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Watch the 5 best moments from the 2022 Grammys, from slap jokes to SZA on crutches

Questlove presents the award for song of the year at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards
Questlove presents the award for song of the year at the 64th Grammy Awards in Las Vegas.
(Chris Pizzello / Invision/Associated Press)
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The 64th Grammy Awards made their way to fabulous Las Vegas for the first time on Sunday, and what happened in Vegas certainly didn’t stay there.

The ceremony honored the best in music and included a number of standout performances, including a “Viva Las Vegas”-themed opener from the night’s repeat winners Silk Sonic, an amped-up “Happier Than Ever” from Billie Eilish and an emotional “In Memoriam” tribute to late composer Stephen Sondheim and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins.

Here are five of the ceremony’s best moments.

Join The Times’ music team live from Las Vegas as we break down the 64th Grammy Awards, from the biggest winners to the most talked-about performances.

April 3, 2022

Host Trevor Noah makes the first slap joke of the night (and Questlove makes the second)

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It was inevitable: The Oscars slap had to make it into the prime-time telecast. Host Noah swiftly alluded to last week’s infamous live-TV moment but didn’t give it too much weight, instead using Will Smith’s own words to hype up the biggest night in music.

“Don’t even think of it as an awards show. Think of it as a concert where we’re giving out awards, all right?” Noah said in his opening monologue. “We’re going to be listening to some music. We’re going to be dancing. We’re going to be singing. We’re going to be keeping people’s names out of our mouths and we’re going to be giving out awards all throughout the night.”

Grammys host Trevor Noah’s opening monologue alluded to what went down between Will Smith and Chris Rock at the Oscars last week.

April 3, 2022

A few minutes later, Noah introduced “Summer of Soul” director Questlove, whose Academy Award win for documentary feature was eclipsed by Smith unexpectedly slapping presenter Chris Rock. But on Sunday, the Recording Academy returned the much-deserved spotlight to the Roots musician.

“All right, I’m going to present this award,” Questlove said inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena, “and trust that you people will stay 500 feet away from me.”

The five-time Grammy winner received a massive round of applause, then likened winning his Oscar last week to winning his multiple Grammys, noting that “you never forget your first time.”

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BTS performs ‘Butter’ with an assist from Olivia Rodrigo

A group of six men perform onstage
BTS performs “Butter.”
(Chris Pizzello / Invision / Associated Press)

K-pop sensations and nominees BTS returned to the Grammys stage to showcase their hit song “Butter.” The group performed at last year’s ceremony via live feed from South Korea due to COVID-19 restrictions. This time around, they mounted a highly choreographed, covert-themed operation and enlisted the help of “Drivers License” singer Rodrigo, whose brief moment cozying up to the band’s singer V sent the BTS Army into overdrive.

And they earned a standing ovation along the way.

Ukraine’s president gives the show his blessing

A man speaks via a jumbo screen
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks onscreen at Sunday’s Grammy Awards.
(Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

So Sean Penn got his wish ... kind of. After Volodymyr Zelensky didn’t appear at the Oscars last week, the Recording Academy invited Ukraine’s beleaguered president to address the crowd. And he asked viewers to keep the music playing.

Zelensky, whose country remains invaded by Russian troops, asked the artists in attendance and viewers at home to “fill the silence with your music.”

“What’s more opposite to music? The silence of ruined cities and killed people,” he said. “Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos. They sing to the wounded in hospitals — even to those who can’t hear them. But the music will break through anyway.

‘The war doesn’t let us choose who survives,’ said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the 2022 Grammy Awards.

April 3, 2022

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“We defend our freedom to live, to love, to sound. On our land, we are fighting Russia, which brings horrible silence with its bombs — the dead silence,” Zelensky added. “Fill the silence with your music. Fill it today to tell our story. Tell the truth about this war on your social networks, on TV. Support us in any way you can.”

Grammy winner John Legend took the stage after that to perform his new song “Free” along with a trio of Ukrainian artists: bandura player Siuzanna Iglidan, singer Mika Newton and poet Lyuba Yakimchuk.

Doja Cat and SZA turn their acceptance speech into a rom-com

“Kiss Me More” singers Doja Cat and SZA won the award for pop duo/group performance and delivered an unexpected speech to celebrate the win. Doja Cat barely made it, though, because, according to SZA, she went to the bathroom “for five minutes.”

“I have never taken such a fast p— my whole life,” Doja Cat said as she arrived second to the stage. “Thank you, everybody, I really appreciate it. ... SZA, you are everything to me. You are incredible. You’re the epitome of talent, you’re a lyricist, you’re everything and I just need you to say something, something, just something. Please give them something.”

Grammys 2022 list of winners including Jon Batiste, Silk Sonic and Olivia Rodrigo

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SZA also won the hearts of viewers at home for making her way to the stage on crutches. Lady Gaga, who was nominated in the same category, also helped her adjust the voluminous train on her dress as the winner hobbled to the stage on stilettos. (Backstage, SZA told reporters she “fell out of bed the day before I had to leave for the Grammys.”)

“Thank you to Doja. Thank you to my mama. Thank you to God and just thank all of y’all. I’m glad you [Doja] made it back in time,” SZA said.

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There was something for everyone at this year’s Grammys, from socially uplifting R&B to teen singer-songwriter melodrama to smooth-as-silk ‘70s soul.

April 3, 2022

Getting emotional, Doja added: “Damn. I like to downplay this s—, but this is a big deal. Thank you, everybody. Be safe. Take care.”

Earlier, Dua Lipa and Megan Thee Stallion, previous winners for best new artist, delivered a wardrobe twinning moment with designer Donatella Versace that made us believe all presenters should be women supporting women.

Jon Batiste closes the show with a feel-good message

Upon taking the final prize of the night — album of the year for “We Are” — “Freedom” singer Batiste appeared befuddled by his own success as he made his way to the stage. He then reminded people that the arts are subjective.

“You know, I really, I believe this to my core: There is no best musician, best artist, best dancer, best actor,” the “Late Show” band leader said. “The creative arts are subjective, and they reach people at a point in their lives when they need it most. It’s like a song or an album is made and it almost has a radar to find the person when they need it the most.”

The ‘Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ bandleader took home the last award of the night for ‘We Are.’ He won five Grammy Awards on Sunday.

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He added: “Every single artist that was nominated in this category, I actually love and have had experiences, out-of-body experiences with your music. I honor you, and this is for real artists, real musicians. Let’s just keep going. Be you. That’s it. I love you even if I don’t know you! Good night.”

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Times staff writer Christi Carras, editorial assistant Carlos De Loera and intern Kristina Garcia contributed to this report.

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