From the very first moment she took the Grammys stage, host Alicia Keys made it clear the night would be about paying tribute to music.
And it was Keys herself who delivered one of the most powerful performances of the night – with a medley that included classics from five different decades.
Sat between two pianos, the 38-year-old songstress wowed the audience at the Los Angeles Staples Center on Sunday as she began to play them both at the same time.
Singing sensation: Alicia Keys delivered one of the most powerful performances of the Grammys as she took the stage with two pianos, which she played at the same time
‘I’ve been thinking so much about the people and the music that have inspired me, and I want to give a shout out to Hazel Scott because I always wanted to play to pianos,’ she said, referring to the late jazz pianist and movie star.
‘You know those songs that live inside of you and live inside of me, and you just love it so much, because it was done so well that you wish you wrote it?’
‘That’s how I feel about these songs. I wish I wrote them.’
Keys first began with the song that she said she thinks about when she reflects on ‘heartache and heartbreak’, playing Roberta Flack’s 1973 tune Killing Me Softly, later popularized by Lauryn Hill and The Fugees.
‘Or when it’s time to move on, this is the song,’ she said, breaking into Juice World’s recent hit Lucid Dreams before switching to Nat King Cole’s 1952 classic Unforgettable.
Keys said her medley was inspired by the songs that were done so well she wished she had written them herself
Keys first began with the song that she thinks about when she reflects on ‘heartache and heartbreak’, playing Roberta Flack’s 1973 tune Killing Me Softly
‘Now, who didn’t wish they wrote this song? I know I do,’ she said as she began singing Kings of Leon’s 2008 hit Use Somebody.
That turned into In My Feelings, Drake’s song of the summer, and Boo’d Up by Ella Mai before Keys began playing Doo-Wop (That Thing), saying she wished she had written the entire Miseducation of Lauryn Hill album.
‘Then, finally, you write the song you wish you wrote,’ Keys said before she broke into her own tune Empire State Of Mind.
Keys’ medley was an instant hit on Twitter, with many calling it the best performance in a Grammys that had already been praised throughout the night.
Keys’ medley was an instant hit on Twitter, with many calling it the best performance in a Grammys that had already been praised throughout the night
‘Okay but who is doing it like Alicia Keys she literally has more stage presence than half the industry and she’s only up there with two pianos,’ one fan wrote.
‘Alicia Keys is refreshing everyone’s memory on why she’s one of the greatest of all time,’ one commenter wrote.
‘When the best performer of the night is also the host. #GRAMMYs @aliciakeys,’ another added.
Ana Navarro joked that Alicia Keys was doing such a good job she should ‘just go ahead and host the Oscars too’.
Many said they would’ve been happy to keep watching Keys perform for the rest of the night
‘God exists and loves us, and the proof is Alicia Keys,’ quipped Ben Domenech, while on fan added: ‘ I don’t know if there is a God, but if there is, she listens to Alicia Keys.’
Many said they would’ve been happy to keep watching Keys perform for the rest of the night.
‘The @aliciakeys two piano medley was the best thing on tv tonight, this week, probably for a very long time,’ one fan wrote.
‘I could have settled in for a whole Alicia Keys concert after that performance, didn’t want it to end,’ another added.
Billy Eichner was among the many who also praised Keys’ hosting abilities during the night
‘Give me Alicia Keys and 2 pianos the rest of the night and I’m good,’ one viewer quipped.
‘I’m the epitome of non-target market of Grammys. You know what, I’ll tune in every year if @aliciakeys hosts and does a 20-minute riff of everyone’s best songs,’ added Paul Kane.
Many marveled at Keys’ ability to host the show with ease and then pull off an incredible performance, which some suspected was actually a filler after Ariana Grande pulled out of the show last minute.
‘Alicia Keys is a godsend. Most folks have no idea what a heavy lift it is to host a show of this magnitude. Then to straddle two pianos and belt out a complication performance of, what, 7 or 8 songs? Simply. Amazing,’ one fan wrote.
