Ahead of the 2020 Grammys, the ceremony threatened to be overshadowed by the Recording Academy’s internal drama. That didn’t spill over into the night in the end, but the awards show did bring up some other talking points over the course of the evening.
The music world remembered Kobe Bryant and Nipsey Hussle
200126 – #GRAMMYAwards2020 Highlights
Tribute to a great man: Nipsey Hussle
— K☆FAM Media (@KFAMMediaLLC) January 27, 2020
Just before the premiere ceremony began, shocking news broke – Kobe Bryant had died in a helicopter crash. With the Grammys taking place in the Staples Center – the home of Bryant’s LA Lakers – his death was always going to loom large over the event. The night was filled with heartfelt tributes to the basketball legend, from Lizzo’s shoutout to Alicia Keys’ impromptu Boyz II Men collaboration, a moment’s silence at the start of everything to his name appearing in dozens of acceptance speeches.
Bryant wasn’t the only one remembered at the awards though. Last year, the world lost Nipsey Hussle and, on the night the rapper was given his first Grammys, the music community came together to celebrate his life and career. John Legend, Meek Mill, DJ Khaled and more collaborated on a special performance, while Hussle’s family were shown love and support as they collected his awards on his behalf. Overall, it was a fairly sombre night but one that recognised the achievements of two stars lost too soon.
Dua Lipa’s calls to hire more women were on point
— Mike Adam (@MikeAdamOnAir) January 27, 2020
Last year, Dua Lipa provided one of the most satisfying moments of the night when she shaded then-Grammys boss Neil Portnow in her acceptance speech for Best New Artist, referencing his comments in 2018 that women needed to “step up”. She returned to the Grammys stage to welcome 2020’s Best New Artist into the hall of fame, but before she did so, she had another message to share – hire more women.
“There are so many stellar female producers, artists, songwriters, engineers,” she said. “If you’re in the business and you’re hiring, raise your sights to the amazing, talented women because we all deserve a seat at every table.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.
But the tribute to Prince definitely wasn’t
— JPLovesIt (@JPLOVESIT) January 27, 2020
At most awards ceremonies, there’s usually at least one dud performance and, unfortunately, the one that didn’t quite work out at this year’s Grammys was a tribute to Prince. FKA Twigs pole dancing to ‘When Doves Cry’ might be something you didn’t know you need until now but it would have been nice to hear her sing too – she says she wasn’t asked, Sheila E says she was. Usher, meanwhile, tried his best to nail the vocals on that song, ‘Little Red Corvette’ and ‘Kiss’, but he was missing that something that would have made it magic. Instead, it was just average and a little messy in places – not exactly a fitting tribute to a unique artist.
Billie Eilish proved she’s a once-in-a-generation talent
ariana and billie’s friendship is so pure. it feel so weird yet so happy that some artist like billie eilish acknowledge that there is still an artist who really deserves the award. #GRAMMYs pic.twitter.com/0kiMPfdY8i
— Francis Mondragon⁷ (@francisyuuuh) January 27, 2020
It’s extremely rare that an artist wins all four of the General Field awards (Best New Artist, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Record Of The Year) at the Grammys, either in the same year or over their whole career. Only two people had done it before tonight – singer-songwriter collected all four in 1981 while Adele won Best New Artist in 2009 and followed it up with the other three in 2012 and 2017. Now we can add Billie Eilish to those elite ranks after she took home the whole lot tonight. Not only that, but she did so after putting in a stunning performance of ‘When The Party’s Over’ and staying incredibly humble in all of her acceptance speeches.