Billie Eilish captures 5 Grammy Awards at tribute-filled ceremony
Los Angeles icons Kobe Bryant, Nipsey Hussle memorialized in show
The edgy, avant-pop album that siblings Billie Eilish and Finneas created in a small bedroom made a big splash at the 2020 Grammy Awards, winning 11 honours for the musical family on Sunday.
When We All Fall sleep, Where Do We Go? — created in the musicians' Los Angeles home — helped Eilish win the top four honours, including album, song and record of the year, along with best new artist. The 18-year-old is the youngest artist to achieve the feat.
Finneas — who co-wrote, produced and engineered the album, walked away as the night's top winner with six. Eilish won five honours.
Together, they also won best pop vocal album, while Finneas' individual honours included home producer of the year (non-classical) and best engineered album (non-classical).
"This is my first Grammys. I never thought this would happen in my whole life," Eilish said. "I genuinely wanna say I am so grateful and I only wanna say that I am so grateful."
Finneas added that they "just make music in a bedroom together and we still do that."
"This is to all the kids who are making music in the bedroom today — you're going to get one of these," Finneas said.
The bedroom where they created magic was brought to life when they hit the stage and performed When the Party's Over, which featured Finneas on keys and Eilish singing in a soft, pitch perfect tone.
A mix of newcomers and well-known acts reached their goals of winning their first-ever Grammys, including Tanya Tucker, J. Cole, Lizzo, Lil Nas X, Billy Ray Cyrus and the late rapper Nipsey Hussle.
Michelle Obama, Sara Bareilles, Rosalia and 21 Savage also became official Grammy winners when the show handed out trophies during its pre-telecast ceremony in Los Angeles.
Meek Mill and DJ Khaled led a tribute to Hussle, who posthumously won best rap performance for Racks in the Middle, which features Roddy Ricch and Hit-Boy.
"When we lost you it really put some pain on me," Mill said in the sombre solo rap that opened the tribute to his fellow rapper who was shot and killed 10 months ago at age 33.
Things got more celebratory when Khaled and John Legend appeared.
"Everybody get up out your seats, we're doin' this for Nipsey Hussle!" Khaled shouted to the crowd as video of a rapping Hussle appeared on a big screen.
Hussle's family, including his brother, grandmother and actress-fiancée Lauren London, accepted the honour during the pre-telecast.
"Nip did it, not just for the awards, but for the people," London said onstage.
A number of acts won two awards in the pre-telecast, including Lizzo, Lil Nas X and Cyrus, Anderson .Paak, Lady Gaga, Tucker, Kirk Franklin and Jacob Collier. And Beyoncé, the most nominated woman in the history of the Grammys, won her 24th award.
Tribute to Bryant
The awards show included plenty of sincere and explicit tributes to Kobe Bryant on the day of the NBA star's death, but there were many more subtle ones too.
Cyrus's guitar had "#24," Bryant's number, on his guitar and Lil Nas X had a Bryant jersey draped over a chair at the beginning of their performance of Old Town Road during the show — which was held at the arena where Bryant played most of his career.
Run-DMC member Joseph (Run) Simmons held up a white Bryant Jersey during their performance of Walk This Way with Aerosmith.
And Lizzo, who dedicated the show to Bryant when she opened it with a performance, accepted the Grammy for best pop solo performance without invoking his name. She simply said that today she realized that after being lost in her own problems all week, she realized that "in an instant all of that can go away."
The 41-year-old Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash just outside of Los Angeles earlier Sunday.
"Since we are in his house, I would ask you to join me in a moment of silence," Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said.
Ten days before arguably the biggest night in music, the industry erupted when the Recording Academy announced it had put its recently hired CEO, Deborah Dugan, on administrative leave for alleged misconduct. Dugan and her lawyers fired back at the academy, claiming that the awards show is rigged.
Tarriona "Tank" Ball of the New Orleans soul-funk band Tank and the Bangas, nominated for best new artist, said she's not letting the drama ruin the achievement for her band.
"I feel like I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be at, and I don't want anything taking away from all the nominees," Ball said.
"This is our moment. This is our time."
Canadians leave empty-handed
Drake, Shawn Mendes, Jessie Reyez and Alberta's Indigenous singing group Northern Cree were among the Canadian performers left empty-handed on music's biggest night in Los Angeles.
All the Canadian contenders, who also included Michael Bublé and Daniel Caesar, were competing in categories that were presented before the live show.
Steve Wood, co-founder of Northern Cree, didn't win best regional roots music album, which means the group is now zero-for-nine on the Grammys count. But he's not sweating another loss for the group, he said, because the Grammys offer an opportunity to shine in other ways. He's looking forward to showcasing First Nations cultures and fashion on a global scale.
"It's always a win for us when we represent our people in circles where we're getting our voice out," Wood said by phone shortly before stepping onto the Grammys red carpet.
"Our music is alive as well, and some day maybe we'll get to that point of having it recognized on that stage."
With files from The Canadian Press