Fashion parade: Alicia rocked an array of show-stopping looks throughout the ceremony, kicking off by hitting the red carpet in a plunging scarlet gown, before changing into an emerald dress, caped gown and leather jumpsuit
Two’s company: Keys kicked off the Grammys with a surprise appearance from Michelle Obama. The pair are longtime friends
Glamorous: The singing sensation joined her longtime pal Michelle on the stage for an empowering speech
Loving life: Later Keys wowed the audience with her singing chops again as she crooned with Smokey Robinson before the Motown tribute began
Keys also got back on stage to sing and dance with Jennifer Lopez during the tribute
‘Hats off to Alicia Keys…What a magnificent performance at #GRAMMYs both as a presenter and (incredible) singer and piano player,’ another added.
‘Award shows are hard – this is a fantastic show. Diana. Dolly. And @aliciakeys is perfect,’ Billy Eichner wrote.
‘Giving @aliciakeys the keys to the #GRAMMYs was a very good idea,’ another added.
Keys was the first woman to host the Grammys since Queen Latifah was given the honor in 2005.
And she didn’t take the position lightly, kicking off the night with Michelle Obama, crooning with Smokey Robinson, and dancing with Jennifer Lopez.
During her opening monologue, Keys made it clear that the night would be about music and the joy that it can bring.
‘Do you feel that love in the building? This is love, this is life, this is living, this is light and all because of music,’ she told the audience.
‘Music is so powerful. So you see we’re gonna have an incredible time tonight, this is just the beginning.’
‘Music is what we cry to. It’s what we march to. It’s what we rock to. It’s what we make love to. It’s our shared global language, and when you really want to say something, you say it with a song, am I right? Or am I right?’
Later in the ceremony, Keys welcomed Michelle Obama onto the stage, with the former First Lady stunning the star-studded audience as she joined a plethora of female singers beneath the bright lights.
Fans were screaming and blowing kisses to Michelle as she smiled before saying ‘We’ve got a show to do!’ and began laughing with her co-presenters.
Michelle absolutely sparkled as she stood alongside Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Keys to discuss how music has always helped her tell her story.
‘From the Motown records that I wore out on the Southside, to the Who Run The World songs that fueled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story and I know that’s true for everyone here,’ Michelle said, throwing in a quick tribute to Beyonce as the audience went wild.
‘Music helps us share ourselves, our dignity and sorrows, our hopes our joys,’ she continued.
‘It allows us to hear one another – to invite each other in. Music shows us that all of it matters…every story within every voice, every note within every song.’
Michelle walked onto the stage in a dazzling Sachin & Babi outfit that featured a billowing silver blouse with matching slacks and a sparkling belt wrapped above her hips.
It was certainly a night for female empowerment, as women won big at the action-packed ceremony, with the likes of Cardi B, Kacey Musgraves, and Lady Gaga some of the biggest winners.
Cardi, 26, made history as she became the first ever solo woman to take home Best Rap Album for Invasion Of Privacy at the gala event held in Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The big win was quickly followed by 30-year-old Musgraves who won the biggest award of the night; Album Of The Year for Golden Hour.
Earlier in the evening Lady Gaga was emotional as she earned Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for her work on Shallow from the A Star Is Born soundtrack.
The emotional high point of the night happened as Cardi looked absolutely stunned as she won in the male-dominated category beating out Pusha-T, Travis Scott, Nipsey Hussle, and the late Mac Miller.
Cardi seemed overwhelmed as she received her honor as she joked: ‘Oh, the nerves are so bad. Maybe I need to start smoking weed!’
Obviously taken aback by the moment, Cardi had to hold the hand of her Migos member husband, Offset, during her speech.
It was a show of support amid the marital issues they have had over the past year as the 27-year-old rapper even kissed her hand during her acceptance speech.
Cardi B told the crowd she found out she was pregnant before her album was completed. She was under pressure to finish it and do video shoots before she began showing.
‘He was like you’re going to do this album,’ she said of Offset. ‘We’re going to have this baby and do this album.’
