The profuse cheers of euphoric fans reverberate through Los Angeles’ Crypto.com Arena tonight, as music’s glitterati gather under the shining lights for the 66th Annual Grammy Awards. Presented each year by the Recording Academy, the Grammys honor the year’s most outstanding achievements in music and have rightfully earned their reputation as “music’s biggest night.”
The 2024 ceremony is shaping up to be truly extraordinary, with several of today’s top artists poised to make their mark in the history books.
Leading this year’s nominations is the ultra-talented R&B songstress SZA, who scored an impressive nine nods including for Album of the Year and Song of the Year. If SZA wins even seven of those nine nominations, she’ll break the longstanding record for the most Grammys ever won by a female artist in a single ceremony. As it stands, that honor is jointly held by pop divas Adele and Beyonce, who took home six trophies apiece during past award shows. Given the widespread critical acclaim for SZA’s sophomore album S.O.S, she has a strong chance to claim that record tonight.
Yet SZA faces fierce competition in the ceremony’s top categories from fellow nominees like Harry Styles, Adele, Beyonce and Taylor Swift. Styles earned his first ever Album of the Year and Record of the Year nods for his smash hit album Harry’s House. Meanwhile, Adele and Beyonce are back after their own massively successful albums, 30 and Renaissance, to cement their positions among music’s elite.
And then there’s Taylor Swift, who has arguably defined the sound of pop music for the last fifteen years. Swift landed nominations across all three of the Grammys’ most prestigious categories – Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year – for her ethereal new album Midnights. Given her enduring brilliance and Midnights’ resonance with critics and devoted fans alike, Swift is undoubtedly a top contender tonight.
While the Recording Academy has traditionally faced criticism for favoring pop, hip-hop and R&B artists over rock and country musicians, the 2024 nominations do reflect more genre diversity. Music legends like Willie Nelson, Ozzy Osbourne and Robert Plant earned their first Grammy nods in years, signaling an encouraging shift. Still, Swift remains the only country artist up for major awards this time, highlighting country music’s continued underrepresentation across the board. And given the fierce competition she faces, it remains uncertain if Swift can pull off what would be a history-making fourth Album of the Year trophy tonight.
But one thing is abundantly clear – tonight belongs to the ladies. With standout female artists ruling the nominations for the ceremony’s most prestigious prizes – Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year – there is major potential for a powerful statement to be made if SZA, Adele or Beyonce ultimately wins. The same holds true in Record of the Year, where songs like Swift’s introspective piano ballad “Anti-Hero” and Lizzo’s infectious pop anthem “About Damn Time” face off against offerings from male artists Harry Styles and Kendrick Lamar. After years of #GrammysSoMale online backlash, a big night for female musicians could signal a genuine shift within the notoriously male-dominated recording industry.
Beyond the awards themselves, audiences can expect a truly unforgettable slate of live performances from across the musical spectrum. Among the A-list artists scheduled to take the stage are nominees Lizzo, Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish. In what’s sure to be a poignant moment, legendary singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell will perform at the Grammy Awards for the very first time in her long and renowned career.
Other scheduled performers include Irish rock icons U2 beaming in live from their new Las Vegas residency venue, contemporary country chart-topper Luke Combs, and veteran piano man Billy Joel, who will unveil new music.
Some intriguing cross-genre collaborations are also slated for the Grammy stage tonight. Pop-country sensation Luke Combs will team up with beloved 90s alt-rock icon Tracy Chapman for a duet of her timeless hit “Fast Car.” And in what is bound to be a memorable Grammys moment, Mitchell will unite with modern folk sensation Brandi Carlile, highlighting Joni’s enduring influence on today’s lyricists. Other tantalizing joint performances include rapper Burna Boy joining forces with R&B legend Brandy and Atlanta hip-hop star 21 Savage.
However, two of music’s most powerful women will not be gracing the stage tonight – the Recording Academy revealed that though Taylor Swift and Beyonce will attend to support their many nominations, neither superstar will perform. Nevertheless, audiences can count on the two to bring head-turning style to music’s big night as they vie for some of the ceremony’s most prestigious honors.
In terms of hosting duties, comedian and Daily Show alum Trevor Noah will return for his fifth straight year as master of ceremonies. Noah brings a unique perspective shaped by his comedic background yet thoughtful approach – a balance which proved successful during 2023’s ceremony. Given the warm reception to Noah’s hosting last time, he was a natural choice to spearhead the festivities again in 2024. With his signature blend of humor and compassion, here’s hoping Noah will steer another smooth and celebratory show tonight.
Importantly, the Grammys represent far more than just a glitzy awards show – they offer a vital opportunity for diverse artistic voices to unite and revel in music’s unique power to touch our lives. As host Trevor Noah noted ahead of last year’s ceremony, “I think it’s going to be a celebration of an industry coming back to life” following years of pandemic-related hardship.
This rings resoundingly true in 2024 as musicians and fans alike gather for a cathartic night of release and jubilation after enduring a socially-distanced several years. With COVID-19 restrictions now thankfully lifted, audiences can expect a fully electrified arena and nonstop exhilaration from the minute the show starts through its final encore.
Between the A-list performances, touching acceptance speeches, surprise collaborations, extravagant fashion statements and overall joyful energy, tonight’s Grammys have all the ingredients of a truly unforgettable event. One thing is certain: by the time the last award is handed out, music history will be made. The only question that remains: who will take home those coveted gold gramophones and forever etch their names among music’s greatest legends? We’ll find out soon enough, as the curtain prepares to rise on another spectacular Grammys. The stars have aligned, and it’s sure to be a night of records and revelry.