LOS ANGELES – At the age of 17, Billie Eilish became the youngest artist in history to be nominated in all four top Grammy Awards categories, and on Sunday night as an 18-year-old she made history by winning them all.
Taking out Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year, she is only the second to have achieved this feat in the 62 editions of the music awards show, after Christopher Cross in 1981.
The young American musical sensation won five Grammys in total (she also won the award for the Best Pop Vocal Album), while her brother, “best friend” and collaborator, Finneas, bagged two of his own: Producer of the Year and Best Engineered Album.
“Why? Wow,” exclaimed a surprised Eilish. “I only want to say that I’m grateful and that I’m so honored to be here amongst all of you. I love you to my core. I grew up watching all of you.”
Finneas added: “I have no idea what to say. I didn’t think we were going to win this at all.”
“We just make music in a bedroom together. We still do that, and they let us do that... This is for all of the kids who are making music in their bedroom today. You’re going to get one of these,” he added.
“Bad Guy” was awarded Song of the Year and Record of the Year, and Eilish’s impressive debut album “When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” won Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album.
Aside from the Eilish-Finneas sweep, Lizzo won Pop Solo Performance, Urban Contemporary Album and Traditional R&B Performance, while Gary Clark Jr. took home another three awards: Best Rock Song, Rock Performance and Contemporary Blues Album.
“This is really... sick, unexpected, really cool,” said an always optimistic and smiling Lizzo.
But the evening was marked by mourning over the death of basketball star Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and several others in a helicopter crash earlier in the day.
“Today, all of my little problems that I thought were big as the world were gone. I realized that there’s people hurting right now,” Lizzie said, referring to the Bryant family.
Alicia Keys, who had radiated light with her ease and charm in 2019 as a Grammys host, opened the gala on Sunday night with a powerful and heartfelt musical tribute to Bryant.
“Here we are together on music’s biggest night celebrating the artists that do it best, but to be honest with you, we’re all feeling crazy sadness right now. Because earlier today, Los Angeles, America, and the whole wide world lost a hero,” she said at the Staples Center, where as a player, Bryant had provided many memorable moments to Los Angeles Lakers fans.
The Grammys featured performances of every type: the romantic from real-life couple Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton, to the fiery from Tyler the Creator, who literally set the stage alight.
Billie Eilish set aside her irresistible sinister impulses and dark rhythms to shine with a rendition of “When the Party’s Over.”
Ariana Grande’s performance included two numbers, “7 Rings” and “Thank u, next.” In the former, she surrounded herself with an orchestra in a more serene act before moving on to a bedroom with pink tones in a more danceable segment.
Lil Nas X had the most unique and elaborate technical display with the hit “Old Town Road,” on a stage shared by other artists, such as BTS and Billy Ray Cyrus with his unstoppable country-rap.
Another special moment was Demi Lovato’s return to the stage following a drug overdose in 2018 with her debut of “Anyone.”
And, as is usual at these gatherings, there was time for nostalgia.
Usher and FKA Twigs paid a sensual tribute to Prince; John Legend remembered murdered rapper Nipsey Hussle; and Aerosmith, accompanied by rappers Run-D.M.C. – one of which appeared holding up a Bryant jersey – contributed a dose of rock music to the night.