Cardi B is just the fifth woman ever nominated in the category, which was created in 1995. Lauryn Hill was part of the Fugees when the group won in 1997 for The Score.
Musgraves led the field with the most Grammys on the night as she earned four including the top honor. Childish Gambino tied her with four for most wins on the night.
She also won three-of-the-four country awards at the event including Best Country Album once again for the critically-acclaimed Golden Hour.
The 30-year-old star beat out heavy competition including Kelsea Ballerini, Brothers Osborne, Ashley McBryde, and Chris Stapleton.
Kacey also won Best Country Solo Performance for her song Butterfly and Best Country Song for track Space Cowboy.
The first award of the night was presented to 32-year-old Gaga who won for Shallow.
The 32-year-old singer accepted the award on behalf of herself and Bradley Cooper for the A Star Is Born soundtrack hit as the 44-year-old actor/director attended the BAFTAs on the same day.
Gaga urged the audience to be more compassionate when it comes to mental health issues as she said: ‘If you see somebody that’s hurting, don’t look away.
‘If you’re hurting, even though it might be hard, try to find that bravery within yourself to dive deep and tell somebody.’
The New York-native was already a double winner as earlier in the night she earned Best Pop Solo Performance for her album Joanne.
It was also A Star Is Born’s second win of the night as earlier they were announced as the winners in the Best Song Written For Visual Media category.
Dua Lipa kept the night of ‘girl power’ going as she earned the coveted Best New Artist trophy and covered her face in shock backstage as she was announced as the winner after a stirring performance with St Vincent.
The 23-year-old London-born singer was teary-eyed as she hit the stage but still managed to take a jab at the Recording Academy president Neil Portnow and his declaration at least year’s show that women ‘need to step up.’
His comments, an explanation for the lack of female nominees and winners at previous shows, were poorly received by audiences and musicians.
‘Where I want to begin is by saying how honored I am to be nominated alongside so many incredible female artists this years,’ she said. ‘I guess this year we’ve really stepped up.’
Dua donned an edgy black and white dress festooned with golden safety pins as she included a shout out to her fans who helped propel her to success.
She said ‘I want to say a really big thank you to my fans, who have allowed me to be the best version of myself. I love you guys very much,’ she said with palpable emotion.
Earlier in the afternoon she also won Best Dance Recording for Electricity.
Another big winner on the night was H.E.R. who earned two awards including a win in the Best R&B Album category.
The 21-year-old artist – real name Gabriella Wilson – beat out a tough field including Toni Braxton and Leon Bridges.
During her acceptance speech the singer -whose stage acronym stands for Having Everything Revealed – said: ‘I’m speechless right now. I’m holding back tears.’
The half-Filipina star lit up the stage with a stirring performance of her ballad Hard Place.
Earlier in the night she won Best R&B Performance for Best Part, which featured Daniel Caesar.
Childish Gambino AKA Donald Glover was not in attendance at the event but he did earn one of the highest honors of the night: Song Of The Year For This Is America en route to tying Musgraves for most on the night with four.
It was the first time Song Of The Year had ever been won by a rap song as the 35-year-old multihyphenate sent producer Ludwig Göransson and Derek ‘MixedByAli’ Ali to accept the prize in his honor.
Gambino’s masterpiece This Is America also earned wins in the Record Of The Year, Best Rap/Sung Performance, and Best Music video categories.
Donald Glover was not in attendance at the event but he did earn one of the biggest honors of the night; Song Of The Year for This Is America.
Later on in the evening, Drake beat out pal Travis Scott as they competed in the Best Rap Song category.
The 32-year-old Canadian rapper took home Best Rap Song for God’s Plan at the Aside from Travis, Drake edged out quite the impressive field including Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, and Jay Rock.
Drake sent a message during his acceptance speech as he said: ‘We play an opinion based sport, not a factual based sport.
‘You already won if you have people singing your songs word for word, if they’re singing in your hometown. You’re already winning, you don’t need this right here.
One of the most talked about performances of the night came from Jennifer Lopez who did a 60th anniversary tribute to Motown.
