The 65th Annual Grammy Awards spark excitement and controversy


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The 65th Annual Grammy Awards aired on February 5, 2023, and honored many musical artists.

“Music’s Biggest Night,” the Grammy Awards, was viewed by 12.4 million people on Sunday, February 5, according to CNN. While always exciting, some years are more eventful than others, and 2023 was undoubtedly a night to remember.

Prior to the main event, “E! Live from the Red Carpet” took place with host, Laverne Cox. Cox interviewed a parade of celebrities and provided a first look at who wore what designs and brands.

This year, many outfits were inspired by the artist’s music, like Taylor Swift wearing a midnight blue ensemble, Kelsea Ballerini’s dress representing her recent album’s cover, or Lizzo’s stand-out orange coat representing being “Special.” Others stuck to a concept that they often follow, like Shania Twain with red hair, a glittery polka-dotted outfit, and a tall hat.

One notable interview from Cox was with Coco Jones, who celebrated the perseverance of black/women-owned businesses as she documented herself getting ready for the night.

The main show opened with a performance from Bad Bunny, just one of many outstanding performances. Many of the performers were introduced by special people in the artists’ lives. Brandi Carlile’s wife and kids announced her performance of “Broken Horses,” and Lizzo’s gospel performance of “Special” was introduced by one of her “Big Grrrl” dancers, Jayla Sullivan.

Stevie Wonder also performed, joined by Smokey Robinson and Chris Stapleton. Kacey Musgraves, Quavo, Sheryl Crow, Mick Fleetwood, and Bonnie Raitt all participated in the always poignant “In Memoriam” segment, a tribute to those in the industry who passed away this year. Christine McVie, tWitch, Olivia Newton-John, and many more were honored.

This year’s Grammys also marked the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop. Questlove brought together Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliot, Nelly, Queen Latifah, Ice-T, and many more Hip-Hop legends to celebrate this influential genre. Just before introducing the hip-hop medley, LL Cool J announced the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, a brand-new award created by the Recording Academy and Black Music Collective. Fittingly, though not without some controversy, Dr. Dre was the first recipient.

Many new achievements were also acquired this year. Before the show began, Viola Davis achieved EGOT status, having won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony.

In some of the most groundbreaking news of the night, Beyonce won the Best Dance/Electronic Music Album for “Renaissance.” Though somewhat less recognized than other categories, it became notable as it was her 32nd Grammy, crowning “Queen Bey” as the artist with the most Grammys ever.

Kim Petras and Sam Smith’s win in the Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Unholy” made Kim Petras the first transgender woman to have received this award. The duo made more headlines as their devil-themed performance was deemed “evil” by some commentators.

The three major awards of the night–Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year–were each notable in their own right. The Album of the Year announcement was preceded by a segment in which each nominee’s fans spoke for their choice. When the winner was being announced, host Trevor Noah, allowed Harry Styles’ fan to read it, revealing that “Harry’s House” had won. In his speech, Styles claimed “this doesn’t happen to people like [him] very often,” irking some social media commentators, given the irony.

Record of the Year was awarded to Lizzo for “About Damn Time.” She later tweeted “the last time a black woman won Record of the Year was Whitney Houston for ‘I Will Always Love You’…I don’t take this lightly. Thank you.”

Song of the Year went to Bonnie Raitt for “Just Like That,” shocking the younger fanbases of other nominees. Having no knowledge of her or her notable legacy led them to feel that their favorite had been robbed of the prestigious award.

In what by all accounts was a successful run for the 65-year-old program, the 2023 Grammys broke barriers, celebrated artists and their influences, and as always, caused some controversy.