The hip-hop tributes took a somber turn when Quavo took the stage during the in memory segment to honor his late collaborator and family member Takeoff. Performing his 2023 track “Without You,” the Migos MC was accompanied by an Atlanta gospel choir called Maverick City Music, who incorporated the tender hook of Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again” into the song. Clad in a black Phantom of the Opera-style half mask, there was a palpable solemnity to Quavo’s performance.
Kim Petras gave one of the night’s most moving speeches.
When Sam Smith and Kim Petras took home Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Smith ceded the spotlight to Petras, who spoke about her journey to one of music’s biggest honors as a transwoman.
“I just want to thank all the incredible transgender legends before me who kicked these doors open for me so I could be here tonight,” Petras said.
As CNN noted, Petras is not the first trans musician to take home a Grammy, but the massive success of her and Smith’s “Unholy,” which peaked at no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, makes her perhaps the most visible. In her speech, she made a point of honoring the late producer and DJ Sophie, a Grammy nominee herself in 2019, as well as Madonna for her LGBTQ+ advocacy.
Petras, who grew up in Cologne, Germany, medically transitioned when she was 16 years old, a story that became national news. In her acceptance speech, she made a point of praising her mom for her support, saying, “I grew up next to a highway in nowhere, Germany and my mother believed me that I was a girl and I wouldn’t be here without her .”
Steve Lacy (and Thundercat) brought the house down with “Bad Habits.”
The rise of Steve Lacy’s “Bad Habit” from cult hit to Tik Tok-fueled-chart topper is one of the most remarkable stories in recent pop music history, and the song absolutely deserved a Grammy showcase. Lacy, accompanied by fellow Los Angeles musical maverick Thundercat, delivered one of the most rousing performances of the show, aided by a stellar black leather Saint Laurent fit and his trademark wraparound sunglasses. (“Bad Habit” was clearly a hit with the A-listers in attendance, as Beyoncé, Doja Catand Taylor Swift were all spotted vibing in their seats.)
Though Lacy isn’t a stranger to the Grammys—he was nominated in 2016 for his work with The Internet and in 2020 for his solo—this certainly felt like a watershed moment thanks to his ace performance. and nodes for both Record and Song of the Year. Lacy ultimately went home with one award from his five nominations, earning Best Progressive R&B Album for Gemini rights.
A split in the Big Four kept the show surprising until the very end.
Like any awards show, earlier wins are often a signpost for how the rest of the night is going to shake out—think about the oft-discussed connection between Best Director and Best Picture at the Oscars—but the Grammys kept things spicy with the major awards going to four very different musicians. First, Bonnie Raitt took home Song of the Year for “Just Like That,” a track inspired by a woman donating her late child’s heart to a person in need. Lizzo took home Record of the Year for “About Damn Time,” delivering a charming speech where she honored fellow Minnesotan Prince and spoke about the joy and body positivity she’s worked to bring to pop culture. 23-year-old jazz standout Samara Joy earned Best New Artist, setting up a truly wild finish between the 10 nominees for Album of the Year, which ultimately went to Harry Styles’ Harry’s House.
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