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The 6 moments you need to see from the 2021 Grammy Awards

Beyonce, Bad Bunny, Taylor Swift, and H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas.
From top left: Beyonce, Bad Bunny, H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas, and Taylor Swift.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Well, it finally happened. Months after they were inevitably postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 63rd Grammy Awards went ahead as planned Sunday night on CBS.

Hosted by comedian Trevor Noah, the Grammys telecast eschewed a live audience of fans in favor of a small gathering composed mostly of the top nominees.

“In a year when little else has worked particularly well, if at all — the strange, surprising Emmys perhaps excepted — the Recording Academy’s annual celebration found its long-lost groove, defying its disappointing recent history and a pandemic that’s disrupted every other time-honored tradition, television and otherwise,” Times critic Lorraine Ali wrote in her review.

As usual, there were a number of memorable performances and remarks from the most decorated artists of the night.

Live updates of the 2021 Grammy Awards winners list: 83 categories including album, song, record and best new artist.

Among this year’s performers were Harry Styles, Megan Thee Stallion, Billie Eilish, Bad Bunny and BTS, while the top nominees heading into Sunday’s ceremony were Beyoncé, Dua Lipa, Roddy Ricch and Taylor Swift.

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Here’s a sampling of standout moments from the show.

Beyoncé and Swift make history

Two of the night’s top nominees, Beyoncé and Swift, made history at this year’s Grammy Awards.

With her win for R&B performance for “Black Parade,” Beyoncé earned her 28th Grammy — the most ever for a female artist. She surpassed country-bluegrass artist Alison Krauss, who’d previously held the record with 27 Grammys. The late Aretha Franklin won 18 Grammy Awards.

Beyoncé has also tied Quincy Jones for second-most Grammy wins ever; Jones, who turned 88 on Sunday, has won 28 Grammys. The late Hungarian-British conductor Georg Solti holds the record with 31 Grammy Awards.

Swift’s surprise pandemic album “Folklore” won the Grammy for album of the year and put her in the hallowed company of Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra and Paul Simon.

It marked Swift’s third career win for album of the year, following trophies for “Fearless” in 2010 and “1989" in 2016. That tally means Swift is now the fourth artist — and the first woman ever — to win the top Grammy three times.

Megan Thee Stallion wins best new artist

Megan Thee Stallion became the first female hip-hop artist to win the best new artist category in 22 years, since Lauryn Hill did so in 1999. The “Body” rapper beat out Phoebe Bridgers, Doja Cat, Chika, Kaytranada, D Smoke, Ingrid Andress and Noah Cyrus.

“Every artist that was nominated for this award is so amazing, so shout-out to all y’all,” she said during her acceptance speech. “I really want to say thank you to my mama. She’s not here with me today, but I know she’s here with me in spirit, and she always believed I could do it. So thank y’all so much.”

Megan Thee Stallion also won awards for rap/sung performance and rap song with her smash remix of “Savage,” featuring Beyoncé.

Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion bring the heat with ‘WAP’

No need to grab a bucket and a mop. Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B already wiped the floor with their fellow Grammys performers Sunday night.

After opening her Grammys set with her latest single, “Up,” Cardi B was joined onstage by Megan Thee Stallion for a steamy, live rendition of their hit collaboration, “WAP,” which practically broke the internet upon its release last summer.

Much of the song’s frank and explicit lyrics were redacted for the Grammys telecast. But that certainly didn’t stop the rappers from exuding sex positivity as they twerked and strutted across the stage in shiny, matching bodysuits.

Bad Bunny wins first non-Latin Grammy

Puerto Rican reggaeton phenom Bad Bunny took home the prize for Latin pop or urban album, securing his first non-Latin Grammy Award. The “La Noche de Anoche” hitmaker received the honor for his 2020 studio effort, “YHLQMDLG.”

Bad Bunny has also won two Latin Grammys: reggaeton performance for “Yo Perreo Sola” in 2020 and urban music album for “X 100pre” in 2019.

Watch here for live updates on winners, performances, the red carpet, the COVID-impacted telecast and more.

“I’m very happy ... I’m very proud,” he said during his Grammys acceptance speech Sunday. “I want to thank every person in the world that listened to my music and supported my career and my ideas.”

Bad Bunny also teamed up with fellow Puerto Rican musician Jhay Cortez for a neon-trimmed performance of their smash collaboration, “Dákiti,” during the show.

H.E.R. clinches surprise win for ‘I Can’t Breathe’

Singer, songwriter and guitarist H.E.R. won the Grammy for song of the year for her 2020 protest track, “I Can’t Breathe.”

Written in memory of George Floyd and the many Black Americans who died at the hands of police, the deeply ruminative R&B ballad became one of many songs that soundtracked the surge of Black Lives Matter protests across the country. H.E.R. beat out favorites Taylor Swift and Dua Lipa in the category.

K-pop’s BTS loses to Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande in a star-studded Grammys field that included Taylor Swift and Bad Bunny.

“We wrote this song over FaceTime, and I didn’t imagine that my fear and that my pain would turn into impact and it would possibly turn into change,” H.E.R., born Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson, said during her acceptance speech.

“I’m so speechless right now, I can’t believe this,” she continued. “Remember, we are the change that we wish to see. That fight that we had in us in the summer of 2020, keep that same energy.”

Times staff writers Tracy Brown and Julissa James contributed to this report.


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