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Grammys 2023: Six biggest talking points, from Ben Affleck memes to Beyoncé’s record-breaking win

British pop star won over Beyonce’s critically adored album ‘Renaissance’

Roisin O'Connor,Tom Murray
Monday 06 February 2023 05:42 GMT
Kim Petras becomes first trans woman to win Grammy for Best Pop Duo

Harry Styles took home the biggest prize at this year’s Grammy Awards, marking a shock upset on what many expected to be Beyonce’s night.

The British pop singer won for his 2021 record Harry’s House, beating projects by Beyoncé, Adele and Lizzo.

“S***, well s***,” he said, upon accepting the trophy. “I’ve been so, so inspired by every artist in this category with me, and a lot of different times in my life I’ve listened to everyone in this category when I’m alone.

“On nights like tonight, it’s so important to remember there’s no such thing as best. This is so kind, this doesn’t happen to people like me very often and it’s so nice.”

Despite missing out on Album of the Year, which she has still never won, Beyoncé took home her 32nd Grammy Award to become the most decorated artist in the awards show’s history.

Other memorable moments on the night included Quavo’s tribute performance for his nephew and bandmate Takeoff, who was killed last year, Dave Chappelle winning Best Comedy Album for his Netflix comedy special, The Closer, which drew heavy criticism for jokes about the transgender community, and Viola Davis officially achieving EGOT status, becoming only the third Black woman in history to earn the honour.

Below are the biggest talking points of the 65th annual Grammy Awards.

Kim Petras makes history by becoming the first trans woman to win a Grammy award for Best Pop Duo/Group Collaboration

Kim Petras and Sam Smith accepted the award for Best Pop Duo/Group Collaboration for their song “Unholy,” making Petras the first-ever transgender woman to win a Grammy in the category.

Petras and Smith walked onstage together, but Smith stood behind Petras and gave her the mic.

“Sam graciously wanted me to accept this award because I’m the first transgender woman to win this award,” Petras said. “I just want to thank all the incredible transgender legends before me who take these doors open for me so I couldn’t be here tonight,” she said, before referencing the late Grammy-nominated producer Sophie, who died in 2020.

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Petras also thanked Madonna for “fighting for LGBTQ rights” before turning the speech to her mother, who she says supported her throughout her entire journey.

Kim Petras (left) and Sam Smith

The singer ended the speech by turning back to Smith. “This is a huge moment for me, Sam. Thank you. You’re a true angel and hero in my life. And I love you and everyone who made the song too. I love you guys so much. Sorry, I didn’t write down the names!”

Sam Smith fans call out reporter for misgendering singer

Sam Smith’s fans called out a reporter for misgendering the singer while covering the 2023 Grammy Awards red carpet.

Smith, who uses they/them pronouns, arrived at the awards show with Kim Petras when a reporter with the Associated Press said: “Sam Smith has had a lot of controversy around his outfits this past year, I love that he’s continuing to push the mould, love that he’s continuing to break out from the Sam Smith that we knew at the ballads.

“He’s still singing those ballads, but he’s definitely diving fully in, into pop music, and we can see that, not only in his music, but also in his looks as well.”

Smith came out as non-binary and genderqueer in 2019. In an interview, earlier this year, the singer said changing their pronouns “felt like coming home”.

Dave Chappelle won a Grammy award for the Netflix special that sparked transphobia accusations

Dave Chappelle won Best Comedy Album at the 2023 Grammys for his recent Netflix comedy special, The Closer, which drew heavy criticism for jokes about the transgender community.

Critics accused Chappelle of “transphobic” remarks, such as saying he was “team Terf” (trans-exclusionary radical feminist). He was also widely condemned for claiming that the LGBTQ+ community was attempting to “destroy” the lives of celebrities such as JK Rowling by “cancelling” them.

Beyoncé becomes the biggest winner in Grammys history

Beyoncé accepting her record-breaking 32nd Grammy Award

Beyoncé broke the record for the most Grammy Award wins of all time, after collecting her 32nd trophy at this year’s ceremony.

The singer made history as she won the Best Dance/Electronic Album award, for her 2022 album Renaissance. In doing so, she overtook Hungarian-British conductor George Solti, whose record of 31 awards had stood for more than 20 years.

Apart from Best Dance/Electronic Album, the “Break My Soul” singer also won Best Dance/Electronic Recording, Best Traditional R&B Performance, and Best R&B Song awards.

Ben Affleck became the meme of the night

Amid all the revelry was poor old Ben Affleck, who looked dejected next to his wife Jennifer Lopez.

Affleck, who is no stranger to the meme community, was quickly derided for his “miserable” expression on social media.

“Ben Affleck is every guy at his wife’s work party,” one user tweeted, while another wrote: “Ben Affleck at the Grammys is me any time I have to be on a Zoom call.”

