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The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer


The 2024 Grammys: Controversies and Celebrations

The awards ceremony was a night dominated by women and full of several firsts
The 2024 Grammys were filled with many notable moments, including iconic performances and controversial snubs.


The 66th annual Grammy Awards aired live on Sunday night in Los Angeles and were dominated by women, showcasing many of the music industry’s oldest and newest icons receiving recognition for their successful past years. 

The first Grammy of the night was awarded to Miley Cyrus for her song “Flowers” in the best pop solo performance category. This was also Cyrus’ first Grammy that she received in her music career. 

All nominees in the best pop solo performance category were women, an appropriate start for a night that showed victory for women in all major categories. Cyrus’ win was followed by a show-stopping performance from song of the year nominee Dua Lipa, who climbed on a metal jungle gym lifted in the air by her dancers while singing her new release “Training Season.”

Swift went on to set a new recording academy record when her album “Midnights” honored her with her fourth album of the year award.

Following Cyrus’ big win, American singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman made a surprise appearance to perform her song “Fast Car” with country music singer Luke Combs. Combs’ cover of “Fast Car” earned him a nomination for best country solo performance. The duet received a standing ovation from the star-studded audience. Nearly 36 years since its release, Chapman’s song climbed the charts and reached #1 on U.S. iTunes following the live performance. 

For the first time, performances were prefaced with a short film about the artist’s year. In a clip played before Combs’ and Chapman’s duet, Combs explained that “Fast Car” was his “favorite song before I even knew what a favorite song was.”

Chapman wasn’t the only icon to perform this year. Ten-time Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician Joni Mitchell sang her classic ballad “Both Sides Now” for her performance debut at the awards ceremony. Singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile introduced Mitchell with a passionate, goosebump-inducing speech and joined alongside her for the performance. Grammys host Trevor Noah presented Mitchell with the best folk album award for her live album “Joni Mitchell at Newport (Live)” after her performance.

Billy Joel returned to the Grammys stage to play his first new song in 17 years. The tune, “Turn the Lights Back On,” is how Joel found the joy in songwriting again after 30 years, he said in the short film that preceded his performance. Joel, suited in all black and a pair of sunglasses, played the piano and sang alongside a string section and band. At the end of the evening, Joel closed the show by singing his 1980 classic “You May Be Right.”

SZA entered the evening with nine nominations, more than any other artist of the night. She took home three prizes: best R&B song for “Snooze,” best progressive R&B album for “SOS” and best pop duo/group performance with Phoebe Bridgers for their collaboration “Ghost in the Machine.”

One of the biggest pop stars of our time, Taylor Swift, accepted her 13th Grammy for best pop vocal album for her album “Midnights,” released in October 2022. To say “thank you” to her fans, Swift let viewers in on a “secret”: she said, “My brand-new album comes out April 19th. It’s called ‘The Tortured Poet’s Department.’”

Swift went on to set a new recording academy record when her album “Midnights” honored her with her fourth album of the year award, surpassing Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon, who each have three, host Trevor Noah said. 

Additionally, 24-time Grammy winner Jay-Z was presented with the second-ever Dr. Dre Global Impact Award to honor the success the artist has had throughout his decade-long career. Jay-Z stood on stage alongside his daughter, Blue Ivy, as he delivered a powerful speech, calling out the academy for Beyonce’s album of the year snubs: “She has more Grammys than everyone and never won album of the year. So even by your own metrics, that doesn’t work.” This message provides a far more important point, however, that the Grammys often leave deserving artists overlooked.

The Grammys took a step in the right direction by adding three new categories to the awards this year: best African music performance, best alternative jazz album and best pop dance recording. 

Entering the night as one of the most nominated artists for the Grammys, Victoria Monet received seven nominations, breaking the record for the most nominations of any openly queer, Black woman artist in a single year. Monet took home the award for best new artist. Her album “Jaguar II” won best R&B album and best engineered album earlier in the night. Accompanying her three awards, Monet’s 2-year-old daughter, Hazel, broke the record for youngest Grammy nominee ever for her feature in Monet’s nominated song “Hollywood.”

This year’s Grammys did not disappoint in regard to its many outstanding performances and big-time wins. However, the online buzz that followed proved the awards show cannot avoid controversy. Other notable wins from the night were “Flowers” by Cyrus, winning record of the year, and “What Was I Made For?” by Billie Eilish winning song of the year.

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About the Contributor
JANE ROCHE, Sports Editor
Jane Roche, FCLC ‘26, is the head sports & health editor at The Observer. She is a journalism major with a minor in film and television. Jane is a die-hard Chicago sports fan and hopes to make sports journalism a full-time career. She also enjoys long vacations and sunshine.

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