BTS, Kanye West and Billie Eilish

The music may have seemed stale — but the feels were real.

Many of the nominated songs and albums at the 64th Annual Grammys, held Sunday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, seemed downright ancient due to the ceremony being bumped from January to April.

But there were moments that made the night bigger than the music.

First, there was Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s video message about his country’s war with Russia. “The war. What is more opposite to music? The silence of ruined cities and killed people,” he said.

Then, there was Lady Gaga leaving no dry eye in the house when she performed solo in tribute to Tony Bennett, her 95-year-old collaborator and co-nominee who, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, wasn’t able to make the show.

And, of course, there was the tribute to Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins. Although it felt too soon to properly do — after the Foo Fighters, having canceled their scheduled performance, had already won three awards — it reminded us all that “Everlong” doesn’t last forever.

Olivia Rodrigo, Kanye West and Megan Thee Stallion
Olivia Rodrigo, Kanye West and Megan Thee Stallion were just a few of the big snubs and surprises of the night.
Getty Images for The Recording A, REUTERS

Still, without any clear-cut favorites — such as Adele, who will be all over the 2023 Grammys with her blockbuster album “30,” which wasn’t eligible this year — or any Beyoncé performances (sorry, she was already booked for the Oscars last weekend), there wasn’t a whole lot to care about on music’s biggest night.

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The spoils were pretty evenly split: Leading nominee Jon Batiste was the night’s top winner with five gramophones, including the coveted Album of the Year for his LP “We Are.” He was followed by four wins for retro-soul super duo Silk Sonic, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year for “Leave the Door Open,” and three trophies for 19-year-old pop princess Olivia Rodrigo, including Best New Artist. And even Bennett, who was otherwise snubbed along with Gaga, got one final Grammy — his 19th — for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.

Surprise: Jazmine Sullivan

Jazmine Sullivan
64th Annual Grammy Awards, Press Room, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, USA - 03 Apr 2022
Jazmine Sullivan nabbed the first two Grammys of her career at the 64th Annual Awards ceremony.
David Fisher/Shutterstock

In the premiere ceremony held before the main telecast, Silk Sonic and Jazmine Sullivan tied for Best R&B Performance for “Leave the Door Open” and “Pick Up Your Feelings,” respectively. While it was always going to be hard to beat the No. 1 pop and R&B smash by the retro-soul super-duo of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, Sullivan sure did deserve her first Grammy after 15 nominations. The losing streak is finally over for a well-deserved R&B diva — and everybody wins.

Surprise: Silk Sonic

Silk Sonic at the 2022 Grammy Awards
Silk Sonic won Song Of The Year for the hit “Leave the Door Open.”

Song of the Year seemed to be a two-way showdown between the two women who have redefined what it means to be a young female pop star — Olivia Rodrigo (for “Drivers License”) and Billie Eilish (for “Happier Than Ever”). But Silk Sonic proved that old-school soul men still very much deserve seats at the head of the table on music’s biggest night for “Leave the Door Open.” And after their opening of the show with the grooviest of ’70s throwbacks blew Rodrigo’s performance of “Drivers License” away, seeing Silk Sonic’s Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak pimp-stroll up to accept their gramophones sure did feel like justice was served.

Snub: Kanye West

Kanye West
Kanye West was banned from performing at the 2022 Grammy Awards.
Walik Goshorn/MediaPunch

Usually when an artist gets an Album of the Year nomination — as Kanye West did for “Donda” — they are pretty much guaranteed to rule over their genre-specific album category. But Yeezy lost out to Tyler, the Creator and his “Call Me If You Get Lost” LP in the premiere ceremony held before the main telecast. Although West did win two other rap categories (Best Rap Song and Best Melodic Rap Performance) for “Donda,” the hip-hop star — who was reportedly disinvited from performing at the Grammys because of his recent bad behavior — clearly didn’t have the same kind of support from the Recording Academy in his genre that he has enjoyed in the past.

