Two classes into remaining night time’s Grammy Awards broadcast, Beyoncé discovered herself as soon as once more attaining an ungainly standing throughout the universe of the Recording Academy. For one, she used to be past due to the rite—reportedly owing to visitors—and not able to assemble a ancient trophy. In profitable Perfect R. & B. Tune for “Cuff It,” a spotlight from her 2022 album, “Renaissance,” she tied with the conductor Georg Solti for the absolute best selection of Grammy wins. Nevertheless it used to be a sophisticated fulfillment when regarded as in opposition to the backdrop of Beyoncé’s Grammys historical past, during which she has additionally been one of the crucial Recording Academy’s maximum lost sight of artists, racking up smaller genre-based wins but most commonly dropping out within the awards’ headlining classes. When Adele received Album of the 12 months over Beyoncé, in 2017, there used to be this sort of sense of cosmic injustice that Adele herself may now not undergo the outcome. “I will’t in all probability settle for this award,” she informed the group. “I’m very humbled . . . however my artist of my existence is Beyoncé. The ‘Lemonade’ album used to be so enormous.”
This yr, within the wake of “Renaissance,” Beyoncé’s long-awaited follow-up to “Lemonade,” the Grammys broadcast gave the impression intent on correcting the direction, or no less than distracting the viewer from it. Even supposing the Recording Academy citizens have now not all the time correctly venerated Beyoncé’s paintings, the display and its host, Trevor Noah, labored time beyond regulation this yr to remind the target market of the Grammys’ admire for her towering greatness, and the ancient nature of the night time. All over his opening monologue, Noah temporarily reminded the group of what the rite’s narrative could be: giving Beyoncé, who used to be nominated for 9 awards however wanted handiest 4 wins to wreck the report, her due. “I used to be so impressed by way of the lyrics of ‘Smash My Soul’ that I in truth give up my task,” he joked. When Beyoncé in spite of everything arrived on the area, he discovered her at her desk and in my view passed her the trophy she hadn’t previous been ready to simply accept. “You already know, whilst you equivalent a report, there’s no approach you don’t get to carry your Grammy to your hand and rejoice that. The queen is formally within the construction. Girls and gents, Beyoncé Knowles,” he mentioned. She pressured a smile, having a look uncomfortable, whilst her husband, Jay-Z, chewed his meals. It used to be nearly a foregone conclusion that Beyoncé, together with her 9 nominations, would destroy Solti’s report. This used to be the overt tale line of the night time, however the louder subtext used to be the query of whether or not the Recording Academy used to be in spite of everything ready to provide Beyoncé the foremost awards.
This used to be the query that loomed over the most commonly milquetoast fare of the remainder of the published. Unhealthy Bunny—who received within the Música Urbana Album class however used to be in a different way snubbed, in spite of his international dominance—kicked off the display with an electrifying tribute to ancient Latin genres, providing up a maximalist model of his merengue-minded unmarried, “Después de l. a. Playa.” It used to be this sort of dynamic efficiency that Taylor Swift used to be moved to get out of her chair and dance, feeding the night time’s GIF– and meme-generating forces.
The tone of the night time temporarily downshifted into usual Recording Academy mode: the Grammy favourite Brandi Carlile gave her considered necessary efficiency, as did Stevie Surprise. There used to be a long tribute medley to the artists who had kicked the bucket remaining yr. Sam Smith and Kim Petras received an award for the track “Unholy,” which they later carried out after a tonally abnormal advent by way of Madonna. When Kendrick Lamar authorized his award for Perfect Rap Album, he introduced up a valid chew for the ones following alongside on social media: “I in spite of everything discovered imperfection with this album.” There used to be a cringey fan-discussion panel that aired in bits and items all over the night time. Someone susceptible to show off the display and head to mattress used to be most probably dissuaded by way of the Grammys’ maximum invigorating section: an ostentatious party of 50 years of hip-hop, which controlled to unify the style’s elder statesmen onstage with its fashionable insurgents. It used to be this type of factor that can have come off like a PowerPoint presentation. However, during the curatorial and social savvy of Questlove, who spearheaded and d.j.’d the section, the medley felt like a real love letter to hip-hop, and an energizing reminder of the style’s standing as American canon—even because the Grammys have lengthy failed to regard it as such. When the efficiency wrapped, the cameras discovered Jay-Z, who used to be taking pictures a finger gun in ecstatic party.
However again to Beyoncé, who did, certainly, destroy the report and change into the winningest artist in Grammy historical past. It used to be a professional victory, alternatively: she wound up making historical past by way of taking house one of the crucial night time’s maximum minor awards, for Perfect Dance/Digital Album. Regardless that she has molded herself right into a ruthless innovator, Beyoncé could also be an institutionalist at center, with the search for fulfillment so deep in her DNA that she as soon as made a song video (for “Beautiful Hurts”) spotlighting her contentious courting with awards and trophies. The milestone of breaking the report used to be now not misplaced on her, and when she took the degree to simply accept her award she used to be tearful, breathless, and gave the impression conquer with emotion. “I’m making an attempt to not be too emotional,” she mentioned. “I’m looking to simply obtain this night time.”
Someone who has paid consideration to the Grammys’ galling conservatism through the years used to be now not shocked when the massive awards rolled round and Beyoncé used to be bested by way of different stars. Bonnie Raitt took house Tune of the 12 months, for “Simply Like That,” introduced by way of Jill Biden, and Lizzo took house Report of the 12 months. Like Adele, Lizzo used to be forced to make use of the tip of her degree time to state the most obvious: “Thanks such a lot,” she informed Beyoncé. “You obviously are the artist of our lives.” Harry Types seemed somewhat shocked as he authorized the night time’s ultimate award, for Album of the 12 months, for “Harry’s Area.” “I believe, on nights like this night, it’s clearly so vital for us to bear in mind there’s no such factor as ‘highest in song,’ ” he mentioned. Perhaps so, however there are different superlatives that felt suitable in Beyoncé’s case. Closing night time—all over a rite that used to be designed to really feel like a coronation however as a substitute got here off like an apology—she become probably the most celebrated and maximum profitable, and but one way or the other maximum undersung, artist in Grammy historical past. And the Recording Academy’s report for baffling decision-making went unbroken. ♦