‘This Is America’ Won Two Huge Grammys — But Donald Glover Was Nowhere To Be Found

On May 5, 2018, Childish Gambino dropped what quickly became his signature song and visual accompaniment, a protest tune called “This Is America” whose video blended iconic dance moves and maniacal stares with senseless violence. It was a melange of the country that birthed it.

The song got huge, so huge that it ended up nominated for four Grammy awards — Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Rap/Sung Performance, Best Music Video. Sunday night (February 10), it won them all. But the man at the center of its creation, Donald Glover, wasn’t around to access any of the awards. He skipped out on the ceremony altogether.

Grammys host Alicia Keys and presenter John Mayer accepted Song of the Year (one of the so-called Big Four awards) on his behalf earlier in the night. But when it came time to celebrate for Record of the Year (another Big Four category, one that honors the song in all its technical, behind-the-scenes assembly), co-writer Ludwig Göransson stepped up to the mic to share a few thoughts.

“Creating music with Childish Gambino has been one of the greatest joys of my life,” he said. “As a kid growing up in Sweden, loving American music, I always dreamed of migrating here, work with brilliant artists like Donald Glover. I really wish he was here with us right now because this is truly his vision and he deserves this credit.”

“No matter where you’re born or what country you’re from, you connect with ‘This Is America,'” Göransson continued. “It speaks to people. It connects right to your soul. It calls out injustice, celebrates life, and reunites us all at the same time.”

He also took time to thank 21 Savage, a two-time nominee who was absent from the Grammys due to being detained by ICE agents last week, and said he “should be here tonight.”

But it was Glover’s absence from the show itself that felt intentional — perhaps as a statement of protest, like the way Drake accepted Best Rap Song by calling into question the very notion of the Grammys as an institution. Or perhaps he was just busy.

As Pitchfork points out, “This Is America” is the first hip-hop song in history to win Song of the Year, a fact that pairs nicely with Cardi B’s milestone as the first solo female rapper to take home Best Rap Album.

The statues don’t lie: “This Is America” took home half of the Grammys’ Big Four awards on Sunday night, even if Glover wasn’t there to accept them. At least we got to see him dancing on a commercial during the telecast. Watch that clip below, then maybe go watch “This Is America” again. After all, it’s still time to celebrate.

Kacey Musgraves Is Queen Of The Grammys With Her ‘Really Crazy’ Album Of The Year Win

It’s Kacey Musgraves‘s golden hour at the Grammys.

After earning three awards earlier in the evening on Sunday (February 10), the country superstar took home the night’s top honor: Album of the Year. Her radiant Golden Hour bested some formidable competition that included Drake’s massive Scorpion, Cardi B’s breakout Invasion of Privacy, and the Kendrick Lamar-curated Black Panther: The Album.

Musgraves seemed more shocked than anyone as she took the stage, admitting, “It was unbelievable to even be in a category with such gigantic albums. Really brilliant works of art. It’s really crazy, but I’m very thankful.”

She continued, “And I know that winning this doesn’t make my album better than anyone else’s in that category. They’re all so good and life is pretty tumultuous right now for all of us. … And I feel that, because of that, art is really thriving and it’s been really beautiful to see that. Thank you for championing mine.”

Earlier in the evening, Musgraves gave a beautifully simple performance of her Golden Hour ballad “Rainbow,” then joined Katy Perry in a tribute to Dolly Parton alongside the legend herself. She also took home the awards for Best Country Album, Best Country Solo Performance for “Butterflies,” and Best Country Song for “Space Cowboy.” It was a show largely dominated by women, and Musgraves was queen of it all.

Cardi B Makes History As The First Solo Female Best Rap Album Grammy Winner

After a whirlwind breakout year and even greater success to begin her 2019, Cardi B can add the Recording Academy’s Best Rap Album to her list of legendary achievements. The record-breaking rapper took the stage at the 61st Grammy Awards with Offset by her side in utter amazement and accepted her accolade for her album Invasion of Privacy. She beat out Mac Miller‘s Swimming, Pusha-T‘s Daytona, Travis Scott‘s Astroworld, and Nipsey Hussle‘s Victory Lap.

From the second that Cardi stepped onto the stage to accept the award, she was a mess of nerves and tears. It took the steely calm smirk of Offset to help Cardi regain her composure as she worked to find the words to properly explain her feelings.

“Babe I can’t breathe,” she began, blinking back tears. “Oh, the nerves are so bad,” she said between gasps. “Maybe I need to start smoking weed.” The crowd erupted into laughter.

Of the laundry list of people that she went on to thank, her heartfelt mention of her daughter, Kulture, was the centerpiece of the moment, acknowledging her impending presence when she was pregnant as the catalyst of the inspiration to finish Invasion of Privacy. Cardi left the stage much calmer than before and content with her words.

Cardi was definitely out of breath from her mesmerizing and adventurous performance of “Money” earlier tonight. If she was on her way to regaining her energy following her musical number and acceptance speech, she might fall out again when she realizes that she’s the first female solo artist to win the Best Rap Album Grammy in history. Give this woman her crown already.

