61st Annual Grammys Recap: Music’s Longest Night

It’s 1am on Sunday night after the 61st annual Grammys—technically Monday morning—and all I can think is one thing. Well, two things. The first is that this award show (if you could call it that; to me it was a glorified country music tribute) lasted way too fucking long. The second is that day drinking from 1-7pm and then volunteering to recap the Grammys from 8pm-the end of time was a bad, bad idea. This will become apparent as I attempt to make sense of my notes and synthesize them into one coherent recap. Attempt being the key word here.

Overall, this recap was a struggle—and I don’t just mean because my hangover is currently setting in at 1:15am. It’s because if you’ve read any one of my articles or recaps, you know that I’m very good at criticism. Shitting on things is like my second language (see: Kylie Jenner, Vanderpump Rules, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, guys who try to hit on me and end up on my IG stories, etc.). What’s not so easy? Recounting a television event that, for the most part, was very good. The 61st annual Grammys were honestly enjoyable—for the first two hours, anyway. After that it felt like what I imagine purgatory feels like, though I may have preferred burning alive. In all seriousness, the Grammys were about an hour and a half too long, yes, but the performances were good. The awards were (mostly) well-deserved and not all that surprising. I say mostly because… we’ll get to it.

I came into the 61st annual Grammys much like I did with the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show: ready to rip it to shreds over its tone-deafness and lack of diversity. Fortunately for the culture but unfortunately for me, that wasn’t an overarching theme so much as it’s been in years past. This year, the Grammys was pretty cognizant of its public perception and seemed to work to fight it. Not enough to actually give Album of the Year to a rap album, but enough to have Alicia Keys host and give song of the year to Donald Glover’s “This is America,” among other moments. That being said, there was a lot of country. SO MUCH COUNTRY. Like, did nobody else make music this year except rappers and country singers?

If you didn’t watch the 61st annual Grammys, first of all, is there a deal we can strike with Satan so I can get back the past year of my life? Second of all, here’s what you missed.

PRESENTERS

Alicia Keys did a great job hosting, but she called everyone her sister and her girl a lot. Like, did she pick the nominees? She acted like she knew everybody personally.

The most iconic moment, presentation-wise, was when Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, Michelle Obama, and J Lo presented an award for—I don’t even know what because I was so focused on the fact that Michelle Obama was there, and also that Lady Gaga seemed like a sort of random choice in that mix of people. It was an iconic moment for feminism in which they quoted Beyoncé despite Beyoncé not being present.

61st Annual GRAMMY Awards - Inside

Julian Edelman and teammate Devin McCourty presented the award for Best Pop Duo/Performance to Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. I guess this is what they get for winning the Super Bowl if they don’t want to go to the White House?

John Mayer announced song of the year, despite not having come out with a song since 2018. They should have just had Andy Cohen’s baby do it. 

Some random country dudes announced the winner for Best Rap Song, which felt a lot like when my parents try to explain to people what I do for a living. (“She makes the mee-mees,” my dad says.)

Diana Ross’s grandson was definitely the cutest presenter. He also was the least enthusiastic to be there. He clearly just wanted to be at home playing Fortnite. Are the kids still playing Fortnite?

Alessia Cara and some guy who won Best New Artist at probably the first ever Grammy awards presented this year’s Best New Artist, and their routine was so painfully awkward that it made me feel better about all my middle school photos.

All in all, the presenters were fine. There were some surprises in there, and I’m mostly talking about Michelle Obama. I may or may not have touched my TV screen and whispered “come back” while a single tear fell down my cheek.

PERFORMANCES

There were a TON of performances last night. Some may say too many. But what do I know, it’s not like I had to stay up until 11:30pm watching it only to then write about it and try to get it up by first thing in the morning. Oh wait, it is exactly like that! This year, there were too many fucking performances, and they fell into two categories: country and everything else. It’s like, once all the popular artists we actually would have wanted to perform dropped out, they were left with no choice but to turn the Grammys into the Country Music Awards.

Shawn Mendes kicked off the night with the first performance. He cemented himself as the Maroon 5-esque choice for Super Bowl halftime show 2030, because of his ability to get suburban moms going. He was great, but that’s to be expected. Miley Cyrus came out, foreshadowing a night that was surprisingly Miley heavy. The Miley Cyrus comeback tour is in full swing, people.

Kacey Musgraves performed too, and she did a great job for someone who had so much botox she couldn’t move her face. 


Janelle Monae’s rendition of “The way you make me feel” was a highlight of the night. I loved the Prince tribute. I speak for all of us at Betches when I say, we stan Janelle Monae. And “give this vagina a monologue” more or less sums up my foray into politics in the past year.

Post Malone performed with Red Hot Chili Peppers, for reasons unknown. Perhaps to bring together fuckboys from different eras? What a cause. The Red Hot Chili Peppers showed up to this performance dressed like extras in American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace. Guess they had an audition at 11?

Cardi B had me shook. Her piano player was dope. Her choreography was a well-oiled machine. I have literally not a single bad thing to say. This is not an attack on Cardi, but it was odd to me that Cardi was allowed to perform “Money” but Ariana couldn’t do “7 Rings”. Thematically, those songs are more or less the same. Weird choice, Academy.

Cardi B 61st annual Grammys

Guy I was watching the Grammys with last night: I would love to be that piano.
Me: Yeah I bet you would.

