2023 Grammy snobs and surprises, from Beyoncé to Taylor Swift
Somehow, after Beyoncé became the winningest artist in Grammy history with 32 gramophones, she still managed to come off as a loser – again – when ” Harry’s House” by Harry Styles won album of the year over “Renaissance” by B.
But—deep breath—how could Beyoncé still not have a gramophone Album of the Year after four nominations, when she should already have at least two?
His game-changing surprise self-titled set lost to Beck’s ‘Morning Phase’ in 2015, and ‘Lemonade’ – one of the best albums of the century – lost to Adele’s ’25’ in 2017. .
But Queen B wasn’t the only performer to get snubbed — or surprised — at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Sunday night. Here, we look back at some of the other major shocks from music’s biggest night.
Camouflaged: Taylor Swift
Yes, T-Swizzle — who dutifully showed up for the awards even though she (and everyone) knows 2024 really is her year — won best music video for “All Too Well: The Short Film,” she failed to pick up gramophones for Song of the Year or Best Country Song for tracks that were nominated for her re-recorded versions of “Red” and “I Bet You Think About Me”. While this was a great move for Swift from a principal and portfolio standpoint, it’s still not exactly what the Record Academy wants to reward with so much truly new music.
Surprise: Bonnie Raitt
Who doesn’t love Bonnie Raitt? But when you go up against Adele, Beyoncé, Harry Styles, Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift and Lizzo – all superstars at the top of their game – it makes no sense that the 73-year-old would win Song of the Year for “Just Like That” – a song that most people (like almost everyone) haven’t even heard.
Surprise: Muni Long
Uh… who is Muni Long? Well, I hope the world is wowed by this R&B singer-songwriter after beating not only Grammy winners Mary J. Blige and Jazmine Sullivan, but also Beyoncé — repeat that, Beyoncé — for best performance. R&B for “Hrs & Hrs”. Proof that the Grammys aren’t, indeed, rigged — expect to see his streams go through the roof tomorrow.
Snub: Mary J. Blige
Wait a minute – so Mary J. Blige, the undisputed queen of hip-hop soul, has been nominated for Album of the Year for ‘Good Morning Gorgeous’ for only the second time in her career (after ‘The Breakthrough’). from 2005), she lost to neo-jazzman Robert Glasper — a worthy winner in his own right — for “Black Radio III.” But when you’re nominated for album of the year and can’t even win in your own genre category — especially a deserving diva like MJB — something’s wrong with the system.
When you’re the Queen of Pop, you only come out to present awards when it really means something to you. And after all her work and representation for the LGBTQ community over the years, Madonna was certainly the perfect person to present the performance of non-binary artist Sam Smith and trans singer Kim Petras – who had already become the first performer trans to win a Grammy when their “Unholy” won Best Pop Duo/Group Performance earlier in the night. Certainly, it made sense for Madonna to remind people of her own impact as a fierce LGBTQ ally as she prepares to launch her “The Celebration Tour” in honor of her 40th birthday in music later this year.
Surprise: Samara Joy
It was a fairly open field for Best New Artist year, with no clear favorites among a motley crew that ranged from buzzy indie duo Wet Leg to Brazilian star Anitta. At the end of the day, the edge seemed to go to Italian glam rockers Maneskin for playing the industry game perfectly — and helping revive a dying genre. But a 23-year-old jazz singer from the Bronx, who has been compared to Sarah Vaughan, surprised everyone in one of the biggest shocks of the night.
Surprise: Bad Bunny
Was it going to be Adele? Was it going to be Harry Styles? Or was it the ever-elusive Beyoncé opening the 65th Annual Grammy Awards at Crypto.com Arena – opening the first time the show was held in Los Angeles since COVID shut down the world? But the top placement went to Puerto Rican sensation Bad Bunny, who made history with “Un Verano Sin Ti,” the first Spanish-language LP to be nominated for Album of the Year. By launching his mix of “El Apagon” and “Despues De La Playa”, he brought the fiesta through the audience – no social distancing in 2023! — Bad Bunny made up for his no-show at last November’s American Music Awards, where he was the top nominee. While he could have gone a little further with his wardrobe – his white t-shirt and jeans made him look like he was still in rehearsal – he got the party started after a semi-slow start. His celebratory if somewhat chaotic performance knocked Taylor Swift, Jack Harlow and even 93-year-old Motown founder Berry Gordy out of their seats.
Surprise: Beyoncé equalizes the record stuck in traffic
When Beyoncé tied the record for most Grammy wins, she was — in true diva fashion — late for the awards at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
But seriously, weren’t CBS supposed to wait for her to arrive?
Yet when Viola Davis — who had already made history herself by becoming an EGOT by winning a Grammy for best audiobook, narration and storytelling for her memoir audiobook, “Finding Me” — presented the award from best R&B song to a no-show Beyoncé, who was apparently stuck in LA traffic, it was one of the diva moments of all time.
The legendary Nile Rodgers, who co-wrote and played guitar on “Cuff It,” helped make up for that with a moving speech that did everything right.
Camouflaged: Diana Ross
The 78-year-old Motown Queen – who was underappreciated and underappreciated as an entertainer for six supreme decades – had never won a competitive Grammy in her storied career, despite 12 nominations. The streak unfortunately continued with her unlucky 13th nomination (Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for “Thank You”) on Sunday night.