The 62nd annual Grammy Awards took place on Sunday, Jan. 26, at the Staples Center — the same day of legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant’s death.
Throughout the night, many artists paid tribute to Bryant, including the host, Alicia Keys. “We’re all feeling crazy sadness right now because earlier today Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero,” Keys said. “And we’re literally standing here, heartbroken, in the house that Kobe Bryant built. Right now, Kobe and his daughter Gianna and all those who have been tragically lost today are in our spirits our hearts, our prayers. They’re in this building … We never imagined in a million years we’d have to start the show like this.”
Keys, with her down to earth personality, soothed the audience and made the stadium feel like a safe home. “Tonight we must unite in spite of all the news we are seeing,” Keys sang during the opening of the Grammys. She performed “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” with Boyz II Men, as the camera zoomed on a close up of Bryant’s Lakers jerseys hanging in the rafters.
His iconic golden and purple Lakers jerseys — 8 and 24 — shimmered over “the house that Kobe Bryant built,” as it was labeled by Keys. Aerosmith, alongside Lil Nas X, paid homage to Byrant by making his jerseys a focal point of their performance.
The biggest night in music was packed with incredible performances from 2019’s most listened to artists and the 2020 nominees.
One of the most memorable performances of the night was by Demi Lovato who returned to the stage after a year of rehab. Lovato sang “Anyone,” a song with personal lyrics asking for someone to listen and help her. Overcome by emotion, she restarted her song as a single tear ran down her cheek. According to her interview with Zane Lowe from Beats 1, she mentioned writing the song the day after she was hospitalized in 2018 due to a drug overdose. Lovato was met with a standing ovation at the end of her performance.
The rest of the night hosted performances by Lil Nas X, BTS, Billy Ray Cyrus, Ariana Grande, Camila Cabello, the Jonas Brothers, Lizzo and many more.
Artist Billie Eilish was the shining star of the night, sweeping up awards in five categories. Eilish received Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, Song of the Year and Best New Artist.
While receiving the award for Album of the Year along with her brother, songwriter Finneas O’Connell, Eilish said, “Can I just say that I think Ariana deserves this. ‘thank u, next’ got me through some s … ,” and was immediately censored. Grande responded by saying “no no” from the crowd.
Eilish and O’Connell explained that they had not prepared a speech because they weren’t expecting the award. The pair said “Thank you” right before their time was up.
Grande fans were upset that she went home empty-handed. “I’m still a little suspicious about the singers who won. I mean Ariana should’ve gotten at least one reward. Her songs were on Billboard Hot 100 Songs for weeks,” said 13-year-old Grande fan, Betül Büyükbayraktar.
CEO Deborah Dugan accused the Grammys of being rigged after the Recording Academy announced that she had been put on administrative leave for misconduct. These allegations only fueled fans’ suspicions.
Academy Chief Awards Officer, Bill Freimuth, fired back and denied the claims in a statement sent to Variety magazine saying that the allegation is “false, misleading and wrong. This process is strictly enforced with everyone involved and has no exceptions.”
The night came to an end with Keys’ last words, “Thank you so much for speaking our language to all the amazing artists in here tonight all night long. We got a lot to change, we got a lot to do. Keep speaking the truth. Peace and love. We love you so much. God bless Kobe’s family. We love you.”