61st Grammys: Celebrating another big year for music: With performances from the likes of Dolly Parton and Diana Ross, the Grammys delivered this year

By Erin Caine and Amanda Gabriel

Lifestyle Editor, Senior Writer

This past Sunday was certainly a night to remember.

The 61st installment of the Annual Grammy Awards was eclectic and electric, full of memorable performances from the world’s favorite artists.

Hosting the ceremony was accomplished R&B vocalist Alicia Keys, who herself has won a formidable 15 Grammys over the course of her career.

Keys performed on stage along with other buzzworthy artists, from established icons Dolly Parton and Diana Ross to more recent trendsetters Post Malone and Cardi B.

Parton’s performance was on the heels of her receiving the MusiCares Lifetime Achievement Award for her many years of extensive philanthropy work.

Something the Grammys reportedly did a bit differently this year was expand the four major categories (Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist) from five to eight nominees, which they hope will “acknowledge a broader range of artists and genres.”

The Recording Academy also claims to have made greater efforts this year to diversify its panel of voters, reaching out to women and people of color specifically.

For the category of Best New Artist, the likes of H.E.R., Greta Van Fleet, Jorja Smith, and Luke Combs were all up against one another.

Despite expectations for Smith or the band Greta Van Fleet to snag it, it was Dua Lipa who claimed the win.

During her acceptance speech, she made a reference to the infamous comment of former Recording Academy president Neil Portnow, in which he said that female artists needed to “step up” in order to get recognized by the Academy.

“So many women,” Lipa remarked. “I guess we stepped up.”

Childish Gambino’s wildly talked-about “This is America” took home the prize both for the coveted “Record of the Year” and for “Song of the Year.” Gambino, however (like several other nominated artists) was markedly absent from the ceremony.

The performances throughout the night had some show-stopping moments.

Album of the Year nominee Janelle Monáe dazzled with the spectacle of her android aesthetic and killer dance moves.

Speaking to Variety about her nominations and the industry’s paucity of representation, Monáe said, “The fact that ‘Dirty Computer,’ an album that is about me and also about a community of marginalized voices, […] got nominated? That means the world to me.”

Later that night, Keys, wedged between two grand pianos, ran through a mash-up of songs from a range of genres.

Few other artists could make the flawless transition from Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody” to Ella Mai’s “Boo’d Up” to Drake’s “In My Feelings.” She ended the medley with one of her own well-known songs, “New York State of Mind.”

Many point to the performance as a tribute to the 1930s jazz icon and champion of civil rights Hazel Scott, who often performed playing two pianos simultaneously.

Though the evening was a bit marred by some absent faces, it was certainly a thrill to watch.

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