British star Harry Styles has won the biggest award at this year’s Grammys, the prize for best album – on a night that also saw Beyonce make history to become the ceremony’s most decorated artist of all time.
Former One Direction star Styles collected the top prize for his third album Harry’s House, seeing off serious competition from artists including Adele, Lizzo and Kendrick Lamar, as well as record-breaker Beyonce.
Earlier in the night, the 29-year-old told the audience that the album “from start to finish” had been “the greatest experience” of his life.
Beyonce arrived late to the show (even Queen Bey gets stuck in traffic, it seems), but made it in time to pick up her gong for best dance/electronic album for Renaissance – her 32nd Grammys trophy, which saw her break the record previously held by the late Hungarian-British conductor Georg Solti, who won 31 throughout his career.
“I’m trying not to be too emotional,” the 41-year-old said as she collected her award on stage. “I’m trying just to receive this night.”
The award was presented by British star James Corden, who told the crowd as he announced the result: “We are witnessing history tonight.”
Adele was also among the winners who took to the stage. Despite her partner Rich Paul apparently telling her “not to cry” should she win any of the gongs she was nominated for, the star was visibly emotional as she collected the best pop solo performance prize for her hit song Easy On Me, and dedicated it to her son, Angelo.
The 34-year-old accepted the award from her “new best friend” Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who she got to meet for the first time at the start of the night.
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Elsewhere, there was something of a surprise win for 73-year-old blues singer Bonnie Raitt, who beat the likes of Adele, Beyonce, Styles, Lizzo and Taylor Swift to win the award for best song for Just Like That.
Song of the year, which recognises composition and songwriters, is one of the “big four” prizes at the Grammys, along with record of the year, album of the year and best new artist.
Record of the year, which looks at the recording of a track and honours the contributing artists, producers and engineers, went to Lizzo, for About Damn Time, while jazz singer Samara Joy saw off competition from British stars Wet Leg (a favourite of Barack Obama), as well as 2021 Eurovision winners Maneskin, to be named best newcomer.
Lamar won the Grammy for best rap album, for Mr Morale & The Big Steppers, while best country album went to Willie Nelson for A Beautiful Time.
As much as the trophies, the Grammys is about the performances, and the biggest of the night came from artists including Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes, Rakim, Salt N Pepa and Grandmaster Flash – their medley of songs celebrating 50 years of hip-hop.
The special segment began with LL Cool J presenting the global impact award to Dr Dre, announcing that in future years the prize will now be named after him.
Non-binary star Sam Smith and Kim Petras gave a raunchy rendition of their huge hit Unholy after picking up the Grammy for best pop duo performance for the song – making Petras the first transgender woman to win the award.
And Kacey Musgraves, Mick Fleetwood, Sheryl Crow and Quavo were among the stars who performed during the in memoriam section, which paid tribute to artists including Migos rapper Takeoff, Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie and Jeff Beck.
With more than 90 awards, many are handed out before the televised ceremony, and another big moment came earlier in the night – when actress Viola Davis earned the coveted EGOT status after winning the Grammy award for best audio book, narration, and storytelling recording.
The title of EGOT is given to those that have won one of each of the four major US awards: an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony – and Davis becomes only the 18th person to achieve the accolade.
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And two other off-camera prizes saw success for Wet Leg; less than two years on from their very first live gig, the Isle Of Wight duo picked up the trophies for best alternative music performance and alternative music album.