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The biggest highlights and letdowns of the Grammys 2023

The 65th Annual Grammy Awards took place on 5 February 2023 in Los Angeles and, this year’s event was filled to the brim with historic and noteworthy music moments—both good and bad. The Grammys—or as we like to think, the gen Z of awards season—might be over for another year, but the evening gave us enough highlights and disappointments to discuss until then. Here are the most memorable ones.

1. Beyoncé is now the most-awarded Grammy winner of all time

How could we start off this list with anyone but Queen Bey herself? With her win for Best Dance/Electronic Music Album for Renaissance, Beyoncé, who was nominated nine times total this year only, broke the record for the most Grammy wins by an artist.

This groundbreaking achievement was slightly tarnished by the fact that the singer-songwriter has yet again missed out on the Album Of The Year award to former One Direction member Harry Styles, despite the fact that she was favoured to win.

2. Sam Smith was misgendered by a red carpet reporter

Fans of ‘Unholy’ singer and openly non-binary artist Sam Smith have called out a red carpet reporter for repeatedly misgendering the performer during the coverage of this year’s Grammys.

Smith has been using they/them pronouns for four years now, having come out as gender queer and non-binary in 2019. So, the internet was heavily disappointed when a reporter from the Associated Press persistently referred to them as “he.”

3. Kim Petras became the first transgender woman to win a Grammy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

German pop star and queer icon Kim Petras warmed hearts everywhere when she accepted the award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for her single ‘Unholy’ which she collaborated with Smith on.


Kim Petras beautifully accepts the #GRAMMY for Best Pop Duo with Sam Smith. #GRAMMYs2023 #KimPetras #SamSmith

♬ original sound - Entertainment Tonight

4. Quavo paid a touching tribute to the late Takeoff

Migos member Quavo performed an emotional tribute to nephew and former band member Takeoff, who passed away on 1 November 2022 after a tragic shooting incident.

American contemporary worship music collective Maverick City Music also joined the Migos singer on stage with a rendition of ‘See You Again’ by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth.

5. Viola Davis achieved EGOT status

Viola Davis has become the 18th person in the world to achieve EGOT status—meaning she has now won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. The highly renowned artist clinched the honour after securing a Grammy award for Best Audio Book for her autobiography Finding Me.

While accepting her award the actress said: “I wrote this book to honour the six-year-old Viola.To honour her life, her joy, her trauma, everything.”

This triumph makes Davis the third black woman to achieve EGOT status, following the footsteps of Whoopi Goldberg and Jennifer Hudson.


I’m so proud of my girl Viola #grammys2023 #violadavis #GetCrackin

♬ original sound - Seneque

6. Lizzo won Record Of The Year

Lizzo won the Grammy for Record Of The Year for her track ‘About Damn Time’ beating out the likes of ABBA’s ‘Don’t Shut Me Down’, Adele’s ‘Easy On Me’, and Beyoncé’s ‘BREAK MY SOUL.’

In her acceptance speech, Lizzo made sure to pay tribute to Queen Bey, deeming her “the artist of our lives.” The ‘Truth Hurts’ singer also managed to snag a picture alongside Adele before the night ended. Truly a successful evening.

7. Dr. Dre had an award named after him

Seven-time Grammy winner and American rapper Dr. Dre was awarded the inaugural Global Impact Award. A voiceover read aloud: “Dr. Dre is one of the greatest game-changers in music history. [His] impact has been global, massive, and an authentic and positive force within our world.”

In his acceptance speech, Dre said, “This is the 50th anniversary of hip hop, make some noise for hip hop. And where would I be without it? Where would a lot of people in here be without hip hop?”

8. Ben Affleck really didn’t want to be there

Ben Affleck, who was seemingly solely attending the awards ceremony to support his wife Jennifer Lopez who was due to present the award for Best Pop Vocal Album, definitely made his mark on audiences everywhere. The actor, or more accurately the actor’s face, blew up on social media after netizens noticed his highly ‘miserable’ expression. He was spotted several times grimacing at the camera while Lopez danced beside him… 

Naturally, it wasn’t long before the moment began trending online with users poking fun at the Gone Girl actor.

