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Popped Culture: GRAMMY’s recap and discussion

Popped+Culture%3A+GRAMMYs+recap+and+discussion

The 66th annual GRAMMY Awards were hosted Feb. 4 in sunny Los Angeles to celebrate another year of musical success across all genres. With household names like Billy Joel, Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder and even Meryl Streep in attendance, it was a night full of surprises, firsts and unforgettable performances. 

The night kicked off with a sneak peek of what’s to come from Dua Lipa’s soon-to-be-released album, “Training Season,” as well as her recent hit, “Houdini.” The disco-pop queen began her performance in the middle of the floor with an all-male dancer group and traveled to the stage to make way for her climbable, cube-shaped prop structure. As always, Lipa danced the night away. 

After an up-close look into Luke Combs’ upbringing, audiences were caught in suspended awe as four-time-GRAMMY-winner Tracy Chapman made a surprise appearance and joined Luke Combs for an iconic duet of “Fast Cars.” 

It was impossible to take a snooze while SZA, the most nominated artist of the night, took the stage. The New Jersey native had an exciting costume change, a group of sword-wielding dancers on stage and in the isles and even a flaming dumpster as part of her street alley set. Audience members were mesmerized by the spectacles of this performance, including Phoebe Bridgers, who had a dancer jump on her table. 

While the GRAMMYs is a performance-filled celebration of music, it is also a highly competitive night in the music industry. 

SZA left with three trophies out of her nine nominations, a snub given the popularity of her album “SOS.” When it debuted, it remained at No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for 41 weeks, which set the record for the longest time at No. 1 by a woman on that chart.

Phoebe Bridgers had an award sweep early in the night, winning four awards during the pre-show ceremony, three of which were with boygenius. The 29-year-old singer secured the most awards of the night, which is notable considering these are her first GRAMMY wins. 

In her acceptance speech for Song of The Year for “What Was I Made For?” Billie Eilish expressed her disbelief and said, “That’s stupid, you guys … not a chance!” While Song of the Year recognizes the songwriting of a track, Eilish was also crowned winner for Best Song Written for Visual Media for Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie.” Despite Eilish’s shock, the song has had an incredibly successful run, winning a Golden Globe and securing Eilish an Academy Award and Brit Award nomination. 

Taylor Swift, the self-proclaimed “Anti-Hero,” earned her 13th GRAMMY with “Midnights” for Best Pop Vocal Album. In celebration and gratitude of her lucky-numbered award, Swift announced the April 19th release of her 11th studio album titled “The Tortured Poets Department.”

The victories did not end there for Swift and “Midnights,” as the now 14-time-GRAMMY-winner made history as the only artist ever to win Album of the Year four times. 

The 2024 GRAMMYs were no exception for Swift’s declaration that “haters gonna hate” as some viewed Swift’s use of her first speech as a shameless act of self-promotion. Dropping huge announcements in this type of setting is not a new move for the singer-songwriter, who at last year’s MTV’s Video Music Awards announced “Midnights” following her Video of the Year win for “All Too Well: The Short Film.” 

Despite the online critiques, those in attendance on Sunday were exhilarated by her announcement, basking in excitement for Swift’s achievements and in anticipation of what is to come for her. 

As she made her way onstage, Swift brought up producer Jack Antonoff and singer/collaborator Lana Del Rey. It was clear that Rey did not feel comfortable sharing the spotlight with Swift at this moment, and the singer attempted to pull away and shook her head in resistance to Swift grabbing her hand. This added level of awkwardness made viewers more critical of Swift’s lack of interaction with Celine Dion, claiming that Swift was overall out of touch with her surroundings at the moment. 

Speaking of controversy, Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers” dominated over four previous GRAMMY winners for Best Pop Solo Performance. “Flowers” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and secured that position for 8 consecutive weeks. While impressive, it does not compare to the records set by her runner-ups. During her performance, the ex-Disney star and first-time GRAMMY winner distastefully called to the celebrity-filled crowd, “Why [are] you acting like you don’t know this song?” mid-song before she threw down the mic stand. Cyrus’ attitude made for an uncomfortable performance, though viewer discourse online was seemingly positive. 

There were many more notable moments throughout the night. U2 had a virtual performance from The Sphere, which, although abrupt and overt in its advertising motives, was a solid performance. Billy Joel debuted his new song, “Turn the Lights Back On,” and also gave a great performance of his classic “You May Be Right” to close the night out. There was also a collection of in memoriam performances for the lost legends of this year. Stevie Wonder honored Tony Bennett with a duet via voice recording of “For Once in My Life” and Annie Lennox sang Sinéad O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U.” 

The 2024 GRAMMYs was undoubtedly a memorable night made possible by decades of musical legends as well as breakout artists who are keeping the industry alive, and with so much new music already announced in the last few months, the 2025 GRAMMY Awards are sure to be just as iconic. 

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