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Grammys shine in rose gold as women take center stage at 66th annual award show

Presenter Mariah Carey stands to the left of Miley Cyrus as Cyrus accepts the Best Pop Solo Performance award for “Flowers.” Tonight’s 66th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony included the historic first performance by a Nigerian musician, Burna Boy. (Courtesy of Getty Images for the Recording Academy)

By Leydi Cris Cobo Cordon

Feb. 4, 2024 10:21 p.m.

This post was updated Feb. 6 at 8:15 p.m.

Painted in rose gold, the Grammys were a night for the vibrance of women. 

Dangling from a cube and in a sultry mesh ensemble, Dua Lipa ushered in the 66th annual Grammy Awards ceremony with a reflective disco-pop mashup including “Training Season,” “Houdini” and “Dance the Night.” Quipping that the economy surrounding Taylor Swift’s tables has blossomed, Trevor Noah warmed up the crowd with feel-good comedy, while also highlighting notable achievements in terms of diversity, including the majority of female nominees for the Album Of The Year category. 

Trilling that all nominees for the category are women, Mariah Carey presented Miley Cyrus with the Best Pop Solo Performance award for “Flowers.” After Luke Combs’ duet of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car,” Karol G won her first Grammy Award, Best Música Urbana Album, for “Mañana Será Bonito.” Also winning her first Grammy, Lainey Wilson won Best Country Album for “Bell Bottom Country.” SZA then set the stage aflame for the second performance of the night with “Snooze” and a gritty rendition of “Kill Bill,” accentuated with sword-fighting.  

Afterward, Billie Eilish serenaded the Crypto.com Arena with an airy, orchestral rendition of “What Was I Made For?” Performing “Flowers” live on television for the first time, Cyrus relished the milestone with a fierce stage presence and her infamous adlibs. Threatening to have Kelly Clarkson cover artists’ songs, Trevor Noah issued a courtesy reminder ahead of the next set of acceptance speeches. Taking home the Best R&B Song award, SZA returned to the stage to thank those around her. 

Surrounded by projections of wilting red flowers, Olivia Rodrigo presented a blood-soaked staging of her gut-wrenching ballad, “vampire.” Making its television camera debut, the Las Vegas Sphere displayed footage of its residents, U2, before the Irish rock band introduced the Best Pop Vocal Album nominees. Moments before announcing her new album, Taylor Swift took home her 13th Grammy award for “Midnights.”

“I want to say thank you to the members of the Recording Academy for voting this way, but I know that the way that the Recording Academy voted is a direct reflection of the passion of the fans,” Swift said. “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.’” 

Stevie Wonder opened the In Memoriam segment with a duet with an old recording of the late Tony Bennett before handing off the stage to Annie Lennox who ended her cover of Sinéad O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” by calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. Subsequently, Lenny Kravitz delivered special remarks on Clarence Avant, the Godfather of Black Entertainment, before introducing pianist Jon Batiste.

“Clarence Avant was a trusted mentor and believer in the likes of Quincy Jones and Bill Withers, to name just a few whose lives he changed forever,” Kravitz said. “As a musical family, we mourn the loss of our godfather and celebrate the inspiring life he shared with his wife, Jacqueline.”

Calling Tina Turner a symbol of grit, Oprah Winfrey ushered in Fantasia Barrino for a spirited and gilded performance of “Proud Mary” in Turner’s honor. With a feverish tempo and audience interactions, Barrino and the dancers made their way to the central podium of the venue to conclude the segment. 

Upon receiving the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, Jay-Z questioned the recognition of the Recording Academy as a metric of success moments before the next category. Crowned the winners of Song of the Year, the Eilish siblings accepted the award for “What Was I Made For?” and thanked “Barbie” writer and director Greta Gerwig.

Sitting on ornate pearl-colored chairs and surrounded by golden chandeliers, Joni Mitchell was joined by various artists as they swept in a wave of orchestral serenity. Next, Travis Scott electrified the attendees with a haze-filled performance including “MY EYES,” “I KNOW?” and “FE!N.” Calling tonight’s ceremony a global event, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. introduced the first Grammys performance by a Nigerian artist, Burna Boy. 

Marking the Afrobeat genre’s Grammys debut, Burna Boy was joined by Brandy and 21 Savage for the lively and vibrant tracks “On Form,” “Sittin’ On Top Of The World” and “City Boys.” Rattling off a series of extra awards, Trevor Noah acknowledged Virginian Annie Ray, the recipient of the Music Educator Award, K’naan, Steve McEwan and Gerald Eaton’s “Refugee” as the Best Song for Social Change as well as 2024 MusiCares Person Of The Year, Jon Bon Jovi. Shortly after, Victoria Monét took the stage to accept the Best New Artist award.

“I’d like to liken myself to a plant,” Monét said. “You can look at the music industry as soil, and it can be looked at as dirty or as a source of nutrients and water. My roots have been growing underneath ground unseen for so long, and I feel like today I’m sprouting, finally above ground. So, I’d like to thank my team of visionaries who could see through that soil.” 

Afterward, Mark Ronson and his mother-in-law, Meryl Streep, presented Cyrus with the Record of the Year award for “Flowers.” Piano man Billy Joel returned to the stage after around 30 years of silence to “Turn The Lights Back On,” written in collaboration with Freddy Wexler. As glistening melodies cascaded from the keys, Joel’s soulful voice echoed across the arena before taking a brief pause for the final category of the night, Album of the Year, presented by Céline Dion. Making history as the only artist to win the Album of the Year award four times, Swift said the true reward is her work before the ceremony’s send-off, underscored by the racing beat of Joel’s “You May Be Right.”

“I would love to tell you that this is the best moment of my life, but I feel this happy when I finish a song or when I crack the code to a bridge that I love,” Swift said. “For me, the award is the work. All I want to do is keep being able to do this. I love it so much – it makes me so happy.” 

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Leydi Cris Cobo Cordon
Cobo Cordon is the 2023-2024 music | fine arts editor. She was previously an Arts reporter. She is also a second-year student from northern Virginia.
Cobo Cordon is the 2023-2024 music | fine arts editor. She was previously an Arts reporter. She is also a second-year student from northern Virginia.
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