For over 60 years, songwriters, producers, singers, composers, music engineers, and more of the biggest names in music have gathered together on what many consider to be the “biggest night in music,” the Grammy Awards. The Recording Academy gives out over 80 awards each year for singles, albums, collaborations, scores, production, music videos, music films, and more.
This year’s Grammys took place on April 3, 2022, after a two-month delay due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Music has always been something that unites people, and especially in the years of the pandemic, music has been even more important. After last year’s ceremony took place with no audience at the Los Angeles Convention Center, everyone was excited to bring the Grammys back to the big stage. This year’s awards took place in Las Vegas, Nevada at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, hosted by comedian and actor Trevor Noah. It was an exciting night with tons of performances, red carpet outfits and interviews, and awards. Going into the ceremony, Jon Batiste had the most award nominations of any artist of the year (eleven nominations). Behind him were Justin Bieber, H.E.R., and Doja Cat with eight nominations, followed by Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo, each with seven.
Of course, just like every year, there were some expected winners along with some snubs and surprises. The big four awards of the show are always “Record of the Year,” “Song of the Year,” “Album of the Year,” and “Best New Artist.” This year, the number of nominees in the Big Four increased from eight to ten, so the competition was stronger than ever. The nominees for “Record of the Year,” an award given to the artist(s), producer(s), and engineer(s) of a song, did not come as a shock to most. Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” Olivia Rodrigo’s “drivers license,” Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever,” Doja Cat and SZA’s “Kiss Me More,” and Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak’s new duo Silk Sonic’s “Leave The Door Open” seemed to be the frontrunners, and also the obvious choices to nominate in this category. The award ended up going to “Leave the Door Open,” a throwback-sounding 70s R&B track. While it was one of the bigger hits of the year, it was still surprising for many. What was even more shocking was that it also won the award for “Song of the Year,” an award given to the songwriters, against the similar frontrunners of Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eilish, Doja Cat and SZA, Lil Nas X, along with H.E.R., Ed Sheeran, and more.
The winner for “Best New Artist” seemed to be a pretty obvious choice from the start, with Olivia Rodrigo one of the biggest artists of 2021. She did end up winning, beating out Baby Keem, FINNEAS, Glass Animals, The Kid LAROI, Saweetie, and more. While this wasn’t a huge shock, there was still a lot of good competition in the mix. Past winners of the award include The Beatles (1965), Mariah Carey (1991), Maroon 5 (2005), and the most recent winner Megan Thee Stallion (2021).
The final category of the Main Four is “Album of the Year,” which has always been the biggest award of the night. With ten nominees, it was anybody’s game. The albums in the mix included Jon Batiste’s WE ARE, Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett’s Love For Sale, Justin Bieber’s Justice, Doja Cat’s Planet Her, Billie Eilish’s Happier Than Ever, H.E.R.’s Back of My Mind, Lil Nas X’s MONTERO, Olivia Rodrigo’s SOUR, Taylor Swift’s evermore, and Kanye West’s Donda. Most predictions from various news sources pinned Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo, or even Doja Cat to end up taking the trophy home, but none of these artists won. Jon Batiste took the award home for his jazz and R&B-influenced eighth studio album WE ARE. This was an unexpected outcome, even for Jon himself, who appeared confused, as he slowly stood up once Lenny Kravitz announced his win. While this award may be considered an upset for many viewers, it was the first time a black artist won the award since 2008, when Herbie Hancock won for his album River: The Joni Letters.
The night went successfully overall, but there ended up being a few surprising snubs. Billie Eilish won none of her seven nominations, which came as a surprise for most considering she won all four of the Big Four categories just two years prior, and Record of the Year the year before. Lil Nas X also went home with no awards, even after his incredibly successful year with multiple number one hits and the release of his chart-topping debut album. Justin Bieber was another snub, going home with zero Grammys after being one of the most nominated artists of the year. All three artists were nominated for three out of the main four categories, but snubs like these are bound to happen every year.
The night’s biggest winner was Jon Batiste, who won five of his eleven nominations, including Album of the Year, best American roots performance, and best American roots song for his track “CRY,” best score soundtrack for visual media for the movie Soul, and also best music video for his single “FREEDOM.” Silk Sonic was another big winner, winning four out of their four nominations, all for their hit single “Leave the Door Open” in an impressive Grammy feat called a “clean sweep.” Along with Record and Song of the Year, they also won Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song. Olivia Rodrigo was the next biggest winner, taking home Best New Artist, along with Best Pop Solo Performance for her hit “drivers license” and Best Pop Vocal Album for her breakout debut album SOUR. The Grammys this year were an exciting night as always, and next year’s is lining up to be just as good.