Flaunting her dancer’s figure in a glittering bodysuit, she blew through a series of dizzying moves with reliable showmanship.
The 49-year-old’s gig attracted online backlash before it occurred, owing to the fact that she is not black and was never signed with Motown.
Jenny From The Block also shared the stage during her medley with the evening’s compere Alicia Keys for Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone, War and Square Biz.
As the tribute wore on, Jennifer leaped up onto a pink piano and lay on her back, singing up a storm as Ne-Yo accompanied her at the keys for Another Star.
One of the most emotional parts of the night came during a tribute for Dolly Parton as the country legend was joined by Musgraves and Katy Perry as they opened a medley of some of the 73-year-old’s greatest hits.
Miley Cyrus joined in on the fun as she sung Jolene – which she has done routinely in recent years – but this time she did it next to her godmother.
Maren Morris and Little Big Town also hit the stage as the band even included Linda Perry.
Alicia Keys proved that she was the hostess with the mostess as she began her monologue to a standing ovation.
The 38-year-old music superstar acknowledged ‘sister’ Tracee Ellis Ross as well as honoree Dolly Parton.
She then proceeded to bring out some of her sisters including Jada Pinkett Smith, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, and big surprise former first lady Michelle Obama.
Camila Cabello opened the show with a fun performance of her smash hit Havana. She was joined by Ricky Martin and Bad Bunny.
Despite making her name as one of music’s biggest stars in the past year, Ariana Grande was noticeably absent from the show after a disagreement with the show’s producer.
Before the ceremony, it was announced that she had won the coveted Best Pop Vocal award for her work on Sweetener.
She beat out tough competition including Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello.
The singer had been due to take to the stage at the gala to sing one of her tracks, but it was reported earlier this week that she now won’t even be in attendance at the event following a dispute with the organizers.
Grande claims she pulled out of performing at the Grammy awards because her ‘creativity and self expression was stifled’ by the producers.
Ariana has since broken her silence on the matter, claiming producers of the event refused to allow her to show her ‘creativity’, despite her offering up ‘three different songs’ that she could perform.
Grammy Award winners 2019
RECORD OF THE YEAR
This Is America – Childish Gambino – WINNER
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Golden Hour — Kacey Musgraves – WINNER
SONG OF THE YEAR
This Is America – Donald Glover and Ludwig Goransson, songwriters (Childish Gambino) – WINNER
Best New Artist
Dua Lipa – WINNER
Best Pop Solo Performance
Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?) – Lady Gaga – WINNER
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
Shallow – Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper – WINNER
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
My Way – Willie Nelson – WINNER
Best Pop Vocal Album
Sweetener – Ariana Grande – WINNER
Best Dance Recording
Electricity – Silk City and Dua Lipa Feat. Diplo and Mark Ronson – WINNER
Best Dance/Electronic Album
Woman Worldwide – Justice – WINNER
Best Country Solo Performance
Butterflies — Kacey Musgraves – WINNER
Best Country Duo/Group Performance:
Tequila – Dan + Shay – WINNER
Best Country Song
Space Cowboy – Luke Laird, Shane McAnally & Kacey Musgraves,songwriters (Kacey Musgraves) – WINNER
Best Country Album
Golden Hour – Kacey Musgraves – WINNER
Best Alternative Music Album
Colors – Beck – WINNER
Best R&B Performance
Best Part – H.E.R. Feat. Daniel Caesar – WINNER
Best Traditional R&B Performance
Bet Ain’t Worth The Hand – Leon Bridges – WINNER – TIE
