The 64th Grammy Awards made their way to fabulous Las Vegas for the first time on Sunday, and what happened in Vegas certainly didn’t stay there.
The ceremony honored the best in music and featured a slew of standout performances, including an opener themed “Viva Las Vegas” by the night’s repeat winners, Silk Sonic, an amplified “Happier Than Ever” by Billie Eilish, and an emotional “In Memoriam.” A tribute to the late composer Stephen Sondheim and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins.
Here are five of the best moments from the ceremony.
Host Trevor Noah makes the first slap joke of the night (and Questlove makes the second)
It was inevitable: the Oscar swatter had to make prime time. Presenter Noah was quick to allude to last week’s infamous live TV moment, but didn’t give it too much weight, instead using Will Smith’s own words to liven up music’s biggest night.
“Don’t even think of it as an awards show. Think of it as a concert where we give out awards, okay?” said Noah in his opening monologue. “We’re going to listen to music. We will dance. we will sing We’ll keep people’s names out of our mouths and give out prizes throughout the night.”
A few minutes later, Noah introduced Summer of Soul director Questlove, whose Oscar-winning documentary was eclipsed by Smith unexpectedly slapping presenter Chris Rock. But on Sunday, the Recording Academy gave the roots musician back his well-deserved spotlight.
“All right, I’m going to present this award,” Questlove said at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, “and trust you guys to stay 500 feet from me.”
The five-time Grammy winner received a huge round of applause and then compared winning his Oscar last week to winning his multiple Grammys, noting that “you never forget your first time”.
BTS performs “Butter” with an assist from Olivia Rodrigo
K-Pop sensations and nominees BTS returned to the Grammys stage to present their hit song “Butter.” The group performed at last year’s ceremony via live feed from South Korea due to COVID-19 restrictions. This time, they pulled off a highly choreographed undercover operation and enlisted the help of “Drivers License” singer Rodrigo, whose brief moment of snuggling up with the band’s singer V sent the BTS Army into overdrive.
And they got a standing ovation along the way.
The President of Ukraine gives his blessing to the show
So Sean Penn got his wish…sort of. After Volodymyr Zelenskyy failed to appear at the Oscars last week, the Recording Academy invited the ailing President of Ukraine to address the crowd. And he asked viewers to keep the music going.
Zelensky, whose country is still occupied by Russian troops, urged the artists present and the audience at home to “fill the silence with your music”.
“What is more the opposite of music? The silence of destroyed cities and killed people,” he said. “Our musicians wear protective vests instead of tuxedos. They sing for the wounded in hospitals – even for those who cannot hear them. But the music will break through anyway.
“We defend our freedom to live, to love, to sound. On our country we are fighting against Russia, which brings terrible silence with its bombs – dead silence,” added Zelenskyy. “Fill the stillness with your music. Fill it out today to tell our story. Tell the truth about this war on your social networks, on TV. Support us wherever you can.”
Grammy winner John Legend then took the stage to perform his new song “Free” alongside a trio of Ukrainian artists: bandura player Siuzanna Iglidan, singer Mika Newton and poet Lyuba Yakimchuk.
Doja Cat and SZA turn their acceptance speech into a rom-com
“Kiss Me More” singers Doja Cat and SZA won the pop duo/group performance award and gave an unexpected speech to celebrate the win. However, Doja Cat barely made it because, according to SZA, she went to the toilet “for five minutes”.
“I’ve never p-p’d that fast in my entire life,” Doja Cat said as she came second on stage. “Thanks everyone, I really appreciate it. … SZA, you are everything to me. You’re unbelievable. You are the epitome of talent, you are a lyricist, you are everything and I just need you to say something, anything, just something. Please give them something.”
Even at home, SZA won the hearts of the audience because she went to the stage on crutches. Lady Gaga, who was nominated in the same category, also helped her adjust the voluminous train on her dress as the winner hobbled onto the stage in stiletto heels. (Backstage, she told SZA reporters she “fell out of bed the day before I had to go to the Grammys.”)
“Thanks to Doja. Thanks to my mom. Thank you God and just thank you all. I am pleased that you [Doja] made it into the past,” said SZA.
Doja got emotional and added: “Damn. I like to downplay that, but that’s a big deal. Thank you all. Be sure. Take care of.”
Previously, Dua Lipa and Megan Thee Stallion, previous Best New Artist winners, delivered a wardrobe-twining moment with designer Donatella Versace that made us believe all presenters should be women supporting women.
Jon Batiste ends the show with a feel-good message
Accepting the final award of the night – album of the year for “We Are” – “Freedom” singer Batiste seemed confused at his own success as he made his way onto the stage. Then he reminded people that the arts are subjective.
“You know, I really believe this to the core: There is no such thing as the best musician, best artist, best dancer, best actor,” the Late Show bandleader said. “The creative arts are subjective and reach people at a point in their lives when they need them most. It’s like making a song or an album, and it almost has a radar for finding the person when they need it most.”
He added, “Every single artist that has been nominated in this category I actually love and have had experiences, out of body experiences, with your music. I honor you, and this is for real artists, real musicians. Let’s just keep going. Be you. That’s it. I love you even if I don’t know you! Good night.”
Christi Carras, Times Contributor, Carlos De Loera, Editorial Assistant, and Kristina Garcia, Intern, contributed to this report.
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/music/story/2022-04-04/grammys-2022-best-moments Check out the 5 best moments from the 2022 Grammys: BTS, SZA, Noah