Surprise: Joni Mitchell and Bonnie Raitt

Joni Mitchell and Bonnie Raitt introduced singer Brandi Carlile’s live performance.
Getty Images for The Recording A

It sure was great to see the legendary Joni Mitchell up on the Grammy stage with another legend, Bonnie Raitt, to introduce Brandi Carlile’s performance. At 78, Mitchell has suffered from health problems that have made her more reclusive in recent years. But, kicking off Grammy weekend, she was the Musicares Person of the Year honoree on Friday night, even joining to sing a bit of “Big Yellow Taxi” at the end. Even if she needed a little help from Raitt, it was brave of her to step out on music’s biggest night and return some love to Carlile, a Mitchell disciple who co-curated Friday night’s fete with Jon Batiste.

Snub: Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion

Megan Thee Stallion
Megan Thee Stallion posed on the red carpet in a dress that was the cat’s meow!

How did both Cardi B (“Up”) and Megan Thee Stallion (“Thot S***”) lose out to Baby Keem featuring Kendrick Lamar (“Family Ties”) for Best Rap Performance? After Drake withdrew his nomination for his No. 1 hit “Way 2 Sexy,” the lane was open for one of these fierce femmes to take the trophy in this male-dominated genre. But yet, somehow the Recording Academy still found a way to award the dudes. Surely, that feature from Lamar helped, but it was a slap in the face to the ladies who have been putting it down on the fellas.

Surprise: Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky touted “slow but noticeable” gains in some regions of his invaded country, but warned many dangers lay ahead as he accused Russian soldiers of booby trapping abandoned houses and dead bodies.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said “indeed, this is genocide.”
President of Ukraine

Sean Penn called for a boycott of the Oscars if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wasn’t allowed to speak at the Academy Awards last weekend. But it was the Grammys who ended up giving the leader that platform to, in a video message, speak about his country’s war plight with Russia. Followed by a performance by John Legend, it certainly put into perspective what privilege music’s biggest stars have — and, in that moment, made a slap seem like pretty small stuff.

Snub: BTS

BTS performed “Butter” onstage during the 64th Annual Grammy Awards.
Getty Images for The Recording Academy/ Rich Fury

South Korean sensations BTS may rule the world, but Grammy isn’t quite ready to anoint them with any golden gramophones. Coming off of their first Grammy nomination for “Dynamite” last year, they were up this year for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for their No. 1 smash “Butter.” But, in a stunner, it was Doja Cat featuring SZA who took home the award for “Kiss Me More” over BTS, Coldplay (“Higher Power”), Justin Bieber featuring Benny Blanco (“Lonely”) and, most surprisingly, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga (“I Get a Kick Out of You”).

Snub: Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish performs onstage during the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards.
Getty Images for The Recording A

After winning seven Grammys in two years — including her sweep of the “Big 4” categories in 2020 as only the second performer to do so in the award show’s history — Billie Eilish seemed like the closest bet to a sure thing to pick up some more hardware on Sunday night. But with an even younger female pop artist — 19-year-old Olivia Rodrigo — stealing some of her thunder at this year’s awards, the “Happier Than Ever” singer came away empty from seven nominations.

Surprise: Jon Batiste

Jon Batiste holds his awards.
Jon Batiste took home the most awards at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
John Locher/Invision/AP

To many, Jon Batiste’s winning Album of the Year for “We Are” came out of nowhere. After all, he was up against pop blockbusters by Olivia Rodrigo (“Sour”), Billie Eilish (“Happier Than Ever”) and Justin Bieber (“Justice”) — not to mention the sentimental surge for Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga’s “Love for Sale.” But in the end, the young pop vote was split between Rodrigo, Eilish and Bieber — as well as Doja Cat and Lil Nas X. And a real, well-liked musician’s musician emerged as the victor.

Snub: Justin Bieber

Giveon and Justin
Giveon and Justin Bieber perform “Peaches” at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards.
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

It doesn’t seem fair that Justin Bieber, who performed his blockbuster hit “Peaches,” came away empty from eight nominations for his comeback album “Justice.” Indeed, he brought some much-needed star power to the Grammys on a night when Adele, Beyoncé and Harry Styles were otherwise occupied. It would have seemed that he would have at least won Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Lonely” (featuring Benny Blanco), but that went to Doja Cat featuring SZA’s “Kiss Me More.” Sorry, but the Biebs deserved better.

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