GRAMMY’s 2019 Highlights: Surprises, Big Wins, Pointed Speeches And More

Andie Manahan

February 11, 2019

On Sunday (February 10), music’s best came together at the Staples Center in L.A. The night was filled with almost four hours of stunning performances, exciting wins, emotional speeches and surprise appearances.


Here are some of the highlights from the 2019 Grammy Awards.


Alicia Keys is the first woman to host the awards show in a decade. Not only did she emcee the evening’s proceedings – she also wowed the crowd with brilliant covers and playing TWO pianos simultaneously.


Michelle Obama got the crowd all excited when she made a surprise appearance onstage alongside Alicia, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, and Jada Pinkett-Smith. The women talked about their appreciation for music, and Michelle gave a nod to Beyonce in her message. Here’s what the former first lady had to say:


“From the Motown records I wore out on the South Side to the ‘Who Run the World’ songs that fueled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story . . . whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves. Our dignity, our sorrows, our hopes and joys. 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.”


It was an evening of stellar performances – from Dolly Parton’s star-studded, almost 10-minute set, where Kacey Musgraves, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Maren Morris and Little Big Town joined her onstage and performed a medley of her greatest hits, to Diana Ross’ emotional 75th Birthday mini-concert.


Jennifer Lopez teamed up with Smokey Robinson for the Motown Medley. Lady Gaga gave a sparkling performance of “Shallow” – complete with catsuit and microphone covered in jewels – backed by “Shallow” co-writer Mark Ronson on guitar. Janelle Monae and Travis Scott brought electric energy to the crowd with their performances.


“God’s Plan” won Best Rap Song, but Drake’s speech was cut-off midway. “We play in an opinion-based sport, not a factual-based sport,” he said, as he accepted his gramophone. “This is a business where sometimes it’s up to a bunch of people that might not understand what a mixed-race kid from Canada has to say… the point is you’ve already won if you have people who are singing your songs word for word, if you’re a hero in your hometown.”


“Look, if there’s people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain and snow, spending money to buy tickets to your shows, you don’t need this right here. You already won,” he said before getting cut off.


The Grammys later issued a statement to explain that cutting off Drake’s speech was not at all intentional.


“During Drake’s speech, there was a natural pause and at that moment the producers did assume that he was done and then cut to commercial,” Sunshine Sachs’ Michael Samonte said in a statement to Variety. “However, the producers did speak with Drake following his speech and did offer him to come back on stage to finish whatever his thoughts were. But Drake said he was happy with what he said and didn’t have anything to add.”


Dua Lipa was hailed this year’s Best New Artist and may have just thrown some shade at Recording Academy President Neil Portnow in her acceptance speech. “I guess where I want to begin is by saying how honored I am to be nominated alongside so many incredible female artists this year because this year I guess we really stepped up?” she said, referencing his comments after last year’s awards.

Cardi B became the first female solo artist to win Best Rap Album at the GRAMMYs for Invasion Of Privacy. The award left her quite speechless, but when she recovered herself, she gave props to her baby daughter Kulture for the win. “When I found out I was pregnant, my album was not complete. I had, like, three songs I was for sure having. And then you know how it was: We was like, ‘We have to get this album done so I could shoot these videos while I’m still not showing.’ And it was very long nights.”


She later went on IG to share her GRAMMY with Mac Miller. “I read an article that Mac Miller’s family said if he don’t win, they want me to win, so I’m sharing this Grammy with you.”


Chris Cornell’s children, daughter Toni and son Christopher, went up the stage to accept their father’s post-humous GRAMMY award for Best Rock Performance for the song “When Bad Does Good.”


“He is a rock icon, the godfather of grunge and the creator of a movement, whose contribution to music history made a lasting impact across genres and generations. He was also one of the greatest poets of his time, whose soaring, unforgettable vocals made him the voice of a generation,” Christopher said. “While he touched the hearts of millions, the most important thing he is known for, to us, is being the greatest father and our hero.”


“Thank you to our mom, his love, his muse, his savior,” Toni added. “This is for you, daddy, and we love you so much.”


Kacey Musgraves had a golden night, taking home four GRAMMYs – Album of The Year and Best Country Album for Golden Hour, Best Country Song for “Space Cowboy,” and Best Country Solo Performance for “Butterflies.”


Childish Gambino, won big AND made GRAMMY history – but he wasn’t even there! “This Is America” is the first song ever to win both Song Of The Year AND Record Of The Year at the same time, and is the first rap tune to win Song of the Year. The song also bagged Best Music Video and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.


Last week, it was announced that Ariana Grande would not be performing at the GRAMMYs due to creative differences. Apparently, she didn’t just skip performing – she skipped the entire show. The “7 Rings” singer still got all dressed up, though, and totally rocked her baby blue Zac Posen gown – hard.


Ari won Best Pop Vocal Album for Sweetener – her first GRAMMY win – and she took to Instagram to celebrate, writing, “I know I’m not there tonight (trust, I tried and still truly wished it had worked out tbh) and I know I said I try not to put too much weight into these things …. but f–k …….this is wild and beautiful. thank you so much.”


Other notable absentees were Jay-Z & Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift, and Ed Sheeran.