How Deep Is Your Love – PJ Morton Featuring Yebba – WINNER – TIE
Best R&B Song
Boo’d Up – Larrance Dopson, Joelle James, Ella Mai & DijonMcFarlane, songwriters (Ella Mai) – WINNER
Best Urban Contemporary Album
Everything Is Love – The Carters – WINNER
Best R&B Album
H.E.R. – H.E.R. – WINNER
Contemporary Instrumental Field
Best Contemporary Instrumental Album
Steve Gadd Band — Steve Gadd Band – WINNER
Best Rock Performance
When Bad Does Good – Chris Cornell – WINNER
Best Metal Performance
Electric Messiah – High On Fire – WINNER
Best Rock Song
Masseduction – Jack Antonoff & Annie Clark, songwriters (St. Vincent) – WINNER
Best Rock Album
From The Fires – Greta Van Fleet – WINNER
Best Reggae Album
44/876 – Sting & Shaggy – WINNER
Best Children’s Album
All The Sounds – Lucy Kalantari & The Jazz Cats – WINNER
Best Latin Pop Album
Sincera – Claudia Brant – WINNER
Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album
Aztlán – Zoé – WINNER
Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano)
¡México Por Siempre! – Luis Miguel – WINNER
Best Tropical Latin Album
Anniversary – Spanish Harlem Orchestra – WINNER
Best Comedy Album
Equanimity & The Bird Revelation – Dave Chappelle – WINNER
Musical Theater Field
Best Musical Theater Album
The Band’s Visit – Etai Benson, Adam Kantor, Katrina Lenk & Ari’elStachel, principal soloists; Dean Sharenow & DavidYazbek, producers; David Yazbek, composer & lyricist(Original Broadway Cast) – WINNER
MUSIC VIDEO/FILM FIELD
Best Music Video
This Is America — Childish Gambino – WINNER
Best Music Film
Quincy — Quincy Jones
SURROUND SOUND FIELD
Best Immersive Audio Album
“Eye in The Sky – 35th Anniversary Edition” — Alan Parsons, surround mix engineer; Dave Donnelly, PJ Olsson & Alan Parsons, surround mastering engineers; Alan Parsons, surround producer (The Alan Parsons Project) – WINNER
Best Historical Album
“Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by WIlliam Ferris” — William Ferris, April Ledbetter & Steven LanceLedbetter, compilation producers; Michael Graves, mastering engineer (Various Artists) – WINNER
PRODUCTION, CLASSICAL FIELD
Best Engineered Album, Classical
“Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 11” — Shawn Murphy & Nick Squire, engineers; Tim Martyn, mastering engineer (Andris Nelsons & Boston Symphony Orchestra) – WINNER
Producer Of The Year, Classical
Blanton Alspaugh – WINNER
Best Album Notes
Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by WIlliam Ferris – David Evans, album notes writer (Various Artists) – WINNER
Best Rap Performance
King’s Dead – Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future & James Blake – WINNER
Best Rap/Sung Performance
This Is America – Childish Gambino – WINNER
Best Rap Song
God’s Plan – Aubrey Graham, Daveon Jackson, Brock Korsan, RonLaTour, Matthew Samuels & Noah Shebib, songwriters (Drake) – WINNER
Best Rap Album
Invasion Of Privacy – Cardi B – WINNER
New Age Field
Best New Age Album
Opium Moon – Opium Moon – WINNER
Best Improvised Jazz Solo
Don’t Fence Me In – John Daversa, soloist – WINNER
Best Jazz Vocal Album
The Window – Cécile McLorin Salvant – WINNER
Best Jazz Instrumental Album
Emanon – The Wayne Shorter Quartet – WINNER
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
American Dreamers: Voices Of Hope, Music Of Freedom – John Daversa Big Band Featuring DACA Artists – WINNER
Best Latin Jazz Album
Back To The Sunset – Dafnis Prieto Big Band – WINNER
Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Field
Best Gospel Performance/Song
Never Alone – Tori Kelly Featuring Kirk Franklin; Kirk Franklin & Victoria Kelly, Songwriters – WINNER
Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song
You Say – Lauren Daigle; Lauren Daigle, Jason Ingram & Paul Mabury, songwriters – WINNER
Best Gospel Album
Hiding Place – Tori Kelly – WINNER
Best Contemporary Christian Music Album
Look Up Child – Lauren Daigle – WINNER
Best Roots Gospel Album
Unexpected – Jason Crabb – WINNER
