Last Updated on October 2, 2020 by Scott Shetler
The 2020 Grammy Awards are here, and everything’s chaos right now. The Recording Academy is embroiled in scandal, having allegedly placed its CEO Deborah Dugan on leave as retaliation for her raising issues regarding the Academy’s lack of diversity, lack of transparency, and questionable financial decisions.
Amid all that, we’ve got the 62nd Annual Awards taking place Sunday, January 26 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Stay tuned to this space for our insightful and/or snarky comments as Lil Nas X, Lizzo, Billie Eilish, and more of the biggest stars in music take the stage. The show starts at 8 pm ET, 5 pm PT. But we’ll be updating all day long… starting with the Grammy Awards pre-telecast, which kicks off at 3:30 pm ET (12:30 pm PT). Imogen Heap is scheduled to host the pre-telecast ceremony.
Alicia Keys will serve as host of the main show for the second straight year.
The pre-show is underway. The big question was what crazy outfit host Imogen Heap would wear. But she’s pretty tame, in a black dress with her electronic musical gloves. She uses the gloves to perform an introductory sing-speak number welcoming everyone to the Grammys.
In case you missed it, Puff Daddy made news last night for his comments on the Grammy controversy, when he called out the Academy for not recognizing hip hop music.
The first awards have been given out. Best Compilation Soundtrack goes to A Star is Born, so another Grammy for Lady Gaga. It beats Elton John’s Rocketman and The Lion King.
Best Song Written for Visual Media goes to Lady Gaga as well for an obscure track called “I’ll Never Love Again.” She beat out Thom Yorke, Beyonce, and Dolly Parton. Beyonce didn’t get much love from the Academy this year and we thought this was an award she might win, but “Spirit” lost out. Bummer.
Gaga now has 11 career Grammy Awards, having won three more last year for “Shallow” and “Joanne.”
Chris Cornell’s album wins Best Recording Package. Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament takes the award with his collaborators. That’s pretty damn cool.
Billie Eilish’s album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? wins Best Engineered Album, which could be a good sign for her chances later tonight. Though Billie isn’t credited with a Grammy in this category, her brother Finneas is.
Meanwhile, Tracy Young wins Best Remixed Recording for her take on Madonna’s “I Rise.” It’s a rare Grammy win for a female in the technical categories and her speech honors her fellow female producers. This is pretty much the only connection Madonna’s music has to the Grammys this year, since Madge was shut out of the nominations.
Fantastic music videos by FKA Twigs and Gary Clark, Jr. get overlooked as “Old Town Road” takes Best Music Video. It’s not the right decision, but not surprising. It also could mean a big night for “Old Town Road,” which the favorite for Record of the Year.
Lil Nas X is here at the pre-telecast! Rare celeb sighting during the early show. He comes onstage but doesn’t speak much as the directors give the acceptance speech.
Beyonce gets her Grammy as Homecoming wins Best Music Film. This one was well-deserved. This gives Beyonce 24 career Grammy Awards, leaving her just 3 behind Alison Krauss for the all-time record for Grammy wins by a woman. It’s only a matter of time now!
Gary Clark, Jr. wins Best Contemporary Blues Album for This Land. It was truly one of the best albums of 2020, so it’s good to see it rewarded with a trophy. Patty Griffin wins Best Folk Album.
Remember Al Walser, that guy who sneakily once earned a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording by mastering the Grammys’ internal social media network rather than through actual talent? He actually made it on stage tonight, along with Jon Samson, who won Best Children’s Album. Walser didn’t actually get credit for the Grammy, though he did work on the album. Fittingly, Walser was cut off as he tried to speak (ha!)
Michelle Obama wins Best Spoken Word Album for Becoming, which was the easiest prediction of the night. Barack had already won twice.
The Chemical Brothers take two dance awards.
Rodrigo y Gabriela win Best Instrumental Album. This Mexican acoustic guitar duo has been one of music’s most exciting bands for more than a decade now, so it’s cool to see them win.
Willie Nelson wins Best Country Solo Performance. A bit of an odd choice, as Blake Shelton would’ve been the obvious contemporary choice, and Tanya Tucker seemed like the sentimental favorite.
But Tanya wins her Grammy for Best Country Song, along with co-writers Brandi Carlile and Phil and Tim Hanseroth. Tanya gives a speech noting that this is her first Grammy after several decades in the business and 14 previous noms. Then she wins Best Country Album. A huge highlight of the pre-telecast.
Angelique Kidjo brings down the house with a rollicking performance. Subsequent Grammy wins go to familiar names Kirk Franklin, Dolly Parton, Alejandro Sanz, and Gloria Gaynor(!), who wins Best Roots Gospel Album. She’s a long way from “I Will Survive.”
“At last I can balance out my piano,” says Gaynor, noting that her only previous Grammy came 40 years ago.
Best New Artist nominee Rosalia wins a Grammy for her album El Mal Querer. Marc Anthony wins Best Tropical Latin Album, in a rare tie, with fellow winner Aymee Nuviola.
“Racks in the Middle” wins Best Rap Performance. A posthumous award for Nipsey Hussle, who will honored later tonight on the broadcast. And a Grammy for Roddy Ricch, who’s been lighting up the charts this month.
Best New Artist nominee Yola gets the final performance on the pre-telecast and shows off her impressive voice.
Jimmy Jam presents the rock and pop awards, the main highlight of the pre-show. Gary Clark, Jr. wins Best Rock Performance among a typically-bizarre group of nominees. He also takes Best Rock Song, giving him three awards so far, the most of any artist before the main broadcast.
Cage the Elephant have a Grammy! They won Best Rock Album for their excellent work Social Cues. It’s exciting to see this award go to the most deserving record, for once. Vampire Weekend win Best Alternative Album.
Anderson .Paak and Andre 3000 take Best R&B Performance, while Lizzo nabs her first Grammy for “Jerome.” JP Morton’s “Say So” beats Chris Brown’s “No Guidance” for Best R&B Song, thank goodness. How Chris Brown still has a career in the post-#MeToo era is dumbfounding.
Best Pop Group Performance goes to a rapper and a country singer. Ok then… Among the myriad problems the Academy has, the mis-categorizing of tracks and albums is one that doesn’t get nearly enough attention.
Elvis Costello wins a Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album and shows up to give a speech. Billie Eilish wins Best Pop Vocal Album. Her brother Finneas wins Producer of the Year, a surprising upset given that he was up against Jack Antonoff and Ricky Reed, both of whom had killer years.
That’s it for the pre-show. Not a single person mentioned Deborah Dugan or the current controversy. Highly disappointing.