Pop queen Beyonce on Sunday reigned supreme at the Grammys, breaking the all-time record for wins with her 32nd prize and fourth of the night – but the Album of the Year prize that’s long eluded her slipped from her fingers once again, going instead to Brit Harry Styles.
All of the top contenders, including Adele, Taylor Swift and Lizzo went home with an award – but it was surprise after surprise in the top four categories.
Beyonce entered the ceremony with the most chances at Grammy gold with nine, following the release of Renaissance, her rich, sprawling ode to club music.
She clinched the all-time Grammy record by winning the prize for Best Dance/Electronic Music Album for her smash “Renaissance,” thus surpassing the late classical conductor Georg Solti, who had 31 awards.
“I’m trying not to be too emotional. And I’m trying to just receive this night,” Queen Bey said, wearing a shimmering, curve-hugging gown, her hair in mermaid waves as her peers witnessed the history-making moment.
Beyonce thanked her family, and paid special tribute to the queer community, who she credited with inventing the genre she celebrated in her historically layered record that pays homage to pioneers of funk, soul, rap, house and disco.
But while her album was considered a likely candidate for best album, it was Styles who snagged that prestigious award.
“On nights like tonight, it’s obviously so important for us to remember that there is no such thing as bests in music,” said Styles.
His win over Queen Bey was sure to draw obvious comparisons to 2017, when Adele swept the top prizes at the glitzy music biz gala, shutting out Beyonce’s culture-shaking Lemonade.
The Grammys’ winningest artist still remains on the outside looking in at the top prizes: Beyonce has never won Album or Record of the Year, which this time around went to Lizzo for About Damn Time.
She only scored Song of the Year once, for 2008’s Single Ladies. This year, folk, rock and blues singer Bonnie Raitt scooped up that honour.
Beyonce was nevertheless the top winner on Sunday with her four gramophones.
Carlile, Lamar with three wins each
Both folk rocker Brandi Carlile and rapper Kendrick Lamar ended the night with three awards each.
Adele, one of the night’s heavyweights, took home just one award in the pop categories, while Taylor Swift was shut out once again from Song of the Year, a songwriting award.
Swift did however win the Best Music Video prize for her short film based on the 10-minute version of her song All Too Well.
Puerto Rican reggaeton megastar Bad Bunny kicked off the show by bringing the audience to its feet with the first performance, before taking home the prize for Best Musica Urbana Album.
Bad Bunny, indisputably the world’s biggest commercial artist, nabbed the prize for his major drop Un Verano Sin Ti, which was also an Album of the Year contender.
“Thank you to all the Latinos across the entire world,” he said in Spanish. “We will keep elevating this genre to the next level.”
Actor Viola Davis became the latest showbiz heavyweight to earn a coveted EGOT – winner of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony – by taking the Grammy for best audio book, narration and storytelling for her memoir Finding Me.
Samara Joy wins for Best New Artist
The star-studded 65th annual gala, hosted once again by comedian Trevor Noah, also featured performances from Styles, Lizzo and Mary J. Blige, as well as an exuberant tribute to hip-hop music featuring a constellation of stars.
After several Grammy years with clear Best New Artist favourites – winners like Olivia Rodrigo, Megan Thee Stallion and Billie Eilish – American jazz singer Samara Joy scooped up the prize over an eclectic field.
The category has grown increasingly reflective of the internet age’s impact on popular music, and many of the nominees – including Brazil’s Anitta, Eurovision rockers Maneskin and rapper Latto – have all found viral fame on TikTok.
“I can’t even believe – I’ve been watching you all on TV for, like, so long,’ the Bronx-born artist told the audience, after earlier taking home the prize for Best Jazz Vocal Album.
“To be here by just being who I was born as, I’m so thankful.”
Some of her competitors for Best New Artist still had a good night: Wet Leg swept the alternative music categories, Muni Long took home the award for Best R&B Performance, and Molly Tuttle won for Best Bluegrass Album.