The Grammys, But Socially Distant: A Recap on This Year’s Biggest Night in Music


Billie Eilish @Pukkelpop 2019" by crommelincklars (CC BY 2.0)

Billie Eilish had a historic Grammy night in 2020, and continued to break records at the 2021 ceremony – and she is only 19!

The Grammy Awards are arguably the biggest night in music. From the iconic performances and anticipation of which artists win what awards, to the outfits everyone raves over for the next year, the Grammy’s continue to captivate their audiences each year.

The 2021 Grammy Awards took place on March 14th in and around (due to COVID-19 regulations) the Los Angeles Convention Center. Comedian Trevor Noah hosted the event this year, and tried to make the ceremony as lighthearted as possible considering the challenges from the pandemic. 

Harry Styles opened the show, singing his hit song “Watermelon Sugar.” From the dancing to the jazz-like instrumentals, the performance was not only a great opener, but a major fan-favorite. Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas followed Styles’, performing “Everything I Wanted.” The sister band Haim closed the opener with their song “The Steps.”  

And The Grammy Goes To…

After the show’s opener, it was time for the first award of the night: Best New Artist. “Truth Hurts” singer Lizzo presented the award, which was won by “Savage” singer Megan Thee Stallion. This was Megan’s first ever Grammy award win.

The “Big 4” awards tend to be the ones that leave the audience sitting on the edge of their seats. The four awards consist of Best New Artist, which was again won by Megan Thee Stallion, Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Album of the Year. 

H.E.R took home Song of the Year with “I Can’t Breathe,” which was written in response to the police brutality and the killings of unarmed black citizens throughout the country. 

Billie Eilish won Record of the Year with “Everything I Wanted,” leaving the 19-year-old absolutely shocked. 

After dropping two albums and working on rerecording her old music all amidst the pandemic, Taylor Swift and her hard work were awarded with Album of the Year for Folklore.

Some of the other big wins included Dua Lipa’s victory of Best Pop Vocal Album for Future Nostalgia, Harry Styles’ win in Best Pop Solo Performance for “Watermelon Sugar”, and Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s Best Pop Duo/Group triumph for “Rain on Me.”

Breaking Records Left and Right

The 2021 Grammys were a historic night, not just because they were the first Grammys to ever be hosted amidst a pandemic, but also because of the records broken. Women dominated the record breaking this year, making the Grammys a perfect addition to March’s Women’s History Month.

Beyonce had an incredible night, becoming the most Grammy awarded female and singer! (Rocbeyonce (CC BY-SA 4.0))

Beyonce broke two major records: most Grammy wins by a female, and most Grammy wins by a singer, male or female. She initially tied the record held by singer Alison Krauss after Beyonce and Megan Thee Stallion’s victory for Best Rap Performance with “Savage Remix,” bringing her to a grand total of 27 Grammys overall. Megan and Beyonce also became the first female artists to win Best Rap Performance. Later on in the night, Beyonce took home best R&B performance for “Black Parade” breaking the record and winning 28 Grammys overall.

Megan Thee Stallion became the first female rapper to win Best New Artist since Lauryn Hill’s victory over two decades ago in 1999. Billie Eilish became the first soloist this century to win Record of the Year two years in a row, winning the award with “Bad Guy” in 2020 and “Everything I Wanted” this year. Taylor Swift became the first female artist to win Album of the Year three times, winning the award in 2010 with Fearless, 2016 with 1989, and 2021 with Folklore

A Retaste of the Concert Life

The Grammys are known for the iconic performances by the artists throughout the night. The audiences cannot wait to see their favorite singers on stage, ready to see what extravagant show they have prepared.

Popstar Dua Lipa also had one of the most talked about performances of the night. Singing her hit song “Levitating,” Dua incorporated choreography and wardrobe changes to try and replicate that real concert feeling. She also brought out rapper Da Baby to sing his part in “Levitating,” before leading into her next song of the performance, “Don’t Start Now.”