Dua Lipa Sends A Motivational Message During Her Grammy Speech: ‘I Believe In You’

Dua Lipa is officially two for two at the Grammys!

During the awards show on Sunday night (February 10), the 23-year-old was crowned Best New Artist, reigning supreme in a stacked category that also included H.E.R., Jorja Smith, Margo Price, Chloe x Halle, Luke Combs, Bebe Rexha, and Greta Van Fleet. After accepting the trophy from last year’s Best New Artist victor, Alessia Cara, Lipa fought back tears while thanking her fans, “who have allowed me to be the best version of myself.”

Lipa — who admitted she was “nervous and excited and grateful” to accept the honor — also acknowledged how cool it was to be nominated alongside so many stellar female artists. “I guess this year we’ve really stepped up,” she observed, referring to last year’s infamously ignorant “step up” comment about women in music.

The “New Rules” hitmaker ended her speech on a motivational note, preaching, “For anyone that hasn’t realized how special they are to have a different story, a different background, a name that honors their roots, because they just want to be normal, whatever the hell that means … never let that get in the way of you and your dreams because you deserve it. I’m proof that you can do whatever you put your mind to. I believe in you.”

Just minutes before accepting the award, Lipa shared the stage with St. Vincent, performing a medley of Vincent’s “MASSEDUCATION” and Lipa’s own “One Kiss.” The former shredded on guitar, the latter danced around seductively, and their matching haircuts were, naturally, on point.

Lipa’s other Grammy win — to which she had the cutest reaction ever — came during the pre-show, when her collaboration with Silk City (Diplo and Mark Ronson) won Best Dance Recording for “Electricity.” And thus, Lipa officially has a Grammy winning streak to her name!

Chloe x Halle Sounded As Perfect As Ever During Grammys Donny Hathaway Tribute

Four years after being signed to Beyoncé’s record label, Chloe x Halle are getting the recognition they deserve, one perfect performance at a time. That trend continued during their tribute to soul singer Donny Hathaway at the 61st Grammy Awards, as the 20- and 18-year-old sisters proved their vocal chops singing “Where Is The Love.”

Chloe x Halle first gained viral fame from their viral covers on YouTube, including “Pretty Hurts” by Beyoncé, in which the sisters consistently hit precise, complicated harmonies. With the release of their Best Urban Contemporary Album-nominated debut album, The Kids Are Alright, Chloe x Halle haven’t stopped those harmonies.

The sisters caused a stir just a week ago at Super Bowl LIII, before which they performed “America the Beautiful” for tens of millions of viewers nationwide. “I’m so proud of Chloe and Halle,” Beyoncé wrote on her Instagram, sharing their performance.

Even more people learned Chloe x Halle’s names tonight, as the duo burst further into the mainstream with their rendition of “Where Is The Love” by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway, 40 years after Hathaway’s untimely death. The original recording won a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1973.

The duo didn’t miss a note – as per usual – and showed the audience why they also earned a nomination as this year’s Best New Artist, an award Dua Lipa won shortly after their performance.

“Thank you so much, Donny Hathaway,” the sisters said to end their tribute. “Your music lives on forever.”

Travis Scott’s Grammys Performance Was A Steel-Cage Match Of Him Against The World

Travis Scott is known for his explosive, utterly dynamic, and ambitious live performances. At the 2018 VMAs, he literally emerged from a massive golden head of his own image before setting the stage ablaze. And during his Astroworld live shows, he’s been known to recreate an entire theme park onstage, even going along for the ride. When he took the stage at the 2019 Grammys on Sunday night (February 10), it looked like he was actually taking things very slow this time — but that only lasted a moment.

Joined by James Blake and R&B singer Philip Bailey, the mood took a contemplative turn as the vocalists united for the downbeat “Stop Trying to Be God” and it looked like we were getting another side of Travis. Then, nearly just as quickly as we’d settled into that, the steel cage came down. And Travis found himself in the center.

The vibe shifted as soon as he launched into “No Bystanders,” and from the middle of the throng, Travis climbed the cage and jumped off of it — because this is Music’s Biggest Night™️, after all. This is the same man, by the way, who absolutely owned the Super Bowl halftime show just a week ago. What a time to be Travis Scott.

As supporters rushed the stage, surrounded him, and eventually carried him to a successful conclusion, it was clear: this night was meant as a cage match of Travis vs. the world. And he won.

ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Travis was nominated for three Grammys this year: Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song for “Sicko Mode,” and Best Rap Album for Astroworld, which he could end up going home with before the night is over. If he doesn’t, we’ll always have that cage match. And the best leap from the top of a steel structure since Mick Foley in 1998.

Drake Wins Best Rap Song At Grammys, Tells Nominees That Awards Don’t Matter

The race for Best Rap Song at the 61st Grammy Awards was neck and neck and neck and neck and neck. It was tough, but Drake won the award for “God’s Plan,” beating out “King’s Dead” by Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Future, and James Blake; “Lucky You” by Eminem featuring Joyner Lucas; “Sicko Mode” by Travis Scott, Drake (again), and Swae Lee; and “Win” by Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar. In his acceptance speech, the clearly startled Toronto rapper let loose on an inspirational tirade that let everyone know that, regardless of who received the trophy, all of the nominees were winners. Check out the speech below.