Fans got emotional during the In Memoriam section

Emotions were running high during Quavo’s tribute to Takeoff, which was followed by a tribute for Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie.

Quavo sang his song “Without You” with help from Maverick City Music in memory of his Migos bandmate, who died aged 28 in November after being shot.

Meanwhile, Sheryl Crow, Mick Fleetwood, and Bonnie Raitt paid tribute to Fleetwood Mac member Christie McVie with a rendition of “Songbird”.

As always, the in-memoriam segment was a painful reminder of all the incredible artists we lost recently.

Scroll down to see how the night unfolded.


Grammy Awards 2023 - tonight!

Hello, and welcome to The Independent’s liveblog of the 65th Grammy Awards!

Tonight, we’ll be guiding you through a star-studded event as some of music’s biggest names compete for Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Artist of the Year and more.

This year’s Grammys will be broadcast live from the Arena in LA on Sunday 5 February.

If you’re in the US, you can tune into the ceremony on CBS and live or on-demand on Paramount+ at 8pm ET or 5pm PT.

Fans will also be able to stream the showing live from If you’re in the UK and you want to stay up with me and my colleague Maanya, you can tune in via the livestream from 1am!

Roisin O'Connor5 February 2023 13:07

Who is performing at the Grammy Awards?

It’s finally time for the 65th Grammy Awards to bring together the biggest names in music to celebrate their accomplishments.

This year’s ceremony, hosted by comedian Trevor Noah, takes place on Sunday (5 February) at the Arena in Los Angeles and features an incredible lineup of performers.

Already confirmed acts include Harry Styles, Lizzo, Bad Bunny, Mary J Blige, Brandi Carlile, Luke Combs, Steve Lacy and Sam Smith with Kim Petras.

DJ Khaled will also take the stage, potentially with Jay-Z, Variety reports. Their “GOD-DID” collaboration with Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, John Legend and Fridayy is competing in three categories, including Song of the Year.

Additional all-star tributes are expected, with Kacey Musgraves singing “Coal Miner’s Daughter” in honour of the late Loretta Lynn.

See the full breakdown of tonight’s performances here:

Who is performing at the Grammys 2023?

Biggest night in music broadcasts live this Sunday 5 February

Roisin O'Connor5 February 2023 13:30

What’s with all the Sam Smith controversy?

Sam Smith is one of the artists scheduled to perform at tonight’s ceremony.

The British singer recently found themself at the centre of controversy due to their new music video, for single “I’m Not Here to Make Friends”.

For whatever reason, some people decided to get uppity about the fabulous and slightly raunchy carnival Smith puts on. My colleague Louis Chilton wrote a fantastic comment piece explaining exactly why the uproar was so ludicrous. And fingers crossed Smith will be dressed in something outrageous tonight.

Calling Sam Smith’s music video ‘pornographic’ is a toxic double standard

Sam Smith’s latest music video has drawn controversy for the kind of in-your-face, sex- and body-positive sensibility that’s become commonplace in modern music. The criticism surrounding the pop singer’s effort reeks of homophobia, writes Louis Chilton

Roisin O'Connor5 February 2023 13:58

Adele is up for Album of the Year at the Grammys again

British megastar Adele is one of the strongest contenders for the coveted Album of the Year prize at tonight’s ceremony.

The “Hello” singer is nominated for her fourth album, 30, which includes the record-busting single “Easy on Me”.

“No one makes heartbreak as relatable as Adele,” wrote critic Annabel Nugent in her four-star review.

“Ever since she was discovered aged 18 on Myspace in 2006, the Tottenham-born singer has made weepy, diaristic soul music her métier. She gathers pain – hers and ours – and spins it into songs that go diamond or platinum. It’s an alchemy she has honed over 15 years and just three records.

“The songs themselves are good. Grounded in pathos, they tend to be handsomely crafted ballads about love and its various agonies – but it’s her vocals that sell them. Adele possesses that perfectly imperfect voice, gargantuan and frail all at once. It’s epic without resorting to showy, melismatic affectations. It yawns into unexpected shapes and makes intonation fun. But there are many great vocalists out there who don’t attract the same mass adoration. There’s something else about Adele that makes her so endearing, something that preternatural vocal cords alone can’t explain.”

Read the full review here:

Adele, our patron saint of heartbreak, licks her wounds on divorce album 30 – review

Across a more diverse fourth record, the returning singer braids in glimmering moments of self-affirmation amid the typical tirades against herself

Roisin O'Connor5 February 2023 14:28

Shania Twain - read The Independent’s interview with the Queen of Country Pop ahead of her Grammys appearance

In case you didn’t know, I am a huge Shania Twain fan, so I’m very excited that we’ll be seeing her at the Grammys tonight!

Helen Brown interviewed her in September last year around the release of her new Netflix documentary, and ahead of her sixth studio album Queen of Me, which came out this week.