Aptly put by one individual on Twitter: “However bad of a day you’re having, I promise you’re not as miserable as Ben Affleck at the Grammys right now.”

So, there we have it. The Grammy Awards are sadly over for another year, but at least the highs and lows of the music industry’s finest will remain in our hearts, and on our timelines, for the foreseeable future.

Did you know (or care) about the Grammys 2021? Because not many did, here’s why

On 14 March 2021, The 63rd Grammy Awards came and went seemingly unnoticed (or uncared for). This may simply be because of the fact that the majority of the world is over ‘virtually attending’ events, but it may also be because of other reasons that run a little deeper. I hear boycott in the wind, don’t you?

One artist in particular, Canadian singer and songwriter The Weeknd who reasonably, thanks to his extremely successful ‘Blinding Lights’ track and his acclaimed album After Hours, should have been in attendance yesterday was not there. Back in November 2020, after the Recording Academy released its list of 2021 Grammy nominations, it appeared that The Weeknd fell short of any nomination, although After Hours had broken numerous records and ‘Blinding Lights’ stayed in the Billboard charts’ top 10 list for the entire year—which is in itself a historical feat that no other artist has accomplished before.

Understandably, he expected a little appreciation, but having not made the cut the singer took to Twitter and shared the inflammatory and infamous tweet that stated: “The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency.”

Over the years, the music industry has accused the Grammys of having clear biases against women and black artists, an issue that seems to stem from the “anonymous expert committees” which are responsible for reviewing and counting the Recording Academy’s initial nomination choices as well as determining who gets a nomination out of them.

Harvey Mason Jr, Recording Academy Chair and Interim CEO, responded to The Weeknd’s reaction by stating “We understand that The Weeknd is disappointed at not being nominated. I was surprised and can empathise with what he’s feeling. His music this year was excellent, and his contributions to the music community and broader world are worthy of everyone’s admiration” and his excuse continued by saying that “Unfortunately, every year, there are fewer nominations than the number of deserving artists.”

In January of 2021, The Weeknd explained his feelings to Billboard regarding the whole situation, and considered the role that race played in the decision by saying that “If you were like ‘Do you think the Grammys are racist?’ I think the only real answer is that in the last 61 years of the Grammys, only 10 black artists have won ‘Album of the Year’,” he told the outlet. “I don’t want to make this about me. That’s just a fact.”

In a statement to The New York Times, he said that he will no longer submit music to the Grammys “Because of the secret committees.” In the past, artists like Drake, Frank Ocean and Kanye West have criticised the Grammys for their, to be frank, shady practices. Now, more voices are speaking out and standing up against the not-so-inclusive and seemingly corrupt event.

English singer and songwriter Zayn Malik planted his thoughts on Twitter as well and publicly demanded an end to ‘secret committees’ and a ‘fight for transparency and inclusion’.

Nicki Minaj joined in by tweeting “Never forget the Grammys didn’t give me my best new artist award when I had 7 songs simultaneously charting on Billboard & bigger first week than any female rapper in the last decade- went on to inspire a generation. They gave it to the white man Bon Iver. #PinkFriday.” Justin Beiber made his case clear as well, among many other artists.

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A post shared by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber)

In reality, these public rebukes of the Grammys are a threat to it as an institution, because recognising people of colour has still not happened enough. The last black artist to take Album of the Year home was Herbie Hancock in 2008 for a tribute to Joni Mitchell, and the last black woman was Lauryn Hill in 1999, and it’s not just within the music industry but the entertainment industry as a whole. Maybe now, finally, by stomping on the breaks, things will change, but it takes every single one of us to decide and push for a more inclusive and equitable outcome as well.