Entertainment: Women seize the Grammys spotlight, and big prizes - PressFrom - Australia
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EntertainmentWomen seize the Grammys spotlight, and big prizes

08:50  11 february  2019
08:50  11 february  2019 Source:   latimes.com

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As the host of the Grammy Awards on Sunday, Alicia Keys did a bit in which she recalled one of her previous experiences at music's most prestigious awards show. The year was 2005, she said, and the R&B singer badly wanted to win song of the year for her tune "If I Ain't Got You."

Well, that didn't happen.

But evidently the guy who won that night, John Mayer, shared Keys' opinion that she deserved the award - so he broke his Grammy into two pieces and gave her one, which she pulled out all these years later to show the audience.

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Beyonce dazzles at the Grammys . Blue stole another moment in the spotlight when she wandered toward a gaggle of celebrities crowded around host James Corden in the aisle It was also a big night for Chance the Rapper, who won best rap album for Coloring Book, beating his mentor Kanye West.

big prize , Grammy Album of the Year. ( Antonoff also shouted down a heckler who criticized Lorde ’s decision to The Grammys are not friendly to women . The Motion Picture Academy, responding to a widespread backlash to its initial plan to only spotlight two of the best original song nominees on

Women seize the Grammys spotlight, and big prizes © Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS From left, Katy Perry, Dolly Parton and Kacey Musgraves perform during the 61st Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. Nobody was asking women to settle for half a Grammy this time.

Female artists took many of the biggest prizes at the 61st Grammy Awards, held at Staples Center in Los Angeles, including album of the year, which went to Kacey Musgraves for her psychedelic country disc "Golden Hour," and best new artist, which went to the dance-pop singer Dua Lipa.

Women seize the Grammys spotlight, and big prizes © Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS Post Malone performs during the 61st Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. Cardi B, the delightfully straight-talking New York MC, became the first solo female rapper to win the award for rap album with her smash "Invasion of Privacy." Other winners included H.E.R., who took R&B album with her self-titled debut, and Ariana Grande, whose "Sweetener" was named the year's best pop vocal album.

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In a year where raising women up felt especially crucial and important, it seems that the Grammys was unable to put its money where its mouth was. When asked about Lorde's absence on the slate of performers, Ken Ehrlich, the executive producer of the Grammys , said: "She had a great album

The results represented a remarkable shift from 2018, when the Grammys were roundly - and justly - criticized for shutting women out of several major categories, despite the fact that women have reliably been the ones moving pop's needle in recent years.

Women seize the Grammys spotlight, and big prizes © Taylor Arthur/Los Angeles Times/TNS JoAnn Falletta and Tim Handley backstage during the 61st Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019.

Recording Academy President Neil Portnow made matters worse after last year's show when he suggested that women should "step up" if they wanted to be recognized - as though the systemic barriers women face were merely a trick of the mind, and failure to surmount them merely a lack of gumption.

Accepting her prize, Lipa grinned and said, "I guess this year we've really stepped up."

The academy's chosen winners this year - and its chosen performers and honorees - can be taken as evidence of an attempt at damage control. The recent dearth of female winners and Portnow's clumsy phrasing - along with the Grammys' long-established blind spot when it comes to hip-hop - have done serious harm to the show's reputation among young hitmakers.

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Grammys 2018: The Biggest Snubs and Surprises. And didn’t the Grammys lose a little face when the snubbed Ed Sheeran turned out to be a The Time’s Up issue wasn’t exactly answered by this year’s Grammys , however, with Cara serving as the ceremony’s only woman to accept a televised

Bruno Mars dominates the Grammy Awards - but female artists are hard to find in the winners' list. "Let's work together, women and men, as a united music industry committed to creating more safe work environments Mars left with six trophies in all, including the three biggest prizes : Album of the year

Last week Grande went public with her beef with the Grammys' executive producer, Ken Ehrlich, over what she said was his lack of respect for a performance she'd planned to give. (As a result, she sat out Sunday's ceremony.)

And though he was nominated for album of the year with his soundtrack to the Marvel blockbuster "Black Panther," Kendrick Lamar also opted not to appear. Also notably absent was Childish Gambino, who had several important wins for "This Is America," his viral rap hit about gun violence and racial terror.