Anywayyyy, Lady Gaga was also amazing, vocally, but seemed kind of over-the-top given the song. Her outfit reminded me of her exact outfit for Ally’s fake SNL performance in A Star Is Born. Gaga does know that was purposefully meant to be bad, right?


Travis Scott was… fine. It was really weird having James Blake’s soulful crooning juxtaposed next to Travis Scott basically breathing into a fan, as if we are meant to believe those two things sound equally impressive.

autotune meme

Other amazing performances were Diana Ross, who looked stunning in her quinceañera dress, and Alicia Keys. Not much to say there. One person I do have a lot to say about, however, is J Lo. I was very impressed with her singing, and by that I mean I didn’t really know J Lo could sing until this moment. Why has she never been considered for the Super Bowl halftime show? From what we saw tonight, she would kill it. Although she’s not the first person I think of when I think “Motown tribute”. I guess everyone else was busy or boycotting?

Now let’s talk about the country performances—or more accurately, the ones I am able to distinguish from one another. I feel like whoever decided the Grammy performance schedule was trying to get back at anyone who’s ever liked an anti-country music meme.

Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus performed “Jolene”. It cleared my skin, filled my bank account, and fixed my insomnia. The only person more excited than me at the end of the Dolly Parton tribute is the rhinestone maker who came out making bank from all these outfits.

Dolly Parton Jolene

I swear I have never heard of Little Big Town outside of the Grammys but they are somehow here EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. They’re like the Rita Ora of the Grammys.

Maren Morris and Katy Perry joined in on this Grand Ole Opry tour, but my live stream glitched literally throughout Katy’s appearance. Get you someone as loyal as my internet connection. They perform a song called “9 to 5”, which is very rude considering I have to be at work in the morning and none of these rich women have ever had a normal job.

AWARDS

Finally, the part that is supposed to be the whole purpose of this show—the goddamn awards! Most of them were handed out off-screen. Is it just me, or did they only show like, 5 awards this year, and all of them were crammed at the end like they’d almost forgotten about it? Like, I watched the Grammys last year and I remember them announcing the winner of Best New Artist pretty early on. I remember that because my anger over Khalid or SZA not being chosen carried me through the night. This year, though, these motherfuckers made us wait until damn near 11pm. Truly, this was not an awards show so much as it was a televised concert series, and if I wanted to watch that I would have tuned into RENT last weekend.

Childish Gambino won two awards, one for song of the year and one for record of the year. Although I’m very happy for him, I fail to understand how these two awards are different. It’s kind of like me trying to articulate the difference between paleo and Whole30. Don’t bother explaining it to me in the comments; it will just ruin the joke.

Kasey Musgraves won best country album. I feel like as far as awards go, this is pretty tame—it’s like winning the “hottest person in Wisconsin” award.

H.E.R. picked up best R&B album. Between her performance and Grammy win, she is going to be on everybody’s Spotify after last night. 

Cardi B wins best rap album and everyone is thrilled except Ariana Grande.

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Awkward. Cardi winning is actually a huge deal because she’s the first solo female rapper to win this award. It’s Cardi B’s world, and we’re all just living in it.

Dua Lipa wins best new artist, which isn’t that surprising considering everyone else only won their high school talent show. Seriously, who the hell were those other nominees?? However, it is cool that they were female. Dua Lipa’s speech goes on so long that they literally cut her mic and go to commercial. This is around 11pm. We’ve been here for 3 hours at this point and only then do the Grammys realize that people have places to be, like asleep. Them trying to save time at this point is like me doing 500 crunches the morning of a pool party.

Drake wins best rap song for “God’s Plan”—the biggest surprise of the night was honestly that Drake showed up at all. He started giving this speech rife with sports analogies, about making the right tactical choices or something. I honestly had no clue what he was talking about until he got cut off mid-speech and I realized he was criticizing the Grammys for historically not being the best about supporting black artists. The metaphor was too advanced.

Finally, after 7.5 hours, a million country music performances, a hundred outfit changes for Alicia Keys (I’m convinced that’s why there were so many commercials), and a bunch of random reaction shots of Anna Kendrick in the crowd (seriously why was she even there?) we finally arrive at Album of the Year. The nominees are Post Malone, Drake, Black Panther, H.E.R., Brandi Carlisle, Janelle Monae, and Kacey Musgraves. Surprising literally everyone, including Kacey Musgraves, Kacey wins the award.


I’ve heard her album is good (by my friends in my group chat after I texted “WHAT” 23 consecutive times), but I can’t help but feel a little confused. I’ve never heard anyone talk about her album. In fact, until this very moment, I didn’t even know it was a contender. It’s at this point that I wonder what Album of the Year even is meant to signify. As the winners have showed us time and time again, it’s not which album had the greatest impact that year. It’s not which album was the most talked about, or which was the most boundary-pushing. If that were the case, Lemonade would have won in 2017, DAMN would have won in 2018. Instead we always end up getting what seems like a random choice. We get egg whites when we want an omelet. Damn, now I’m hungry.

Kacey Musgraves 61st annual grammys

Overall, we got a good Grammys this year. The performances were excellent. It was a good night for women, and obviously a great night for Kacey Musgraves. Congrats to all the winners! Thus concludes my recap of the 61st Annual Kacey Musgraves Awards Grammys. See you next year! … Just kidding I’m never willingly watching this again.

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