The 2021 Grammys: A Socially distanced soiree

Nominees, winners and some of the best moments

The 63rd Grammy Awards were hosted this year from downtown Los Angeles by Trevor Noah of “The Daily Show” in accordance with what appeared to be social distancing standards. The COVID-19 pandemic did not put a damper on music’s biggest night as viewers got a chance to see the likes of Harry Styles, Dua Lipa, and Lionel Ritchie, among others.

Noah, as expected, was in fine form as he introduced the ceremony with a comedic monologue, acknowledging the realities of the pandemic. But it wouldn’t be a true Trevor Noah experience without him taking a playful swipe at a few celebrities recently making headlines as well as other current events.

“We’re still broadcasting from the heart of downtown Los Angeles. This is not a Zoom background, all right?” a grinning Noah said, “This is real. My uncle isn’t going to walk behind me naked even though I told him I was having an important meeting.”

Noah also took a jab at the recent royal drama engulfing Prince Harry and Megan Markle. Noah said, “There’s more tension in that tent than at a family reunion at Buckingham Palace.”

To kick things off, the first performances of the night were megastar Billie Eilish and the one and only Harry Styles. They both wowed audiences from the confines of a socially distanced Los Angeles Convention Center.

Styles took to the stage first wearing an all-black Gucci leather suit, complete with a feather boa, to perform “Watermelon Sugar,” a single from his “Fine Line” album. Eilish was up next and did not disappoint with “Everything I Wanted.” The songstress performed standing on a car that appeared to be partially sunken into the stage. I don’t know about you, but she’s giving some serious Gaga vibes as far as style and creativity are concerned.

As if the evening wasn’t already twinkling with popular music’s brightest stars, rapper Megan Thee Stallion received her first Grammy and was the first to be presented for the evening. Thee Stallion’s brief acceptance speech and her saying “I don’t want to cry,” along with being presented the award by Queen Beyoncé herself, was a whole mood.

Thee Stallion also won best rap performance in a show that wasn’t aired live. Around halfway through the show she performed the infamous “WAP” along with her song mate Cardi B. Thee Stallion is now officially the fifth rapper to have won the title of best new artist and only the second female to do so. Back in 1999, Lauren Hill was the first female to take that title.

Country music’s little darling has grown up in the form of Taylor Swift, who performed a medley featuring hits from her albums “Folklore” and “Evermore.” Swift had six nominations for various hits, including her written soundtrack for the musical “Cats.” Her set was majestic in true Swift fashion, complete with grassy hillsides and towering trees, taking the viewers into a world of fairytale things and magical realism.

Aside from the performances, viewers got to see many more of their favorite artists, like Da Baby with his baby, as his daughter appeared on the red carpet with him.

Speaking of daughters, little Blue Ivy won one of the coveted golden gramophones, being the youngest person to ever do so. She nabbed the award for best music video for the song “Brown Skin Girl,” a song touting black, female empowerment.

The Beyhive was abuzz as the Queen Beyoncé herself broke a Grammy record, winning the award for the 28th time, becoming the most celebrated and honored female musician in the history of the awards ceremony. She won best R&B performance for “Black Parade,” another song peppered with lyrics about black activism. The song was critically acclaimed when it was released during Juneteenth in 2020.

Many more artistes graced the stage in both performances and award acceptances. Heavy hitter, H.E.R, won song of the year for “I Can’t Breathe,” inspired by the recent upsurge of African American deaths at the hands of law enforcement. She talked about her fear and pain in relation to the death of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Eilish had another moment on stage when she dedicated her “record of the year” award to Thee Stallion saying, “You are a queen. I want to cry thinking about how much I love you.” She then encouraged the audience to give it up for Thee Stallion who seemed beside herself with gratitude.

The evening wasn’t all laughter and happiness, however. There was an “In Memoriam” section dedicated to musicians and others involved in the industry who were lost during the pandemic. Lionel Richie saluted country music’s finest Kenny Rogers who died last March at the age of 81. The duo Silk Sonic made up of Anderson Paak and Bruno Mars also paid tribute to the late Little Richard, while Brandi Carlile did the same for John Prine.

As always, this year’s Grammys featured some of the greatest musical artists of our time, the most unique fashion choices, and some of the most memorable performances. All this was done while respecting proper social distancing standards.