Taylor Swift is one of those names that is easily recognized, and she gave everyone another reason to know her name at this year’s Grammys-by becoming the first female artist to win three Album of the Year awards.
(Cosmopolitan UK (CC BY 3.0))

Taylor Swift never fails to swiftly take everyone’s breath away. Looking straight out of a fairytale, the set consisted of a cabin on a hillside within a forest. Swift started out by performing her hit song “Cardigan” on the hill of the dark cabin. She then made her way to the inside of the cabin, dim, orange lights appearing as she did so. Inside the cabin were her fellow Folklore collaborators Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff, where she joined them to play the guitar. Known for her unpredictability, Swift performed her song “August” from Folklore,” before smoothly transitioning into the lead single from her most recent album Evermore,” “Willow.” Swift, Dessner, and Antonoff performed “Willow” on the lawn of the cabin, adding a twist of rock into the song.

Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Lionel Richie, Brandi Carlile, Brittany Howard, and Chris Martin all performed in memoria to influential artists that have unfortunately passed away recently. Mars and .Paak paid tribute to Little Richard, performing his songs “Long Tall Sally (The Thing)” and “Good Golly, Miss Molly.” Richie honored his friend Kenny Rogers by performing his song “Lady.” Carlile added John Prine to the tribute, performing his song “I Remember Everything.” Finally Howard and Martin performed together, while images of influential components of the music industry that have unfortunately been lost, like singer Bunny Wailer and record producer Hal Wilner, played behind them. Howard sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Gerry and the Pacemakers, while Martin played the piano.  

The night was full of many talented artists, who worked their hardest to try and recreate that concert feeling all music enthusiasts have been missing. Some of the other performers included Post Malone with “Hollywood’s Bleeding,” Maren Morris and John Mayer with “The Bones,” and Doja Cat with “Say So.”

Lights, Camera, Fashion

It would not be the Grammys without the fashion! Every artist came dressed to impress, and their outfits are still being talked about days after the ceremony. 

Harry Styles lived up to his last name, wearing not one, not two, but three outfits at the ceremony. During his opening performance, Styles wore a black leather jacket, with black leather pants, and a green boa. The boa trend does not stop there, as Styles’ second outfit of the night consisted of brown pants, a pink, multi colored striped sweater, and a yellow plaid jacket, topped with a purple boa and matching yellow plaid mask. Many people drew parallels between Styles’ outfit to the iconic yellow outfit character Cher wears in the film Clueless, including Alicia Silverstone herself. Styles ended the night with orange plaid pants, a white shirt topped with an orange jacket, a plaid mask, and a black boa.

Some artists, like Harry Styles, were awarded with their first ever Grammy at this year’s ceremony!
(Lovclyhes (CC BY-SA 4.0))

Country singer Mickey Guyton’s outfit was unforgettable. Guyton wore a pink like dress for the red carpet, with a shimmering gown on top. The gown had jewels embroidered throughout, forming butterflies and flowers. Guyton wore a glimmering gold dress later on for her performance.

Taylor Swift never fails to have an impeccable fashion sense! Swift wore a dress covered in flowers for a majority of the night, and topped the look with a matching flower mask. For her performance, Swift wore a long, flowy dress with an intricate pattern and blue ruffles, matching her fairytale theme of the evening. 

Megan Thee Stallion came dressed and ready to win a Grammy (or three), wearing a bright orange dress that formed a big bow in the back. Finneas came to the red carpet in a pink suit with black patches near the front. The outfit was eye-catching, and added that pop of color the world is searching for amidst all this darkness. 

One for the Books

From the records broken to succeeding in hosting the show during a pandemic, the 2021 Grammys were a night to remember. While maintaining social distancing and mask wearing, everyone at the Grammys was able to not only put on an amazing show for the viewers, but enjoy themselves safely. The ceremony overall gave everyone a taste of what life used to be like, and it’s safe to say everyone indulged in it (safely of course). Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees!