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66 years of the Grammys: 94 awards and a televised ceremony

This past Sunday, Feb. 4, musicians gathered for a night of close-up reaction shots, live performances, awkwardly forced dancing, jokes delivered by the 2024 Grammy host Trevor Noah, and, of course, awards. 

As Jay-Z mentioned in his televised acceptance speech for the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, music is inherently subjective and opinion-based, and The Recording Academy does not always get it “right.” He used examples of albums like DMX’s two 1998 albums, both ranked No. 1, but neither nominated for Best Album Grammy, let alone awarded one, to prove his point. 

The Grammy’s is a night of recognition for musicians, but as Jay-Z said to the crowd, “Some of you are gonna go home tonight and feel like you’ve been robbed, some of you may get robbed, and some of you don’t belong in your category.” 

On Sunday night, 94 awards were won in fields ranging from “Children’s, Comedy, Audio Books, Visual Media and Music Video/Film” to “Latin, Global, Reggae and  New Age, Ambient, or Chant,” “Gospel & Contemporary Christian Music,” “Jazz, Traditional Pop, Contemporary Instrumental & Musical Theater” and more. Only 10 of the 94 awards were televised, along with 21 live performances. 

Untelevised, but applicable to University of Maine students, Miguel Zenón and Luis Perdomo won Best Latin Jazz Album for “El Arte Del Bolero Vol. 2.” Both Zenón and Perdomo, on tenor saxophone and piano, respectively, will perform in UMaine’s very own Minsky Hall on April 19, 2024.

On that very same day, UMaine’s Swifties will be elated — Taylor Swift used her acceptance speech for the Best Pop Vocal Album “Midnights” to announce her new album, “The Tortured Poets Department”, for release on April 19, 2024. 

The Grammy’s live ceremony opened with Dua Lipa performing a medley composed of her new song, “Training Season,” “Dance the Night Away” and “Houdini.”

Sitting on the red-lit stage, a box of scaffolding was the centerpiece of Lipa’s performance as she walked, danced and crawled around her backup dancers, who were intricately climbing the metal structure. At one point, Lipa held onto the metal box while her crew of backup dancers lifted it up in the air, walking her around in a circle. 

Lipa was nominated for Song of the Year and Best Song Written for Visual Media, which both ended up going to Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell for their “Barbie” hit, “What Was I Made For.” The Eilish siblings performed the Grammy-winning song in a minimalistic style later that evening, highlighting their powerful range and talent. 

Another notable performance included Luke Combs, who was nominated for Best Country Solo Performance for his cover of Tracey Chapman’s “Fast Car.” However, this time, he was not alone. In the performance’s introduction video, Combs reminisced on listening to Chapman’s “Fast Car” as a child, shared his admiration for her and relished in the song’s iconic guitar intro. 

Afterward, the camera panned onto the Grammy stage to reveal the one and only Tracey Chapman. Almost 35 years after she first sang “Fast Car” on the Grammy Stage, Chapman’s voice transcended the crowd as she played the guitar with Combs at her side. 

The duet performance shocked Chapman’s fans, for she’s remained off-stage, maintaining a low profile for the past 15 years. 

“Fast Car” was not the only nostalgic performance of the night. Joni Mitchell, who won Best Folk Album for her album “Joni Mitchell at Newport (Live)” sang “Both Sides Now” accompanied by Brandi Carlile, Allison Russel, Bake Mills, Lucius and Jacob Collier. 

U2 even performed live from The Sphere in Las Vegas, which was unexpected but not surprising. Other performances by Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Burna Boy, Laufey, SZA, Jon Batiste, Olivia Rodrigo, Miley Cyrus, Annie Lennox and others throughout the night created a unique blend for the audience. 

To check out all of the 94 awards, nominees and winners, head over the The Grammy’s website:

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