Taylor Swift has been crowned at the 2024 Grammy Awards. The artist made history on Sunday, becoming the first person to win four awards in the most important category of the most powerful musical awards in the world: best album of the year. Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder had won three. Swift has bettered these three huge musical stars at only 34 years of age with her album Midnights, after winning it with Fearless in 2010, 1989 in 2016 and Folklore in 2021. Although she was the favorite, she still seemed tremendously surprised, so much so that she forgot to greet the person who gave her the award on stage, Céline Dion, herself the winner of five Grammys and retired from the stage due to a rare illness. Swift thanked her “best friend,” producer Jack Antonoff, and her entire team: “I would love to tell you that this is the best moment of my life, but I feel this happy when I finish a song, or when I crack the code to a bridge that I love, or when I’m shot listing a music video or when I’m rehearsing with my dancers,” she said. “I just want to keep doing this. Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to do it.”
Swift, who also took the opportunity to announce a new album for release on April 19, Tortured Poets Department, won two awards, Miley Cyrus another two and Billie Eilish two more. Even so, the main recipient of awards was Phoebe Bridgers, who won four, but none in the televised part of the event.
As has been happening for the last 66 years, many people wondered what the most important award is, the one that goes to record of the year or the one that goes to album of the year? Mark Ronson and Meryl Streep, his mother-in-law, debated the matter when presenting the Grammy for the former category, which rewards the artist but also the team, including producers, recording engineers, mixers and more. In this case, the award went to Miley Cyrus for Flowers, her second Grammy of the night and of her career after winning in the best pop solo performance category.
One of the big surprises of the night was for Billie Eilish, who won one of the major awards, song of the year, for What was I made for?, from the soundtrack of the motion picture Barbie.
The person in charge of hosting an eminently feminine gala was Trevor Noah, who did what he could with a televised program with many commercial cuts and few awards, since most were handed out earlier in a non-televised ceremony, including those focusing on technical issues, soundtracks and Latin pop (where Peso Pluma, Juanes, Natalia Lafourcade and Gaby Moreno won awards).
One of the highlights of the night was an emotional performance by Tracy Chapman — she had not been on stage for almost a decade — along with Luke Combs, performing the 1980s classic Fast Car. Latin power came to the fore with Karol G, who won her first Grammy in the Música Urbana category with Mañana será bonito. And at age 80, Joni Mitchell sang Both Sides Now with Brandi Carlyle, Lucius, Blake Mills, Allison Russell and Jacob Collier at the piano.
The emotional in memoriam section was performed by four powerful vocalists: Stevie Wonder (with a special tribute to Tony Bennett); Annie Lennox (with a moving song from Nothing Compares To You, by Sinead O’Connor); Jon Batiste, who performed something akin to a gospel mass at the piano in honor of Bill Withers; and Fantasia Barrino (Oscar nominee for her role as Celie in The Color Purple), who danced in honor of Tina Turner.
The Grammys are a chaotic gala. In fact, they are not even a gala as such, but rather a series of events distributed over a handful of days, almost a week, where Los Angeles comes to a standstill to receive and celebrate the music industry’s stars. Neither President Joe Biden’s visit to the city on Saturday nor the tremendous rainstorm that began to pour down on Sunday were able to take attention away from the awards that, for 66 years, have been setting the tone in music and represent a respite in the film awards season. It is also difficult to predict what is going to happen and who is going to win, and always leaves room for surprise performances such as those by Tracy Chapman and Joni Mitchell, as well as the onstage appearance of Céline Dion, who got the audience on their feet. “Those who have been blessed enough to be here must never take for granted the tremendous love and joy that music brings to our lives and to people all around the world,” she said.
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