By Jonathan Landrum Jr.
Harry Styles won album of the year at Sunday's Grammy Awards, taking home the top honor on a night that Beyoncé dominated and became the ceremony’s most decorated artist.
Beyoncé won her 32nd award, breaking a 26-year-old record. But as in years past, the album of the year honor eluded her. Styles took home three awards Sunday.
Still, Beyoncé stands alone on her Grammy throne and had the support of the room throughout the night, with winners frequently referencing her and her influence on them.
“I’m trying not to be too emotional,” the superstar said after her historic win as her husband Jay-Z stood and applauded her. The singer thanked her late uncle, her parents, Jay-Z and her children for supporting her. “I’m just trying to receive this night. I want to thank God for protecting me. Thank you, God.”
Beyoncé won for best R&B song for “Cuff It,” dance-electric music recording for “Break My Soul,” traditional R&B performance for “Plastic Off the Sofa” and dance-electric album for “Renaissance,” which is also nominated for album of the year.
Lizzo won record of the year for “About Damn Time,” delivering a rousing speech that brought many in the audience, including Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Adele, to their feet.
“Me and Adele were having a good time, rooting for our friends. This is an amazing night. This is so unexpected,” Lizzo said, dedicating her award to Prince.
"I wanted to make the world a better place, so I had to be that change to make the world a better place. Now, I look around and see these songs are about loving your body and feeling comfortable in your skin and feeling good.”
Jazz singer Samara Joy won best new artist, shrugging off challenges by such acts as Wet Led, Anitta and Maneskin. The New Yorker was virtually in tears when she collected the award and noted that her little brother was her date. “I’m so, so grateful. Thank you.” She has released two albums as a lead artist and also won the Grammy for best jazz vocal album earlier in the night.
Beyoncé missed being in the room when she tied Solti’s record, which stood since 1997. Host Trevor Noah said she was on her way to the ceremony but blamed Los Angeles traffic for not being in person to accept it. The song was written by several writers including Beyonce, The-Dream, Nile Rodgers and Raphael Saadiq.
Once Beyoncé — the night's leading nominee — finally arrived, Noah presented her with the best R&B song award at her table.
Veteran singer-songwriter Bonnie Raitt shrugged off big-name rivals like Adele, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé to win the song of the year award. “I’m so surprised. I don’t know what to say,” a visibly stunned Raitt said, adding that the song “Just Like That” explores organ donation. It capped a night when Raitt won two other Grammys — for best Americana performance and best American roots song.
A who’s who of hip-hop royalty took the stage for an epic, rousing 15 minute tribute to the genre’s 50th anniversary. The performance included Grandmaster Flash doing part of his seminal hit “The Message,” Run DMC, Chuck D and Flavor Flav along with Ice-T, Queen Latifah, Busta Rhymes and Nelly all taking the stage.
It ended with everyone on the stage and LL Cool J shouting “multi-generational! Fifty years!”
Bad Bunny opened the show with a festive, high-energy performance that brought many of the audience including Taylor Swift who rose to her feet and danced near her table at Los Angeles' Crypto.com Arena.
Styles won the main telecast’s first award for best pop vocal album for “Harry's House.” The singer said recording the song was one of the “greatest experiences of my life. It’s been my greatest joy.”
Sam Smith and Kim Petras won best pop duo-group performance for their song “Unholy.” Petras said Smith wanted Petras to make the acceptance speech because “I’m the first transgender woman to win this award.”
“I want to thank all the incredible transgender legends before me who kicked these doors open for me so I could be here tonight,” said Petras, who made a reference to friend and Grammy-nominated musician Sophie, who died after an accidental fall in Athens, Greece in 2021. “You told me this would happen. I always believed in me. Thank you so much for your inspiration, Sophie. I adore you, and your inspiration will forever be in my music.”
Petras thanked Madonna for being a tremendous supporter of LGBTQ rights.
“I don’t think I could be here without Madonna,” Petras said. “My mother, I grew up next to a highway in nowhere Germany. And my mother believed me that I was a girl. I wouldn’t be here without her and her support.”
During the in memoriam segment, the Grammys recognized the lives of Loretta Lynn, Migos rapper Takeoff and Christine McVie with several star-studded performers paying them homage. The touching performances included Kacey Musgraves singing “Coal Miner’s Daughter” in tribute to Lynn; Quavo and the Maverick City Music hit the stage to honor his nephew Takeoff with the song “Without You;” and Sheryl Crow, Mick Fleetwood and Bonnie Raitt performed “Songbird” to remember McVie.
Kendrick Lamar won sixth career trophy for best rap performance for “The Heart Part 5” and also won best rap album for his studio offering, “Mr. Morales & The Big Steppers.”
“You know, as entertainers, we say things to provoke thoughts and feelings and emotions,” he said. “So making this record is one of my toughest. … I would like to thank the culture for allowing me to evolve in order to make this. I finally found imperfection with this album.”
Viola Davis emerged from Sunday's show an EGOT — a term for those who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony — after her win for best audio book, narration and storytelling recording. The actor gave an emotional speech and emphatically said “I just EGOT” after she marched on stage to collect her award.
“Oh, my God," she said. "I wrote this book to honor the 6-year-old Viola, to honor her, her life, her joy, her trauma, everything," Davis said. "It has just been such a journey.”
Tattered streetwear, T-shirts and denim mixed with blinged-out couture, wild patterns and plenty of skin on the Grammys carpet. Lizzo wowed in a bright orange Dolce & Gabbana robe adorned with flowers and a huge hood while Taylor Swift wore a long two-piece sparkly skirt with a high-neck and long-sleeve crop top in midnight blue.
The show marks a return to Los Angeles after the pandemic first delayed, then forced the Grammys to move to Las Vegas last year. Noah hosted the ceremony as well, which saw Jon Batiste take home album of the year.
AP Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy contributed to this report.