Did you hang out with friends, catch up with school work or do anything else except browse cable TV on the night of March 14? If you said yes, chances are you missed this year’s Grammy Awards. Do not fret, because I watched all three hours and 45 minutes of the award show so you don’t have to. Here are the biggest winners and losers of the Grammys that you might have missed.
Winner: Retro Revivals
Between the bold performances and old fashion choices, this year’s Grammys brought blasts from the past. Harry Styles exuded a Mick Jagger-esque swagger with his stripped-down version of “Watermelon Sugar,” complete with soulful background performers and a horns section fit for a ’70s record. Speaking of the ’70s, the live-debut of the Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak duo “Silk Sonic” looked like a performance plucked right out of 1975. Adorned in warm brown hues of leisure suits and sparkling shades, the performance of the group’s debut single “Leave the Door Open” was a ’70s vision. Bonus points for the song’s intro, made by ’70s soul legend Bootsy Collins. Going back even further in time, Megan Thee Stallion performed a mashup of her hits “Body” and “Savage (Remix)” in a set that can be best described as “vaudevillian.” The contrast between the modern anthems and the follies-like set, complete with a big-band accompaniment and a tap dancing duet, all worked together to make a glitzy performance.
Loser: PG-13 WAP
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve surely heard of the raunchy anthem that brought together two of hip hop’s biggest names, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion. The original took the TikToksphere by storm and found itself on every chart-topper playlist and Top 40 radio station for weeks. The original song finds its punch in its shocking explicitness, which is why the primetime-friendly performance of the song was interesting — to say the least. Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion still performed the song with all the power they put into the original, but hearing “WAP” without half of the content from the original song was jarring and confusing.
Winner: Disco Dua
If anyone has inexplicably prospered during the past year, it was Dua Lipa. Her hit single “Don’t Stop Now” got the TikTok community through the beginning stages of the pandemic, and she finally got what she deserved with a big win for her album “Future Nostalgia.” Lipa’s sophomore LP snagged the title of this year’s Best Pop Vocal Album, and her shimmering live performance was a testament to this win. The mashup of her songs “Levitating” featuring DaBaby and “Don’t Stop Now” was a glittery, rose-colored vision from the disco days and a bold reminder that Dua Lipa is a force to be reckoned with.
Loser: In Memoriam of Eddie Van Halen
The annual “In Memoriam” portion of the Grammys is a segment dedicated to honoring music legends who died within the past year. Host Trevor Noah noted that there were 1,000-plus artists considered for the tribute this year, so of course, no amount of screen time can do justice for each artist who passed. However, one of the most notable deaths is that of rock legend Eddie Van Halen of the ’70s band Van Halen. For someone so widely recognized as not just a musical but also a cultural icon, the 20-second snippet of his iconic “Eruption” guitar solo did not bode well with many who regarded this brief tribute as squeezed-in and rushed.
Winner: Trevor Noah and the Five Venues
Host Trevor Noah was tasked with the particularly difficult job of not only hosting the most prestigious award show of the season but also hosting a socially distanced, partially virtual award show between five venues and making the event seem cohesive. With quips and one-liners that didn’t seem forced and his lack of pointless filler bits, Noah succeeded in hosting the awards show and somehow sewing together the physical distance between the attendees and venues, making for an intimate and consistent show. Speaking of the venues, this year’s Grammys strayed from the traditional banquet hall-style theatre packed with show-goers and opted for the regulation safe, multi-venue option. The show was held at five venues across the country: the Hotel Café in Los Angeles, the Troubadour in West Hollywood, The Station Inn in Nashville, and the Apollo Theater in Harlem, with the central location of the award show being in the Los Angeles Convention Center. Each venue featured their own personal flare, socially distanced table layouts, and gave a spotlight to the workers of the independent venues who shared their typically unheard stories of being part of the music industry.
Loser: Say So… Again…
Doja Cat’s biggest hit “Say So” is undeniably catchy, the soundtrack to one of the most viral TikTok dances, and has spent 38 weeks on the charts. The song debuted in 2019 and Doja Cat has since performed it at the MTV Europe Music Awards, the Billboard Music Awards, a number of late night shows, and countless other live performances. It’s 2021. Critics and audience members alike were confused as to why Doja Cat was still performing the song two years later when the performance slot could’ve been given to other, newer artists.
Winner: Billie Eilish Sweep
The last and biggest Grammy to be awarded is Record of the Year, and 19-year-old music virtuoso Billie Eilish won big by receiving this award for her single “Everything I Wanted.” In addition to claiming the biggest award of the night, Eilish was nominated for a grand total of four Grammys and won two, the other being a win with her song “No Time Left to Die” winning Song Written for Visual Media. The cooler-than-you LA teen has been surprising the world with her hauntingly catchy and memorable tunes since 2016 and has been taking the world by storm since. This win is a long time coming and an indicator that this young star has more surprises and talents up her sleeve as she grows as an artist.