Grammys 2019: Stand out moments

The 61st Grammy Awards are being in Los Angeles. Lady Gaga has taken an early lead – with three awards.

Performances are due from Dolly Parton, St Vincent, Dua Lipa and Cardi B.

We’ll be updating this page with highlights from the ceremony as they happen.

Camila kicks things off in style

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Demonstrating the power and prominence of Latin Pop, the opening number was a huge, West Side Story-inspired extravaganza, starring Camila Cabello, Ricky Martin, J Balvin and renowned Cuban-American trumpeter Arturo Sandoval.

Cabello got the party started, performing Havana in a mock-up of her grandmother’s childhood home in a canary yellow two-piece dress (her grandmother even took part in the performance).

After an intricate piece of handkerchief choreography (yes, that’s a thing) Cabello ceded the stage to Martin, who performed his 2006 hit Pegate, followed by international sensation Balvin, with his smash Mi Gente.

Flanked by dozens of dancers and a full Cuban salsa band, the performance sizzled and sparkled – throwing down a gauntlet to every other artist on the bill.

If only the Grammys had scheduled it a year earlier, when Cabello and Balvin’s songs were current and award-eligible, it would have been a masterstroke.

Drake finally appears – and rejects the concept of awards shows

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Drake notoriously boycotted previous Grammy ceremonies, withholding his records from consideration because he felt he was being unfairly sidelined in the rap categories.

This year, he declined to perform despite an invitation from producers, so it must have seemed like a coup when he agreed to turn up on stage to accept the best rap song (natch) award for God’s Plan.

Think again.

“I want to take a moment to talk to the kids who want to do music,” he said.

“I want to let you know that you play in an opinion-based sport This a business where it’s sometimes up to a bunch of people who might not understand what a mixed-raced kid from Canada might have to say.

“The point is, you’ve already won if people are singing your songs word for word. If there’s people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain and the snow to see your show, you’ve already won.” (There may have been more but he was cut off mid-speech.)

I bet he puts the award on his mantelpiece anyway.

Women take centre stage

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Following criticism that women were sidelined at last year’s Grammys, this year’s ceremony established its feminist credentials right from the beginning.

Host Alicia Keys invited “my sisters” Lady Gaga, Jada Pinket-Smith and Jennifer Lopez onto the stage, alongside Michaelle Obama, who towered over them all.

They each told a personal story of how music changed their life, with J-Lo saying it “kept me moving from the Bronx to the big screen and the even bigger stages.”

When it came to her turn, the former First Lady was drowned out by applause, and had to restart her speech.

“From the Motown records I wore out on the South Side, to the Who Run The World songs that fuelled me through the last decade, music helps me tell my story,” she said.

“Music helps us share ourselves, our dignities and our sorrows. Music shows us all of it matters, every story with every voice, every note in every song.”

Alicia Keys shows off

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What’s the point of hosting an awards show if you can’t use it to fulfil a ridiculous wish.

Alicia Keys opened the second half of the Grammy ceremony sandwiched between two grand pianos, (one black, one white) playing Scott Joplin’s Maple Rag Leaf with one hand on each keyboard.

“I always wanted to play two pianos,” grinned the irritatingly dextrous star, before playing some of the songs that have inspired her through the years, including Nat King Cole’s Unforgettable, Roberta Flack’s Killing Me Softly, Ella Mai’s Boo’d Up, Lauryn Hill’s Doo Wop (That Thing) and Kings Of Leon’s Use Somebody.

“Who doesn’t wish they’d written this song?” she asked of each of song.

“And then finally, you write the song you wished you’d wrote,” she added, launching into Empire State Of Mind, her hit single with Jay-Z.

“Put your hands back in the air, don’t be lazy”

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Once a diva, always a diva, forever Ms Ross.

Gaga gets emotional

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The first televised prize of the night went to Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, whose song Shallow (from A Star Is Born) won best pop duet.

Holding back tears, Gaga paid tribute to her co-star “who’s over at the Baftas in the UK” – where A Star Is Born also won best music.

“I’m so proud to be a part of a movie that addresses mental health issues,” the star added.

“A lot of artists deal with that and we gotta take care of each other. So if you see someone that’s hurting, don’t look away.”

Dolly’s all-star tribute

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A who’s who of country music joined Dolly Parton, who’s been named the Grammys’ “person of the year”. Kacey Musgraves, Maren Morris, Little Big Town, Katy Perry and Parton’s goddaughter Miley Cyrus took the stage for a feel-good run-through of her biggest hits, including 9 to 5 and Jolene.

The highlight was a cover of Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush, with Parton, Cyrus and Morris harmonising flawlessly in a spine-tingling a capella breakdown.

Chris Cornell’s kids accept a posthumous award on his behalf

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The late singer’s children, Toni and Christopher, took to the stage early on in the evening to accept the award for When Bad Does Good which won best rock performance.

Wearing a t-shirt with her famous father – who took his own life in 2017 at the age of 52 – Toni said: “I never thought we’d be standing here without my dad, he’d be proud and honoured, he was many things, a rock icon, the godfather of grunge”.

Christopher called his “one of the greatest poets of his time, the voice of a generation”.

Toni added; “His voice was his vision and his music was his peace, this is for you daddy and we love you so much.”

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