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By Maureen Lee Lenker
March 14, 2021 at 08:21 PM EDT
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Harry Styles gave the Grammys a golden opening.

The pop-rock star kicked off the 2021 telecast with a performance of "Watermelon Sugar," off his hit sophomore album Fine Line. For a show that was produced in the midst of a global pandemic (and was already postponed once), it marked an effusive, high-energy start.

The Brit, wearing a black tuxedo jacket and pants (but without a shirt, as host Trevor Noah joked after), was accompanied by a band and flashing lights as he lithely moved around on stage.

Grammy Awards Red Carpet
Harry Styles kicking off the 2021 Grammys
| Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Styles might have seemed a surprising choice to kick off the show, considering the critically acclaimed Fine Line was snubbed in top categories, though he did receive nods for Best Pop Solo Performance for "Watermelon Sugar," Best Pop Vocal Album, and Best Music Video for "Adore You."

However, it makes a little more sense when you consider the 2021 Grammy Awards are being executive-produced by Ben Winston, best known for his work as a writer and producer on The Late Late Show With James Corden. Winston and Styles go way back to the musician's boy-band days in One Direction. He and Styles are so close that their friendship inspired the short-lived CBS sitcom Happy Together, based on Styles' experiences living with Winston and his wife.

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