American Roots Music Field
Best American Roots Performance
The Joke – Brandi Carlile – WINNER
Best American Roots Song
The Joke – Brandi Carlile, Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth & Tim Hanseroth, songwriters (Brandi Carlile) – WINNER
Best Americana Album
By The Way, I Forgive You – Brandi Carlile – WINNER
Best Traditional Blues Album
The Blues Is Alive and Well — Buddy Guy – WINNER
Best Bluegrass Album
The Travelin’ McCourys” — The Travelin’ McCourys – WINNER
Best Contemporary Blues Album
“Please Don’t Be Dead” — Fantastic Negrito – WINNER
Best Folk Album
All Ashore — Punch Brothers – WINNER
Best Regional Roots Music Album
“No ‘Ane’i” — Kalani Pe’a – WINNER
Spoken Word Field
Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling)
Faith – A Journey For All – Jimmy Carter – WINNER
Music For Visual Media Field
Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media
The Greatest Showman – (Various Artists) – WINNER
Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media
Black Panther Ludwig Göransson, composer – WINNER
Best Song Written For Visual Media
Shallow – Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando & Andrew Wyatt, songwriters (Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper) – WINNER
Best Instrumental Composition
Blut und Boden (Blood and Soil) -Terence Blanchard, composer (Terence Blanchard) – WINNER
Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella
Stars and Stripes Forever – John Daversa, arranger (John Daversa Big Band Featuring DACA Artists) – WINNER
Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals
Spiderman Theme – Randy Waldman, arranger (Randy Waldman Featuring Take 6 & Chris Potter) – WINNER
Best Recording Package
Masseducation – Willo Perron, art director (St. Vincent) – WINNER
Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package
Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic – Meghan Foley, Annie Stoll & Al Yankovic, art directors (“Weird Al” Yankovic) – WINNER
PRODUCTION, NON-CLASSICAL FIELD
Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical:
“Colors” — Julian Burg, Serban Ghenea, David “Elevator” Greenbaum, John Hanes, Beck Hansen, Greg Kurstin, Florian Lagatta, Cole M.G.N., Alex Pasco, Jesse Shatkin, Darrell Thorp & Cassidy Turbin, engineers; Chris Bellman, Tom Coyne,Emily Lazar & Randy Merrill, mastering engineers (Beck) – WINNER
Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical:
Best Remixed Recording
“Walking Away (Mura Masa Remix)” — Alex Crossan, remixer (Haim) – WINNER
Best Orchestral Performance
“Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 11” — Andris Nelsons, conductor (Boston Symphony Orchestra) – WINNER
Best Opera Recording
“Bates: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” — Michael Christie, conductor; Sasha Cooke, Jessica E. Jones, Edwards Parks, Garrett Sorenson & Wei Wu; Elizabeth Ostrow, producer (The Santa Fe Opera Orchestra) – WINNER
Best Choral Performance
“McLoskey: Zealot Canticles” — Donald Nally, conductor (Doris Hall-Gulati, Rebecca Harris, Arlen Hlusko, Lorenzo Raval & Mandy Wolman; The Crossing) – WINNER
Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance
Anderson, Laurie: Landfall” — Laurie Anderson & Kronos – WINNER
Best Classical Instrumental Solo
“Kernis: Violin Concerto” — James Ehnes; Ludovic Morlot, conductor (Seattle Symphony) – WINNER
Best Classical Solo Vocal Album
“Songs of Orpheus – Monteverdi, Caccini, D’India & Landi” — Karim Sulayman; Jeannette Sorrell, conductor; Apollo’s Fire, ensembles – WINNER
Best Classical Compendium
“Fuchs: Piano Concerto ‘Spiritualist’; Poems of Life; Glacier; Rush” — JoAnn Falletta, conductor; Tim Handley, producer – WINNER
Best Contemporary Classical Composition
“Kernis: Violin Concerto” — Aaron Jay Kernis, composer (James Ehnes, Ludovic Morlot & Seattle Symphony) – WINNER
World Music Field
Best World Music Album
Freedom – Soweto Gospel Choir – WINNER