Grammys Premiere Ceremony live blog: Gary Clark Jr., Lizzo, Lil Nas X, Lady Gaga were big winners, Billie Eilish sitting pretty

The Grammys are tonight, but there are too many awards to hand out in one primetime telecast, especially with so many performances scheduled for the event. Most of the awards were handed out during the Premiere Ceremony in the afternoon. So who took home prizes, and what does it mean for the evening’s telecast? Find out below in our live blog with winners and analysis throughout the show. And follow along with the complete list of winners here.

Two-time Grammy winner Imogen Heap hosted the pre-ceremony, which took place from 12:30pm-3:30pm Pacific Time (3:30pm-6:30pm Eastern) and were streamed live around the world on Grammy.com.

Heap was a nominee herself this year: Best Musical Theater Album for “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” And so were the performers slated for the pre-show: Classical violinist Nicola Benedetti, jazz legend Chick Corea, folk music supergroup I’m With Her, West African sensation Angélique Kidjo and Best New Artist nominee Yola.

Benedetti was up for Best Classical Instrumental Solo for “Marsalis: Violin Concerto; Fiddle Dance Suite.”

I’m With Her were nominees for Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song for “Call My Name”; that trio includes past Grammy champs Sarah Jarosz and Sara Watkins as well as first-time nominee Aoife O’Donovan.

Kidjo won three Grammys before this year’s show, and she was looking to win Best World Music Album again this year for “Celia.”

Yola had four bids this year: in addition to Best New Artist, she swept the Americana field with noms for Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song (“Faraway Look”) and Best Americana Album for “Walk Through Fire.”

And Corea is one of the top Grammy champs of all time with 22 victories coming into this show, and this year he was in the running for Best Latin Jazz Album for “Antidote.”

Presenters who handed out awards hardware included Luis Fonsi, Nathalie Joachim, Kimié Miner, PJ Morton, Esperanza Spalding and former recording academy chair Jimmy Jam. Cheche Alara served as musical director for the Premiere Ceremony. Follow along below starting at 3:30pm Eastern (all times listed below are Eastern).

3:40pm — After a moment of silence to acknowledge the shocking death of Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash, Imogen Heap opens the show with an ethereal starlit background wearing electronic gloves in a kind of musical monologue where she laments the current environmental and political climate where we are “entwined in systems we feel like we can’t trust.” Music is “beacon of truth” in times like these, she says. But then she lays down the law: “Keep your acceptance speeches short and sweet” because we’ve got about 75 awards to get through. She’s announcing these ground rules with eerie audio effects. I kinda hope she keeps that up throughout the night.

3:47pm — The first award of the night is Best Visual Media Compilation, which goes to “A Star is Born” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. It’s the 10th Grammy for Lady Gaga and the second for Cooper; they won for singing “Shallow” together last year. That was followed immediately by Hildur Guonadottir, who takes home Best Visual Media Score for “Chernobyl.” “It’s really cool to be able to celebrate with all your fellow music nerds.” And it’s even cooler when you consider that she’s the first TV composer to win a Grammy in this category since Lalo Schifrin for “Mission: Impossible” way back in 1968. Guonadottir also won an Emmy for “Chernobyl,” and she could win an Oscar in a couple of weeks for “Joker,” which would put her just a Tony away from EGOT.

3:51pm — Only three categories in and Lady Gaga is already a multiple winner. She takes Best Visual Media Song for “I’ll Never Love Again” from “A Star is Born” the year after she won that same prize for “Shallow.” Lady Gaga now has 11 Grammys, and she’s got one more nomination during tonight’s telecast: Song of the Year for “Always Remember Us This Way.” She’s now tied with Shirley Caesar as the 10th most honored female solo artist of all time.

3:59pm — The art directors behind “Chris Cornell” won Best Recording Package; the late rocker won his last competitive Grammy posthumously last year for Best Rock Performance. Albums celebrating Woodstock and the legendary Pete Seeger have also been rewarded.

4:02pmBillie Eilish‘s brother just beat her to his first Grammy as Finneas O’Connell takes Best Engineered Album (Non-Classical) for Eilish’s “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” This is probably a good sign that Eilish will take home an award or two of her own as well.

4:05pmBest Remixed Recording goes to Tracy Young for Madonna’s “I Rise.” She accepted it on behalf of all female producers who have been overlooked in the industry.

