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The 6 biggest talking points from the 2024 Grammy Awards

Everything you need to know about the biggest night in music

Roisin O'Connor,Tom Murray
Monday 05 February 2024 07:40 GMT
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Joni Mitchell has Grammys audience in tears with first ever performance at awards

This year’s Grammys truly had everything. There was plenty of glitz and glamour, thanks to the stars – including Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, SZA, Billie Eilish, Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa – who flocked onto the red carpet outside the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.

There were plenty of jokes and good humour, courtesy of comedian Trevor Noah who returned to MC the ceremony for the fourth consecutive year. It was also, arguably, one of the most uplifting Grammy Awards in recent memory, as some of the most talented female artists around finally got their flowers.

Here are the biggest moments from a spectacular ceremony:

Victoria Monét wins Best New Artist at the 2024 Grammys (Getty Images)

Year of the Women

It was a term that came up multiple times throughout the evening, harking back to the first “Year of the Women” in 1998, when artists including Lauryn Hill and Celine Dion were celebrated at a rare Grammys where women dominated.

This year, seven out of eight nominees for the Album of the Year award were women. They also ruled over other major categories including Song of the Year and Record of the Year. SZA won her first ever Grammy – and across the evening, viewers were treated to performances from her, Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, Fantasia Barrino and Tracy Chapman. The majority of the presenters handing out awards were women, too.

Noah asserted himself as an ally when he defended Taylor Swift from criticism over the NFL’s obsession with the singer’s support for boyfriend Travis Kelce, and – even as he accepted a Global Impact Award – Jay Z took the opportunity to call out the Grammys for failing to award his wife and fellow artist, Beyoncé, the Album of the Year prize. With their daughter, Blue Ivy, joining him on stage, he questioned how someone (Beyoncé) could be the most-decorated artist in the history of the awards show, while never winning its biggest prize.

Taylor Swift announces new album live at Grammys

A new Taylor Swift album!

That’s right, a brand new Taylor Swift album is on the way. As she collected her 13th Grammy Award, for Best Pop Vocal Performance, the US artist announced that her next project, The Tortured Poets Department, will be released on 19 April. “Okay this is my 13th Grammy. Which is my lucky number... if I’ve ever told you that,” she joked.

“I know that the way the Recording Academy voted is a direct reflection of the passion from the fans. So I want to say thank you to the fans by telling you a secret that I have been keeping from you for the last two years… Which is that my brand new album comes out April 19, it’s called The Tortured Poets Department, I’m going to go and post the cover right now backstage, thank you. I love you.”

Meryl Streep and Trevor Noah (Getty Images)

The best Meryl Streep cameo

Fans of the Oscar-winning Hollywood star were clearly perplexed by her presence at a music awards ceremony, until they realised that her daughter, Grace Gummer, is married to British producer Mark Ronson. But the big surprise arrived when Streep walked onstage, holding her son-in-law’s hand, to help him present the award for Record of the Year. We were treated to some classic Meryl humour, too, when she ribbed Ronson for failing to win an Album of the Year award.

Dua Lipa performing at the Grammys (Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Big performances

Dua Lipa kicked things off with a leather-bound, breathless rendition of her hit song, “Houdini”. A perfect foil, Billie Eilish then gave a crowd-silencing performance of “What Was I Made For?”, dressed as the 1965 Poodle Parade Barbie. Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus struggled to get the crowd back on their feet for her break-up anthem, “Flowers”, asking mid-performance: “Why are y’all acting like you don’t know this song?”

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The in memoriam segment was the best in years, featuring standout performances from Stevie Wonder, Annie Lennox, Fantasia Barrino, and Jon Batiste. Wonder kicked off the tribute to Tony Bennett with a mash-up performance of “For Once In My Life” and “The Best Is Yet To Come.” Sinead O’Connor was honoured by Lennox who ended her performance of “Nothing Compares 2 U” by calling for ceasefire in Gaza. Barrino honoured Tina Turner with a sparkling performance of “Proud Mary”, dragging Dua Lipa up for a quick boogie.

In a show that was all about female artists, the best performance of the night could only go to one woman, though: Joni Mitchell. It’s quite hard to put into words the effect that the octogenarian’s performance of “Both Sides, Now” had on the Grammys. Her voice - still pitch perfect all these decades and one brain aneurysm later - brought the entire room to their knees.

Trevor Noah with Joni Mitchell (AFP via Getty Images)

Trevor Noah delivers a masterclass as four-time Grammy host

Are you watching, Jo Koy? Grammys host Trevor Noah showed exactly how to tailor jokes about your celebrity clientele without upsetting them. Going straight for Taylor Swift, Noah used the opportunity to make a dig about the NFL rather than her, and in doing so, delighted the “Anti-Hero” singer.

Instead of celebs, it was tech companies who found themselves on the spiky end of Noah’s barbs. “Shame on you, TikTok, for ripping off artists. That’s Spotify’s job”!” he quipped, referencing the licensing agreement between UMG and TikTok, which expired after the music group accused the social media company of bullying them into a deal worth less than their previous agreement.

In one revealing moment, Noah was clearly arranging a bit between himself, Ziggy Marley and Kingsley Ben-Adir (who plays Ziggy’s father Bob in One Love). Realising the cameras were on him, Noah quickly cut to the gag he’d just ad-libbed with the pair and delivered it with aplomb. After Koy’s disastrous turn at the Golden Globes, Noah shows why a safe pair of hands is worth its weight in gold come awards season.

Killer Mike with his three Grammys (AP)

Killer Mike’s night ends early

Three Grammys and one pair of handcuffs. Killer Mike was seen being escorted out of the Crypto.com arena by police, just hours after winning three prizes. The Atlanta-born rapper, real name Michael Render, won Best Rap Album award for Michael and both Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song for his track “Scientists & Engineers”.

No official explanation has yet been given as to why Render was detained, but fans could be heard yelling “free Mike” as he was led away. It doesn’t seem like Render is too bothered, at least. He later tweeted about his triumphs without reference to the incident, writing on X/Twitter: “Thank God.” and “DREAMS COME TRUE – IT’S A SWEEP!”

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