The most memorable moments from the 2021 Grammy Awards
Highlights from the 2021 Grammy Awards
The 63rd annual Grammy Awards were definitely different this time around, but there wasn’t a whole lot NOT to like about them — other than host Trevor Noah. While we’re typically fans of The Daily Show comedian, he didn’t bring the laughs we were hoping for and we found ourselves missing Alicia Keys.
Hosting duties aside, the show was — dare we say — the most fun we’ve had all year! Check out the many performances and other highlights that made the 2021 Grammys one to remember.
Harry Styles and his boas
Opening the ceremony with a new, groovy version of his sensual hit song “Watermelon Sugar,” Harry Styles rocked out shirtless in a black leather suit and green feather boa. And with Dev Hynes playing the bass alongside the singer during the performance, the 63rd annual Grammy Awards started on a real high note. (It should be noted he sported a purple boa to accept his Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance, and then later was spotted wearing a black feathery scarf.)
Haim sisters perform 'The Steps'
Haim's Women In Music, Part III is nominated for Album of the Year, but “The Steps” is a clear standout, and the sisters proved that by playing it as part of the show’s opening sequence. With Danielle singing from her drum set as Este and Alana strutted in a circle around her, Haim took the Grammys into their first commercial break with real rock & roll energy. We definitely understand how they got to where they are. —Christian Holub
Black Pumas and Eric Burton realize their dreams
It’s totally possible to manifest your ultimate dream, and Black Pumas is proof. Only six years ago, singer/songwriter Eric Burton was busking on the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, and on Sunday night he was performing at the Grammys alongside guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada for a soulful rendition of their hit “Colors.” It’s the kind of heartwarming, inspiring moment that made the entire ceremony feel worth it. “It’s amazing,” Burton told host Trevor Noah, adding that it doesn’t matter if he’s performing for one person on the sidewalk or millions during the Grammys. “Once you’re a king, you’re always a king.”
Megan Thee Stallion gets emotional after winning Best New Artist
Awards shows can often feel overly produced, so it was a sweet moment seeing Megan Thee Stallion genuinely at a loss for words after she won Best New Artist. The Houston rapper has shot to stardom while dealing with personal tragedy, and her emotional acceptance speech also got us teary eyed. After thanking her fellow nominees and her record label, Megan paid tribute to her late mother. “She's not here with me today, but I know she's with me in spirit," Megan said. "She always believed I could do it.”
Dua Lipa brings down the house with her performance (and wardrobe changes)
If you weren’t a Dua Lipa fan already, you sure are now. The singer and dancer brought the house down with her one-two punch performance of “Levitating” and “Don’t Start Now.” What started as a closeup on Dua in a purple suit singing against a kaleidoscopic background reached another level with not one, not two, but three outfit changes as she demonstrated her dancing skills are just as top tier as her singing and songwriting. Is there anything she can’t do?
Silk Sonic takes us back to the '70s
Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars' superduo Silk Sonic finally answered the question "What if the Stylistics but for 2021?" Their performance of "Leave the Door Open" from their forthcoming record had as much gloosy '70s style as a Soul Train telecast — complete with large-lapeled suits, cheesy background stars, and oh-so-smooth vocals.
DaBaby's 'Rockstar' remix
DaBaby not only gave his acoustic guitar-bumping 2020 hit "Rockstar" an orchestral remix — complete with electric violin solo — he brought what appeared to be California's slate of circuit judges to back him up on vocals. Odd? Yes. Fun? No doubt.
A moving In Memoriam segment
We lost some music titans in the past year, and the Grammys did their legacies justice with a moving In Memoriam segment featuring performances from stars personally impacted by some of the artists who had died. This part of the show was beautiful from start to finish, but we were especially touched when Lionel Richie celebrated his late friend, Kenny Rogers, by singing “Lady,” a song they collaborated on. "I miss you, Kenny. I miss you, man," said Richie.
Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's sizzling 'WAP' performance
Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion finally got to link up and perform their hit "WAP" live, and it was everything we hoped for and more. There weren’t any big cats, but the enormous stripper heel prop, the rap stars’ twerk skills, and the wild neon graphics in the background made the performance one you’ll want to watch over and over again.
Indie music venue love
It’s no mystery that the music industry, especially its music venues, have been hurt by COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why it was so special to see the Grammys give the honor of announcing the winners in several categories to iconic indie venues around the country that have been responsible for putting some of the biggest music stars on the map. The winner of Best Country Album was named from the Station-Inn in Nashville, a rep from the Troubadour in West Hollywood, Calif., announced the winner of Best Pop Solo performance, a rep from the Apollo in New York City presented Best Rap Song, and a bartender at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood revealed the Album of the Year winner.
Tributes to the 2020 protests
The Grammys made several references to the summer 2020 protests against police violence that erupted across the country in the wake of Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin's killing of George Floyd. Less than a week after Chauvin’s trial for manslaughter and third-degree murder finally began in Minnesota, H.E.R. won Song of the Year at the Grammys for “I Can’t Breathe,” a song named after Eric Garner’s dying words with lyrics about racial injustice and the recent outcries against it.
Lil Baby went even further with his performance of “The Bigger Picture.” As dancers and actors dressed up as protesters clashing with armored cops took over the stage, activist Tamika Mallory called on President Joe Biden to heed the protesters’ call for change, and Killer Mike showed up to rap some of his lyrics from Run the Jewels’ song “Walking in the Snow.” Even in a night full of show-stopping performances, it was a powerful sequence.