4:06pm — Hooray! Morten Lindberg wins Best Immersive Audio Album for “Lux.” He’s not a household name to music fans, but this is actually his first Grammy after 28 nominations, ending the worst losing streak at the Grammys.

4:08pmLil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus are officially Grammy winners! They claim Best Music Video for “Old Town Road,” which won Best Direction at the MTV Video Music Awards last fall. This is the first Grammy of the 20-year-old rapper’s career, and he’s on hand to accept the award in person even though he’s performing at tonight’s telecast. “Thank you,” he said in his pithy speech.

4:10pmBeyonce gets on the board! She wins Best Music Film for her Netflix documentary “Homecoming.” This is her 24th career victory, which ties her with composer John Williams as the seventh biggest winner of all time … for now. Williams is nominated a couple of times himself this year. Beyonce is now just three wins shy of Alison Krauss‘s record among female artists. Krauss has won 27 times. Check out the list of the most awarded artists of all-time here.

4:20pm — Esperanza Spalding takes over as presenter and hands Best New Age Album to Peter Kater for “Wings.” This is his second career win after claiming this same award for “Dancing on Water” in 2018. Meanwhile, Michael Cleveland takes Best Bluegrass Album for “Tall Fiddler.” This is his first Grammy win and second nomination.

4:25pmBest Traditional Blues Album goes to “Tall, Dark and Handsome” by Delbert McClinton and Self-Made Men along with Dana. This is McClinton’s fourth Grammy and Dana’s first. That was followed by Best Contemporary Blues Album, which was awarded to “This Land” by Gary Clark Jr. Clark is performing at the telecast tonight, so he’s not present to accept the award. He’s also up for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song for the title track. This was his second Grammy. And hooray! Patty Griffin won Best Folk Album for her self-titled collection. She’s one of my favorite singer-songwriters alive (she has written for Miranda Lambert, Dixie Chicks, and many more artists), so it’s wild that this is only her second career win.

4:30pmRanky Tanky takes Best Regional Roots Music Album for “Good Time”; it’s their first nomination and win. And Koffee takes Best Reggae Album for the first time for “Rapture.”

4:34pmJon Sampson takes Best Children’s Album for “Ageless Songs for the Child Archetype”; it’s his first nomination and first win. And the prize for Best Spoken Word Album goes to Michelle Obama for “Becoming,” so now she and her husband Barack Obama — maybe you’ve heard of him — have both won Grammys. Also a good day for The Chemical Brothers, who take both Best Dance/Electronic Album and Best Dance Recording. The EDM veterans have won six Grammys now in their careers.

4:45pmBest Instrumental Composition goes to John Williams for “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Symphonic Suite.” That brings him up to 25 total Grammys, which ties him with Vladimir Horowitz and Stevie Wonder as the fifth biggest Grammy winner of all-time. But he lost Best Arrangement (Instrumental or A Caappella). Jacob Collier won that for “Moon River,” so Williams couldn’t quite get to number-26. At least not this year. Collier won Best Arrangement (Instruments and Vocals) for “All Night Long” as well. Collier has won four Grammys in his career and actually has never lost.

4:50pm — “12 Little Spells” by Esperanza Spalding wins Best Jazz Vocal Album! So she goes from presenter to winner this afternoon. This is her fourth Grammy. She famously achieved one of the biggest Grammy upsets ever when she took home Best New Artist in 2011. That certainly has proved not to be a fluke. “Music is magic,” Spalding said in her speech about her collection.

4:53pm — More jazz prizes go to Randy Brecker (Best Improvised Jazz Solo, his seventh win), Brad Mehldau (Best Jazz Instrumental Album, his first victory on his 10th nomination) and Brian Lynch Big Band (Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album, their first nomination and win.)

4:56pmBest Latin Jazz Album goes to Chick Corea and the Spanish Heart Band for “Antidote.” So yet another musician on the all-time biggest winners list adds to his haul. Corea has now won 23 times, which places him ninth on the list of the all-time champs.

4:59pm — Jumping into country categories, Willie Nelson (“Ride Me Back Home”) upsets Tanya Tucker (“Bring My Flowers Now”) for Best Country Solo Performance (it’s his 10th Grammy victory). But Tucker does win Best Country Song for “Flowers.” It’s the first Grammy of her illustrious career, and her co-writer Brandi Carlile is now a four-time winner. They’ll both be performing tonight during the telecast. Tucker marveled that she still has some firsts left. “After 14 trips, 14 nominations, this is my first win. I can’t believe it,” she says. “No matter how young or old you are, never stop following your dreams.”

