The 61st Annual Grammy Awards: A Monumental Night In Music

Breanna Ebisch, Staff Writer

The biggest night in music returned to Los Angeles on Feb. 11 to honor the best artists in the music industry. The highly anticipated 61st Annual Grammy Awards were hosted by 15-time Grammy winner, Alicia Keys, and certainly did not disappoint.

With a star studded lineup of performances, heartfelt tributes and surprise wins, the night was filled with amazing moments from start to finish, wowing the audience several times over.

For the first time ever, the categories were dominated by mostly females and numerous artists received their very first nominations such as Canadian singer/songwriter Shawn Mendes, pop singer Camila Cabello, country duo Dan + Shay and chart-topping artist Ariana Grande, among many others.

Kacey Musgraves came away as one of the night’s biggest winners, taking home a total of four Grammys; Best Country Song for “Space Cowboy”, Best Country Performance for “Butterflies”, Best Country Album and Album Of The Year for “Golden Hour”.

The same award hasn’t been won by the same artist since Taylor Swift in 2010. Childish Gambino, another big winner, also took home four awards for “This Is America” which won Song Of The Year, Record Of The Year, Best Music Video and Best Rap/Sung Performance.

Opening the show with a performance inspired by her grandmother’s childhood, Camila Cabello took the stage to perform her hit single “Havana”, as the first Latina to open the Grammys, with other well known stars Ricky Martin, Young Thug and J. Balvin.

Colorful, lively, and packed with amazing vocals, it was the perfect start to the night. Alicia Keys followed with a monologue that preached about the inspiring connection of music and empowerment of women, bringing her soul sisters Lady Gaga, Former First Lady Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lopez and Jada Pinkett Smith on stage.

Speaking of positivity, the power of music and spreading love, Keys was the perfect host for the show and filled the stage with many other stars throughout the night, including John Mayer to tell the heart warming story of friendship about the 2004 Song Of The Year win.

The Grammys were very performance heavy this year with a total of 18 performances and only nine awards being presented during the three and a half hour air time. With a wide range of diverse performances lined up for the night, there were multiple moments that were incredible and others that were not as impressive.

Making his Grammy performance debut, Shawn Mendes performed his vulnerable single “In My Blood” with a beautiful arrangement of strings and was joined by Miley Cyrus, arguably making it one of the most stunning performances of the night.

Kacey Musgraves did a gorgeous rendition of her song “Rainbow” that captivated the audience with her fantastic vocals, lyrics and stage presence. Alicia Keys performed a medley of songs she wished she wrote from Kings Of Leon’s “Use Somebody” to Drake’s “In My Feelings” and her own “Empire State Of Mind” while playing not one, but two pianos simultaneously which amazed the world.

Janelle Monáe added even more feminine power to the night with her leading single “Make Me Feel” which channeled aspects from Janet Jackson and Prince all while creating an eye catching performance.

Some of the performances that drew a lot of questions included the confusing pairing of Post Malone and the Red Hot Chili Peppers which showcased a mix of various hit songs between the two well known artists but the combination certainly did not work very well.

A Motown tribute was led by Jennifer Lopez and disappointed many. What was meant to be a heartfelt appreciation for the soulful music was simply ineffective and missed what could have potentially been a great performance.

Cardi B also took the stage and performed her new single “Money” which was interesting but almost incomparable to the other performances of the night.

The night also contained multiple tributes to honor specific artists and genres of music. Dolly Parton was the 2019 Musicares Person of the Year and appeared in her own tribute on stage which featured powerful vocals from Miley Cyrus, Little Big Town, Maren Morris, Katy Perry, and Kacey Musgraves.

Diana Ross made an appearance for her upcoming 75th birthday and held the audience’s attention with her performance. A peaceful but powerful tribute was dedicated to the incredible Aretha Franklin who changed music as we know it today and passed away last year.

Recapping the year in music is always a classic touch to the award show and the Grammys did a generally good job with the various tributes that were sprinkled throughout the night.

Despite the general success of the Grammys this year, there was still quite an abundance of backlash and criticism throughout the night. For the first time, Best Rap Album was won by a female artist as Cardi B took home the award but as soon as the announcement was made, the Internet exploded in disbelief.

Mac Miller, who unexpectedly passed away last year, earned his very first Grammy nomination for that award with his album “Swimming”. The Academy had made it seem that the rapper was guaranteed the win, even flying his parents out to the show just to have the award go to another artist.

Katy Perry received backlash for her performance with Dolly Parton as most people noticed she was trying to upstage the country star and elbowing Kacey Musgraves out with her try hard attempt to own the moment.

Two of the most inspiring and truthful acceptance speeches were given by Drake and Dua Lipa who both got cut off mid speech as the show was sent to commercial which caught the eye of many. Every award show comes with criticisms and it was certainly evident through various parts of the Grammys this year.

Overall, between the perfect host, stunning performances, surprising wins and historic moments in the music industry, the 61st Annual Grammy Awards were definitely a show to watch and one to remember in years to come.