Drake’s speech went in-depth on the politics of winning awards in the rap space. “We play in an opinion-based sport, not a factually based sport, so it’s not like the NBA where at the end of the year you are holding a trophy because you made the right decisions or won the game,” he said. He then went on a surprising tangent, decrying the importance of the awards. “You’ve already won if you have people who are singing your songs word for word, if you are a hero in your hometown, if there are people who have regular jobs coming out in the rain in the snow spending their hard-earned money to buy tickets to come to your shows, you don’t need this, I promise you – you’ve already won,” he said.

Drake’s win comes on the back of six other nominations this year. He would know a thing or two about both winning and being passed up on these awards; over the course of his entire career, he’s been nominated for 42 Grammys and only won three. If one of the highest-selling musicians of today gets passed over for accolades and still makes magic happen, maybe there are some nuggets of truth to his words tonight.

Lady Gaga Went Off The Deep End While Performing ‘Shallow’ At The Grammys

Ain’t it hard keeping it so hardcore, Lady Gaga?

The songstress really lived up to the lyrics of her Golden Globe- and BAFTA-winning song from A Star Is Born, “Shallow,” during her performance at the 2019 Grammys on Sunday (February 10). Joined by her friend and frequent collaborator, Mark Ronson, Gaga pushed the Oscar-nominated pop-rock ballad off the deep end with a performance that was part performance art, part shimmering pop opera. There was drama! Rhinestones! Twirls! And a final, lingering stare into the camera.

To sum it up: It was the perfect reminder that Oscar voting opens Tuesday, February 12 — and Lady Gaga is up for not only Best Original Song — which she has in the bag at this point — but also Best Actress. And after the memorable performance she gave on-stage at the Grammys, how can she not be at the forefront of voters’ minds?

Gaga scored five Grammy nominations this year, four of them for “Shallow.” She’s already taken home three Grammys tonight — including Best Pop Solo Performance for “Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?)” — so if the woman wants to writhe on-stage in glitter and platform heels, then she can, OK? She’s earned it.

Rock on, Gaga.

H.E.R.’s Guitar-Shredding Grammy Performance Was A Hell Of A Debut

Who is H.E.R.? That was a question on many people’s minds after the breakout R&B star received a windfall of Grammy nominations in December. Her performance at the awards show on Sunday night (February 10), though, answered it definitively: she’s a musical force to be reckoned with whose name you’re going to remember for a long, long time.

Taking center stage with a single spotlight on her, the 21-year-old rocked her signature dark shades and hit all the marks while singing “Hard Place.” Things kicked up a notch when she started shredding on a transparent electric guitar (she told MTV News on the red carpet that the instrument was designed especially for her by Fender) and as the stage lights brightened, a full band and a choir of singers emerged behind her. Oh, and BTS were totally feeling it, too.

Prior to her performance, H.E.R. was announced as the winner of Best R&B Performance for “Best Part,” her sweet duet with Daniel Caesar. She’s up for an additional four awards on Sunday: Album of the Year, Best New Artist, Best R&B Song for “Focus,” and Best R&B Album.

Surely, it’s a star-making night for H.E.R., and to hear her tell it, it’s practically serendipitous. The artist — who’s MTV’s Push: Artist to Watch for February — recently told us, “It feels like the possibilities are endless. It feels like, wow, I’m where I’m supposed to be. All my hard work is paying off. Everything I’ve dreamt about is here. My time is really now.”

Cardi B Makes Offset Stick His Tongue Out With ‘Money’ Performance At The Grammys

Cardi B can really do it all. While sitting at the 61st Grammy Awards waiting to see if she’ll take home any trophies in the categories that she’s nominated in, she also brought the performance smackdown to the stage with her tour de force live rendition of “Money.” We can only imagine what it felt like live; we can feel fresh waves of adrenaline radiating from our television sets.

Lester Cohen/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Cardi’s majestic performance of “Money” featured a flurry of women clad in black bodysuits while another pounded the piano as if her life depended on it. The rapper was the centerpiece and main attraction with her retro hairdo, demanding eyes be glued to her alluring figure and mesmerizing performance. The entire number felt like being in a jazz den in the 1940s, the viewer starring as a nameless detective who has been enchanted by a stunning femme fatale.

Cardi gracefully moved around the stage with her sensual moves and bouncing body parts, eventually becoming encased in a black flower. At this moment, the camera cut to Offset, her estranged husband, in the audience clearly feeling the performance, staring at Cardi on stage with his tongue out. That could mean a lot of things! Cardi exclaimed, “Welcome to the Grammys!” in her performance, and now it looks like the festivities can truly begin.

Cardi was nominated for not one, two, or three awards this year; she was up for five. This year, she could possibly still take home the trophies for Record of the Year (“I Like It“), Album of the Year (Invasion of Privacy), and Best Rap Album (Invasion of Privacy). It’s a major step up from last year when she received only two nominations for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song for her breakout single “Bodak Yellow.” And it feels right. The night’s still young, after all.