“When asked to explain how she became the best-selling female artist in the history of country music, Shania Twain keeps landing on the same two f-words: fear and fun,” the interview began.

“I’ve had to face my fears so many times in my life,” she says. “Sometimes you can walk right through those fears. Other times you have to back off and wait it out. It’s not always a choice.” She shrugs. “Losing my voice was scary. Losing my husband and collaborator was very scary.” But, through it all, she has remained insistent on a woman’s “prerogative to have a little fun”.

Read the full interview here:

Shania Twain: ‘This is a historically challenging time for women’

The country music superstar is the subject of a Netflix biopic and has just released a new single. She talks to Helen Brown about feminism, divorce, her difficult early life, and embracing her own hit songs again after she had come through heartbreak

Roisin O'Connor5 February 2023 15:00

Beyonce’s Renaissance for Album of the Year?

Fans will be rooting for Queen Bey at tonight’s Grammy Awards, six years after she famously lost out in favour of Adele’s 25.

Anyone remember a tearful Adele declaring that Beyonce deserved the award? Well, if the “Hello” singer triumphs again tonight, you can guarantee all hell will break loose!

Surely, though, Beyonce has a good chance.

“If the cover of Lemonade – Beyoncé head down and hiding from the world behind luxuriant furs – spoke to her broken mindset in the wake of discovering the existence of Becky with the good hair, the title and sleeve of her seventh album, Renaissance, suggests a proud comeback for the empress of self-worth,” our critic Mark Beaumont said in his four-star review.

“Clad only in the zip of an invisible diamond onesie, she sits astride a cosmic crystal horse like Xanadu’s Godiva; audaciously back in the (presumably pre-warmed) saddle. After nine years and two albums of revered art-pop progress, lead single ‘Break My Soul’ declares a fresh desire for airplay too; a brazen house banger (sampling Robin S’s ‘Show Me Love’) that suggests we ‘release ya wiggle’ even as it advocates breaking free from capitalist wage slavery.”

Read the full review:

On Beyoncé’s ‘Renaissance’, politics gives way to post-pandemic pleasure – review

In a catch-all spirit of musical modernism, trap, house, glitchtronica, disco, ragga, South African gqom and future funk are all lobbed into a heady mix, with songs blending into each other and shifting course mid-flow

Roisin O'Connor5 February 2023 15:30

2023 Grammy nominations in full

On Tuesday 15 November 2022, the Recording Academy announced the artists who have been nominated in each category, with Adele and Beyoncé battling it out for the top award, Album of the Year.

Winners will be announced tonight, 5 February 2023, during the ceremony, which will broadcast live from the Arena in Los Angeles.

US audiences can tune in on CBS and stream live and on-demand on Paramount+.

You can see the full list of nominations below... and our predictions for the Grammys 2023 winners here.

Here’s the full list of nominations for the 2023 Grammys

Grammy nominations 2023: See the full list of award nominees

Roisin O'Connor5 February 2023 16:01

Take a peek inside the Grammys gift bags

The 65th Grammy Awards are almost upon us and soon, we will find out which of the biggest names in music will be crowned winners.

This year, former Daily Show star Trevor Noah is set to host the awards ceremony, which will see the likes of Adele and Beyonce battling it out for Album of the Year. Meanwhile, fans are excited to watch artists including Lizzo and Harry Styles perform.

But at the end of the night, no one goes home empty-handed thanks to the extravagant gift bags – or, in this event’s case, gift suitcases – each guest will receive.

Last year, the gift bags’ contents ranged from products such as Coma Toes lounge slippers to floral arrangements from Rose Box NYC, to a special 64th edition of cabernet sauvignon from Frontera Wines and $10,000 worth of plastic surgery treatments.

Los Angeles marketing company Distinctive Assets has returned for its 23rd year of putting together the Grammys gift bag for 2023 and has pulled out all the stops.

Take a look at what’s inside!

What’s inside 2023 Grammys gift bag?

No celeb goes home empty-handed

Roisin O'Connor5 February 2023 16:06

What’s the deal with Grammy Awards presenter James Corden?

James Corden is one of an eclectic list of presenters who’ll be handing out trophies tonight.

He’s definitely what you’d call a Marmite celebrity: loved by some, loathed by others.

Back in 2021, when haters were despairing at his appearance in a Cinderella reboot, Kevin E G Perry took a dive into his appeal in the States.

‘Nobody likes a narcissist’: How did America fall in love with James Corden?

The recent appearance of James Corden in the trailer for ‘Cinderella’ had many on social media groaning in unison. Kevin E G Perry investigates how a former Lesbian Vampire Killer became a fixture of Hollywood musicals

Roisin O'Connor5 February 2023 16:30

The moment Adele broke her Grammy Award for Album of the Year and gave it to Beyonce

An iconic moment at the Grammys in 2017

Grammys 2017: Adele beats Beyonce to album of the year
Roisin O'Connor5 February 2023 17:00

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