Grandma Served at the Grammys

The Grammys took a more fan-focused and personalized approach to recognizing the artists on music’s biggest night.


Sruthi Sakala via Canva

The Grammys, hosted by Trevor Noah, had ups and downs, but in the end, the theme of community and friendship tied the event together.

Sruthi Sakala and Aarohi Motwani

On a warm February night in Los Angeles, the top musicians in the music industry are getting ready on the red carpet to head into the venue that holds the biggest night in music history: the Grammys. 

The Grammys, presented by the Recording Academy, grants awards to musicians in all genres from country to hip-hop. Entries for awards are submitted to the Grammys by record companies and members of the Academy; all entries are then reviewed to determine whether they’re eligible and what category they should be placed in. 

The host for the musical award show of the year was comedian Trevor Noah, who is best known for hosting The Daily Show on Comedy Central. This was his third time hosting the Grammys, and getting to know the celebrities on the floor beforehand was crucial to Noah. For example, Noah found out that singer Adele had never met actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and organized their first meet-up at the Grammys. 

The show opened with Noah engaging in playful banter with the nominated singers on the floor of the venue. Noah made a controversial joke to singer Harry Styles, saying that he is a “sex symbol” and that women “throw their panties at [him].” This comment was clear that it made Styles uncomfortable, as he made the most bare minimum comments back to Noah. Noah’s speech just went a touch too far about topics that weren’t relevant, and the host should have just talked about Styles’ accomplishments, because that was what was being celebrated, not the fact that he is a “sex symbol.”

Noah then moved on to singer Taylor Swift and acknowledged her powerful fan base and what they accomplished with the Ticketmaster debacle.  He made a joking comment about how the prices for eggs are ridiculously high and how the Swifties (nickname for Swift’s fans) should bring them down with their manpower. Coincidentally, a day after the ceremony, it was reported by CNBC that egg prices dropped to $2.61, a 52% decrease from the peak of $5.43 on Dec. 19. 

This segment of the show smoothly transitioned into the awards part of the ceremony, with the first award of the night, Best Pop Album, awarded to Styles. Styles also won Album of the Year, the most prestigious award presented of the night, for his third solo album, “Harry’s House.” 

However, there was a lot of controversy with this win — Styles’ acceptance speech brought the Twitter trolls to the table. His speech consisted of him saying “this doesn’t happen to people like me very often,” referring to him growing up in a small town and rising to fame with no industry connections. People on Twitter such as user Brandon claimed that he needed to get his privilege checked, because artists who win this award are predominantly white men. Viewers misunderstood what Stylessaid, and brought race into the discussion of an unrelated statement. Reactions such as this feed  into cancel culture and normalizes jumping to the wrong conclusions about potentially problematic topics. Society has started attacking artists over small misunderstandings — even though they had good intentions — which can be very damaging to not only the artist’s success and future, but also their mental health and emotional stability. 

Beyoncé was also nominated for Album of Year for her album “Renaissance,” but lost to Styles’ album. Many of her fans were enraged by this unexpected turn of events, and started screaming during Styles’ acceptance speech. Phrases like “get off the stage!” and “Beyoncé should’ve won!” came from the crowd. Hearing this, Swift stood up to show her support. Fans speculated that this was because she had a similar experience with Kanye West at the 2009 VMAs and “remembered it all too well.” 

Junior Nicole Smith, an avid fan, empathizes with the crowd.  “I think Beyoncé should’ve [won the award],” Smith said. 

Fans of Styles and other neutral viewers thought that the whole argument was unnecessary. “It’s just kind of dramatic,” sophomore Maanu Karthikeyan said. “Beyoncé has like a million Grammys, so I don’t understand what the problem is if Harry Styles won.”

Those who believed Styles didn’t deserve the win were spurred on by his rocky performance that night. To serenade the crowd with his hit single “As It Was,” Styles performed on a large, circular, spinning stage. He had a shaky start when the stage began to spin in the wrong direction. He and his team of dancers improvised until they were off the stage, resulting in shaky vocals and unorganized choreography. Again, many viewers used this as a reason for why he didn’t deserve his Grammy wins of the night. 

Another controversial award this year was the Song of the Year award. Some of the nominees the public expected to win were: “All Too Well (Ten Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault]” by Taylor Swift, “As It Was” by Harry Styles, “About Damn Time” by Lizzo, “BREAK MY SOUL” by Beyoncé, and “Easy On Me” by Adele. However, “Just Like That” by Bonnie Raitt won the award for Song of the Year over some of the biggest names in the music industry of this generation. It was surprising because the song wasn’t as popular compared to the others, including streaming numbers, as the songs that were nominated had well over 100 million streams, but Raitt’s production had just over one million. 

The third most shocking win went to “Unholy” by Sam Smith and Kim Petras for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. The song was popular and successful, but Smith and Petras were up against BTS, Post Malone, ABBA, and Camilla Cabello, who are all big name artists with high success rates. The duo performed “Unholy” shortly after winning their award. When Smith and Petras performed “Unholy,” they did so in devil costumes and with fire shooting up in the background. 

Despite all the controversies of the night, The Grammys gave off more of a sense of community compared to previous years. Instead of having random celebrities announcing the next performance, Noah had close friends and family members introduce the artists. 

Throughout the night, the focus shifted to the fans of the artists nominated for Album of the Year. These fans were seated around a large round table, and were shown discussing who they thought the Grammy would go to and why they thought that. 

The discussions were all lighthearted and made fans all around the world feel more connected to the proceedings of the award show. “When you think of the Grammys, you don’t think of it as being something to do with the fans, you just think of the Recording Academy,” junior Sarayu Varanasi said. “When they included the fans, I felt more included in the process.”

One of the most memorable moments of the night was the announcement of the Album of the Year award. While Noah was announcing the award, he had everyone from the round table of fans lined up behind him. When he opened the envelope, before announcing the winner of the award, he brought both the microphone and the envelope to Styles’ fan, 78 year-old grandmother Reina Lafantaisie, who claims to be his biggest fan. Noah told her to announce the name, and Lafantaisie worried she would say the wrong name, as she had forgotten her glasses at home. Once she began to see the name on the card, she recognized that a part of the name was “Styles,” and was overjoyed. 

Once she announced his name, Styles ran to her with open arms and they both celebrated this well-deserved accomplishment. 

Despite all the drama surrounding the night, The Grammys celebrated all the hard work of the artists throughout 2022, leaving music fans satisfied. “The Grammys are my Super Bowl,” Varanasi said.