Along with the awards, Sunday's performances - the vast majority by women and people of color - at times seemed to scream, "Hey, we get it!" But the night, hosted by Keys with low-key warmth and enthusiasm, never felt cynical. It simply seemed more in line with pop as it exists today than the ceremony has for years.

Women seize the Grammys spotlight, and big prizes © Taylor Arthur/Los Angeles Times/TNS Tim Martyn backstage during the 61st Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019.

Camila Cabello opened the show with a colorful rendition of her song "Havana" that featured cameos by Ricky Martin, Young Thug, Arturo Sandoval and J Balvin (the last of whom held a newspaper headlined "Build bridges not walls").

Diana Ross steals the stage at the Grammys

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Janelle Monae did a medley of songs from her "Dirty Computer" - a futuristic account of love defined as broadly as possible - while accompanied by dancers wearing anatomically inspired outfits.

"Let the vagina have a monologue," she said.

H.E.R., shredding on an electric guitar, did a beautiful rendition of her song "Hard Place" that felt suffused with confidence in her own vision. She wasn't hurrying for anyone.

And then there was Cardi B, who rapped "Money" while dressed as an evil queen amid a boudoir dreamscape.

Onstage later to accept her rap album trophy, the outspoken and verbally dexterous hip-hop star was speechless for once and admitted that her nerves were getting the best of her. With a grin, she added, "Maybe I need to start smoking weed" - a line that exemplified the authentic goofball charm that's endeared her to so many over the last two years.

Women seize the Grammys spotlight, and big prizes © Taylor Arthur/Los Angeles Times/TNS Fantastic Negrito backstage during the 61st Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019.

Another sign of progress for the Grammys: The awards for record and song of the year went to Childish Gambino - also known as the actor Donald Glover - for his searing track "This Is America." The latter represented the first time a hip-hop track has won song of the year - an absurdity, given how long rap has dominated the Top 40, but a welcome achievement nonetheless.

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The Grammys performance by Kesha, center, backed by a chorus of women in white, was a A dancer in loose white robes pounded a big Japanese taiko drum and shadowed Mr. Lamar’s moves. Dave Chappelle appeared with Mr. Lamar and later chided the Grammys for failing to nominate the

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Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper won the award for pop duo performance with "Shallow," from their movie "A Star Is Born," which felt only right. After all, what musical moment got more mileage online in the last 12 months than Gaga's "whoa-oh-oh" yowl from that pitch-perfect power ballad?

As if to prove the point, the singer performed "Shallow" on Sunday's show, refashioning it into a kind of art-metal extravaganza sure to be endlessly memed in the days ahead.

And the show - long scorned for pairing young up-and-comers with past-their-prime veterans for performances proudly referred to as "Grammy moments" - also did better balancing old and new.

Miley Cyrus and Shawn Mendes, both in their 20s, performed his "In My Blood" together, while Lipa joined St. Vincent - as opposed to, y'know, Judy Collins - to mash up a couple of their tunes.

Even the inevitable tributes to aging icons felt fresher than usual, in large part because Dolly Parton and Diana Ross took control of their own salutes, singing with real gusto (if not always a clear sense of pitch, as in Ross' case).

Keys, in a lovely sequence that had her playing two pianos at the same time, paid tender homage to some of her favorite songs, which had to have been the first time Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable" and "Lucid Dreams" by the rapper Juice WRLD were in such close proximity.

Not everything worked, of course.

One dreadful Grammy moment had Post Malone jamming with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which did nothing for either act. And a celebration of Motown Records - the label that arguably laid the groundwork for black American pop - was fronted for some reason by ... Jennifer Lopez.

Perhaps this number could have illustrated how Motown's glorious songs reached beyond specific cultures to unite people of all backgrounds. But Lopez didn't do anything to "Dancing in the Street" or "Please Mr. Postman" to make that point; it was pure high-level mimicry - as professional as it was meaningless.

But those off notes were exceptions in a program that went some way toward restoring the Grammys' battered reputation.

Pictures: Best pics from inside and backstage

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