music today to tell our story.”
His appearance on music’s biggest night in the US comes as global outrage grows over accusations of Russian war crimes in Ukraine, with the discovery of mass graves and corpses in towns near Kyiv.
The big winner with an image of the country’s flag flying in the top corner of the set, Jon Batiste’s performance medley paid subtle tribute to Ukraine’s struggle. Although it was one of the more subdued nights of performance in recent Grammy history, the setlist did not disappoint.
Billie Eilish paid a quiet tribute to the late Taylor Hawkins, the Foo Fighters drummer who died unexpectedly, with a stormy rendition of “Happier Than Ever” while wearing a shirt with his likeness. With her brother Finneas on guitar, Billie Eilish delivered a powerful performance backed by lightning bolt strikes and a finale of pouring rain.
Olivia Rodrigo took the stage wearing fishnets, platform boots, and a white slip dress with a tiered ruffle skirt, singing “drivers license” on a set designed to look like a dark, stormy suburban street.
Lil Nas X began a medley of his hits in sparkling monk robes as news reports and tweets critical of his work flashed behind him. He then launched into a dance-heavy celebration of queerness before being joined by guest star Jack Harlow for “Industry Baby,” He performed a few sexual gestures that couldn’t be described elegantly but had the audience in fits of laughter.
Korean boy band BTS’ performance of ‘Butter’ had serious ‘James Bond’ and ‘Matrix’ vibes.
It started with band member V flirting with Rodrigo and whispering in her ear in a staged but playful moment, which sparked outrage on social media. Batiste wowed the audience with a genre-spanning musical performance that showcased his versatility, earning him the night’s most-nominated artist and the biggest winner.