5:04pm — Another first for Tucker, who wins her second Grammy for the first time: Best Country Album for “While I’m Livin'”! Carlile moving explains that Tucker stopped making music after the deaths of her parents thinking that all her love was behind her, and that this has proved that that is certainly not true.

5:13pmBest Gospel Performance/Song goes to Kirk Franklin for “Love Theory,” no surprise since Franklin is so beloved by the recording academy. He has now won 15 times at the Grammys, and he’ll be performing tonight during the main Grammy telecast. Best Contemporary Christian Performance/Song goes to another academy favorite: Dolly Parton with For King and Country for “God Only Knows.” Parton has now won nine Grammys in her career, while For King and Country have three.

5:19pm — Make that 16 Grammys for Kirk Franklin, who just won Best Gospel Album too for “Long Live Love.” Best Contemporary Christian Album goes to “Burn The Ships” by For King and Country, which is their second win of the night and their fourth win overall.

5:24pmGloria Gaynor takes Best Roots Gospel Album for “Testimony.” This is only the second Grammy she has ever won, and her first since, yes, “I Will Survive.” “I am at last able to balance out my piano. It has been 40 years,” she says about that Best Disco Recording victory back in 1980. Glory to Gloria!

5:28pmAlejandro Sanz wins Best Latin Pop Album for “#Eldisco,” his fourth Grammy. And Rosalia takes home Best Latin Rock/Urban/Alternative album for “El Mal Querer.” She’s performing tonight during the telecast, where she also contends for Best New Artist. She explains that in addition to winning, she’s inspired by the fact that she’ll be able to perform her flamenco-inspired music during tonight’s show.

5:31pmBest Regional Mexican Music Album goes to Mariachi Los Camperos. It’s their second win in this category. Best Tropical Latin Album results in a tie! The first winner is Marc Anthony for “Opus” and Aymée Nuviola for “A Journey Through Cuban Music.” It was the third win for Anthony and the first for Nuviola.

5:36pmBest Rap Performance goes to “Racks in the Middle” by Nipsey Hussle, Roddy Ricch and Hit-Boy. This is the first of three posthumous nominations this year for Hussle, who was the victim of shocking murder in 2019. It’s his first victory, and his family accepts the award on his behalf. “I want to thank all of you for showing all the love that I have felt for him all of his life and will always live in my heart,” says his grandmother.

5:40pm — “Racks in the Middle” was also up for Best Rap Song, but that award goes to “A Lot” by 21 Savage featuring J. Cole. This is the first Grammy win for both artists. 21 Savage was nominated twice last year, while J. Cole has been nominated 11 times going back to his Best New Artist bid in 2012.

5:46pmBest Engineered Album (Classical) is awarded to the engineers and mixers of Kronos Quartet‘s “Riley: Sun Rings.” Blanton Alspaugh takes Producer of the Year (Classical); it’s his ninth Grammy and his third in this category. Conductor Gustavo Dudamel claims Best Orchestral Performance for “Norman: Sustain” — his second win on his second nomination. Gil Rose and his fellow producers claimed Best Opera Recording for “Picker: Fantastic Mr. Fox”; this is Rose’s first Grammy and fourth nomination.

5:54pm — Conductor Robert Simpson takes Best Choral Performance for “Duruflé: Complete Choral Works,” his first win on his first nomination. Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance goes to “Shaw: Orange” by Attacca Quartet, also first-time winners. Best Classical Instrumental Solo Performance goes to “Marsalis: Violin Concerto; Fiddle Dance Suite” by Nicola Benedetti, also a performer at this Premiere Ceremony.

6:02pmJoyce DiDonato takes Best Classical Solo Vocal Album for “Songplay,” which is the third Grammy of her career. “We need you more than ever,” she says to her fellow musicians in the audience. “Please, write the songs, play the music … and bring the world into a brighter place.” Best Classical Compendium was awarded to “The Poetry of Places” by first-time winner Nadia Shpachenko.

6:07pm Best Contemporary Classical Composition goes to “Higdon: Harp Concerto” by Jennifer Higdon. It’s her third Grammy victory.

6:12pm — Moving from classical music to musical theater, the Grammys reward Best Musical Theater Album to “Hadestown”! That’s not too surprising since Tony winners for Best Musical tend to do well here. The award goes to principal soloists Reeve CarneyAndré De ShieldsAmber Gray, Eva Noblezada and Patrick Page, plus producers Mara Isaacs, David Lai, Anaïs Mitchell and Todd Sickafoose. De Shields also won a Tony for the show, and he’s a past Emmy winner, which means he’s just an Oscar away from EGOT.

6:17pm — Gary Clark Jr. wins again: Best Rock Performance for “This Land.” He has only lost once tonight (Best Music Video), and he’s got one nomination left (Best Rock Song). He’s now a three-time Grammy winner overall in his career. Best Metal Performance was next, and it went to Tool for “7empest.” They’re also three-time winners, and they thanks voters’ long attention spans for listening to a 12-minute song. It’s been almost two decades since they last won: they also claimed Best Metal Performance in 1998 and 2002.

6:21pm — One more time for Gary Clark Jr., who does indeed claim Best Rock Song for “This Land.” That’s his third prize of the day. He’ll be performing tonight during the Grammys telecast, but he doesn’t have any more nominations. Best Rock Album goes to Cage the Elephant for “Social Cues.” It’s their second win in this category, following their victory for “Tell Me I’m Pretty” in 2017. This means no posthumous victory for The Cranberries late lead singer Dolores O’Riordan.

6:25pm — “Father of the Bride” by Vampire Weekend wins Best Alternative Album, overtaking fellow Album of the Year nominee “I, I” by Bon Iver. This is their second Grammy. They previously won this award for “Modern Vampires of the City” in 2014. Moving into the R&B field, Best R&B Performance went to Anderson Paak and Andre 3000 for “Come Home,” which was an upset against H.E.R. and Lizzo, who are both Album of the Year contenders, which usually translates to success in genre fields.

6:29pm — She didn’t win the last category, but Lizzo does now win her first ever Grammy: Best Traditional R&B Performance for “Jerome.” And PJ Morton upsets H.E.R. to win Best R&B Song for “Say So.”

6:32pm — Lizzo’s total is now two: she wins Best Urban Contemporary Album for “Cuz I Love You,” which is up for Album of the Year later tonight. And Anderson Paak prevails for the second time as well: Best R&B Album for “Ventura.”

6:35pm — Host Imogen Heap is back to present the last categories of the Premiere Ceremony. First up is Best World Music Album to Angélique Kidjo for “Celia,” who performed earlier during the pre-show. This is her fourth Grammy. She thanks Celia Cruz for teaching her, “My gender does not define who I am … Please do music for love.”

6:38pm — Best American Roots Performance goes to “Saint Honesty” by Sara Bareilles! Victory at last for Bareilles, who had earned eight nominations over the last 11 years without a victory. She has also earned Tony and Emmy nominations without a win, so this is her first major industry peer group honor. Best American Roots Song goes to “Call My Name” by I’m With Her, who performed earlier during the Premiere Ceremony. And Best Americana Album goes to Keb’ Mo’ for “Oklahoma.” Keb’ Mo’ has now won five times spanning 23 years. Alas, this means Best New Artist nominee Yola was shut out of her American Roots categories.

6:43pm — And that’s two wins for Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus, whose “Old Town Road” wins Best Pop Duo/Group Performance to go with their Best Music Video prize. Best Traditional Pop Album went to Elvis Costello and The Imposters for “Look Now,” overtaking the front-runners in our predictions, Barbra Streisand and Michael Buble. Perhaps surprisingly, this is only the second Grammy of Costello’s career. He previously won Best Pop Collaboration for “I Still Have That Other Girl” back in 1999.

6:46pm — Preview of things to come? Billie Eilish officially wins her first Grammy: Best Pop Album for “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” And to go along with that, her brother Finneas O’Connell wins again: Producer of the Year (Non-Classical). He thanks Eilish “for her trust and her vision.” So while Eilish only won once during this Premiere Ceremony, “When We All Fall Asleep” essentially won three times since O’Connell won Producer of the Year on the strength of that album.

6:52pm — That wraps up the Premiere Ceremony. Gary Clark Jr. led the way with three victories. Lizzo, Anderso Paak, Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus, and Tanya Tucker among the multiple artists who won twice apiece. Billie Eilish won once, but she’s sitting pretty after those two wins by her brother and collaborator Finneas O’Connell.

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