Olivia Rodrigo wins 2 Grammys, Zelenskyy appeals for Ukraine
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Olivia Rodrigo has won the best new artist crown at the Grammy Awards, joining esteemed previous company including Carly Simon, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Tom Jones, the Beatles and Billie Eilish.
A veteran of the “High School Musical” series, Rodrigo became the breakout music star of 2021, leading with her massive viral hit “Drivers License” and following with the aching album “Sour” and the single “Good 4 U.”
So far Sunday, “Drivers License” has earned her the trophy for best pop solo performance, and it is up for record of the year, while “Sour” is up for album of the year. Rodrigo came into the night nominated for the night’s top four awards — best new artist, album, record and song of the year — but lost the best song trophy to Silk Sonic.
“This is my biggest dream come true,” she said. Earlier in the show, she performed her heartbreak song “Drivers License” in a white ruffled dress and black boots.
The night’s festivities grew grim when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the gathering with an update on the war and his numbers included children injured and killed. “Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos,” he said. “We are fighting Russia, which brings horrible silence with its bombs. The dead silence. Fill the silence with your music.”
He ended by saying: “Tell the truth about the war on your social networks, on TV. Support us in any way you can any, but not silence. And then peace will come to all our cities.”
John Legend then performed “Free” with Ukrainian exiles including singer-actress Mika Newton and poet Lyuba Yakimchuk.
Silk Sonic — the all-star union of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak — opened the Grammys in Las Vegas with their high-energy, infectious fix of retro soul and funk by performing their “777.” They returned to the stage a short time later to collect the song of the year trophy for “Leave the Door Open.”
The win helps Mars tie the record for most song of the year wins. He had previously won for “24K Magic.”
Both Mars and .Paak jumped out their seat, threw up their hands and dance to their song.
“I couldn’t be more proud to be doing this with than anyone other than you,” Mars said to .Paak. “We’ll be singing this song together for the rest of our lives.”
Host Trevor Noah introduced the duo’s opening performance by saying they were singlehandedly bringing back the 1970s, “which might explain the inflation.”
By the time the show started on CBS, Jon Batiste has already taken home four Grammy Awards, including his first ever. Batiste won for best American roots performance, best American roots song, best music video and tied with Carlos Rafael Rivera for best score soundtrack for visual media. His song “Freedom” in the music video category beat out several other tough competitors, including Rodrigo, Lil Nas X and Eilish. All the honors were handed out during a pre-telecast ceremony.
“I am so grateful for the gifts that God has given me and the ability to share that for the love of humankind,” Batiste said. “We just wanted everyone to see it. Any depression, any bondage or any darkness that was over your life is completely removed by just the love and the joy of the video.”
It’s the first tie since 2019 when Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future and James Blake tied with Anderson .Paak to win best rap performance.
Batiste entered the Grammys as the leading nominee with 11 nominations. The losses halted the multi-talented performer from making history for most wins in one night.
It was a family affair from cousins Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar, who won best rap performance for their song “Family Ties.” Lamar won his 14th Grammy and the first for Keem, who said “nothing could have prepared me for this moment” after stepping out onstage to claim his trophy.
Chris Stapleton won his third Grammy for best country solo performance for “You Should Probably Leave.” He extended his record for the most wins.
Dressed in all black, BTS took the stage with a flirty moment between V and Rodrigo before the group performed their hit single “Butter.” The made an appearance after one of the members tested positive for COVID-19. All seven of the members – Jin, Jimin, V, RM, J-Hope, Suga and Jungkook – acted as if they were secret agents with neon-blue lasers, dancing with smooth choreography before going into a brief rap portion of the song.
Foo Fighters won three awards Sunday, but were not in attendance to pick up their trophies following the recent death of its drummer Taylor Hawkins. The rock band did extend their record for most best rock album wins with five for “Medicine at Midnight.” The group’s song “Making a Fire” won best rock performance and “Waiting on a War” bested other nominees for best rock song.
During Eilish’s performance, she paid homage to the late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins by sporting a black T-shirt with his image. She stepped onstage in an upside-down house along with her brother Finneas before stepping into the rain to perform the title track from her “Happier Than Ever.”
TJ Osborne, who came out as gay last year, fought back tears as he and his brother accepted a Grammy for the Brothers Osborn song “Younger Me.” He noted the song was inspired by his coming out.
“I never thought that I would be able to do music professionally because of my sexuality. And I certainly never thought I would be here on the stage accepting a Grammy after having done something I felt like was going to be life changing and potentially in a very negative way,” Osborne said.
“And here I am tonight, not only accepting this Grammy Award with my brother, which I love so much, but I’m here with a man that I love and he loves me back. … I don’t know what I did be so lucky.”
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson won his sixth Grammy for best music film through “Summer of Soul (… Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised.”) His documentary also won an Oscar for best documentary feature last weekend.
Chick Corea and Vicente Fernandez each won posthumous Grammys. Joni Mitchell won best historical album for “Joni Mitchell Archives – Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963–1967).”
“Thanks to the academy for this nomination and this win, I didn’t expect this,” she said.
Eilish could become the first artist ever to win record of the year three times in a row, and the only artist along with Paul Simon to take home the award three times. She’s in position to join Adele as the only artists to ever win three major categories — record, song and album of the year — twice. She previously won for “Bad Guy” and “Everything I Wanted.”
The ceremony shifted from Los Angeles to Las Vegas because of rising COVID-19 cases and the omicron variant in January, with organizers citing “too many risks” to hosting the performance-filled show at the time.
Artists competing with Eilish for album of the year include Rodrigo, Batiste, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Doja Cat, H.E.R., Taylor Swift, Lil Nas X and Kanye West.
Bennett extended his record as the artist with the most traditional pop vocal album with 14 wins with “Love for Sale,” a duet album with Lady Gaga.
AP Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy contributed to this story.
For more on this year’s Grammys, visit: https://apnews.com/hub/grammy-awards
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