Grammys 2021: Early prizes go to Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Billie Eilish
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Grammys 2021: Early prizes go to Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Billie Eilish

By Mark Savage

BBC music reporter

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionBeyonce, Lady Gaga and Billie Eilish were among the early winners

Beyoncé has picked up her 25th and 26th Grammy Awards, as “music’s biggest night” kicks off in Los Angeles.

The star won best music video for Brown Skin Girl and best rap performance for her duet with Megan Thee Stallion, Savage (Remix).

Billie Eilish, who dominated last year’s awards, also won a prize for her Bond theme, No Time To Die.

Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s Rain On Me became the first female duet to win best the best pop duo category.

The stars beat Korean pop group BTS in to the prize. The seven-piece boyband had hoped to be the first K-Pop act to win a Grammy with their hit single, Dynamite.

The awards were announced online ahead of the main Grammys ceremony on Sunday night, which is expected to be a hybrid of live and pre-taped performances.

Host Trevor Noah said the show would be different to the usual event, where music’s biggest stars congregate at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, but promised a night of spectacular entertainment.

“They have figured out how to make an awards show for the time as opposed to trying to crowbar an awards show into it,” he said last week.

“It’s not Zoom, it’s not pandemic-y… The bands are sort of going to be performing for each other.”

Posthumous prizes

Beyoncé had the most nominations going into the ceremony – with nine in total. If she wins two more, she will overtake bluegrass singer Alison Krauss as the most-awarded woman in Grammy history.

image captionBeyonce’s Grammy success added to an already record-breaking career

Taylor Swift and Dua Lipa both have six nominations each, alongside rapper Roddy Ricch.

British star Harry Styles will open the ceremony, with other performances due from BTS, Taylor Swift, Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion and Chris Martin of Coldplay.

The early pre-ceremony raced through dozens of genre categories – from world music to rap and bluegrass – as well as some of the more esoteric awards, like best packaging (which went to rock supergroup The Desert Sessions for their album Vols 11 & 12).

image copyrightThe Recording Academy

image captionMegan Thee Stallion’s win in the best rap category could make her a strong contender for song of the year

Kanye West took the Grammy for his gospel album Jesus is King, while John Prine won two posthumous awards for his song I Love Life.

The star, who died last April of Covid-19, was honoured with best American roots performance and American roots song.

London-born musician Jacob Collier made Grammy history by becoming the first British artist ever to win a prize for each of his first four albums.

The 26-year-old, who is also up for album of the year at the main ceremony, won the best arrangement for his track He Won’t Hold You.

Nigeria’s Burna Boy won the best global music album for Twice As Tall album; while his fellow countryman Wizkid shared the award for best music video with Beyonce and her daughter Blue Ivy.

In the rock categories, The Strokes picked up best album for The New Abnormal; and Fiona Apple’s Fetch The Bolt Cutters took home best alternative album.

The award show is taking place against the backdrop of controversy surrounding its voting procedures.

Canadian superstar The Weeknd said he will boycott the awards in future due to what he described as the “secret committees” that vote for the winners.

He was a surprise snub at this year’s ceremony despite having one of 2020’s biggest-selling albums.

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