By Lucy Holland
When you hear about the 2020 Grammys, you’re bound to hear something about the 18-year-old singer Billie Eilish. Eilish took home five awards, including Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist, and Best Pop Vocal Album. Additionally, Eilish made Grammy history as the youngest person ever to win Album of the Year.
Another shining star was host Alicia Keys, who delivered a touching response to the tragic, unexpected death of NBA star Kobe Bryant just hours earlier that day. After an opening performance from Lizzo who prefaced her performance by saying “Tonight is for Kobe,” Keys told the audience that “We’re literally standing here, heartbroken, in the house that Kobe Bryant built.” Boyz II Men joined her onstage, and the group performed the song It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday to pay tribute to Bryant in the Staples Center where he played for the Los Angeles Lakers during his record-breaking career.
Keys later sat down at her piano, telling the audience she, “need[ed] to serenade y’all for a minute.” She addressed the recent controversy surrounding the Recording Academy’s dismissal of chief executive Deborah Dugan and Dugan’s ensuing lawsuit against the Academy. Keys told the audience “It’s time for newness. And we refuse the negative energy… We want to be respected and safe in our diversity. We want to be shifting to realness and inclusivity.” She delivered a rendition of Lewis Capaldi’s Someone You Loved, name-dropping many of the big performers.
The night celebrated some of the biggest names in the industry, with almost twenty performances throughout the show. There were many amazing standouts, but also more than a few performances that left critics and viewers confused and disappointed. Among the best of the night came from Demi Lovato; Tyler, the Creator; Lil Nas X (and his many, many accompanying artists); Lizzo; and Billie Eilish. As mentioned earlier, Lizzo opened the show with Cuz I Love You and Truth Hurts accompanied by an ensemble of diverse background dancers and a sweeping orchestra. Later, Tyler, the Creator was joined by Charlie Wilson and Boyz II Men, performing EARFQUAKE which then transitioned to NEW MAGIC WAND. Lil Nas X performed his number one hit Old Town Road, with K-pop band BTS, viral internet sensation Mason Ramsey (better known as Yodeling Boy) and, of course, Billy Ray Cyrus. Billie Eilish did what she does best, performing a simple and chill-inducing rendition of When The Party’s Over with her brother Finneas O’Connell. Demi Lovato performed for the first time since being hospitalized for a drug overdose in 2018, singing her new song Anyone that she wrote four days prior to her overdose.
Big Winners of the Night include Lizzo for Best Pop Solo Performance with Truth Hurts, Dan + Shay for Best Country Duo/Group Performance with Speechless, Tyler, the Creator for Rap Album of the Year with IGOR and of course, the coronation of modern music’s new queen, Billie Eilish.
(Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone).