Moment of silence for Kobe Bryant opens pre-telecast Grammys

The Grammy Awards pre-telecast ceremony, where most of the trophies are handed out, opened on Sunday afternoon with a brief remembrance of NBA star Kobe Bryant, who was killed earlier in the day in a helicopter crash in California.

“Since we are in his house, I would ask you to join me in a moment of silence, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, referring to the arena where Bryant played for the LA Lakers.

As the awards were announced A Star Is Born had a rebirth at the 2020 Grammys: after winning two honours at last year’s show, the top-selling soundtrack won Lady Gaga two more awards.

The album won best compilation soundtrack for visual media, giving Bradley Cooper his second Grammy. The song I’ll Never Love Again picked up best song written for visual media, awarded to songwriters including Gaga, Natalie Hemby, Hillary Lindsey and Aaron Raitiere.

At the 2019 Grammys, Gaga and Cooper won best pop duo/group performance for Shallow, and the Oscar-winning song also won the Grammy for best song written for visual media.

Gaga will compete for one more Grammy — song of the year for I’ll Never Love Again — which will be presented during the live show.

Michelle Obama picked up best spoken world album for Becoming during the pre-show. Former U.S. president Barack Obama has won that same honour twice. And Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus won best music video for Old Town Road, marking the first Grammy win for both performers.

“Let me just hold it,” Lil Nas X said, looking at the gramophone. “Um. Thank you.”

Lil Nas X accepts the award for best music video for Old Town Road on Sunday. (Matt Sayles/Associated Press)

Others who won ahead of the telecast included Billie Eilish’s older brother Finneas, who picked up best engineered album (non-classical) for his work on his sister’s debut album. Composer Hildur Guonadottir won best score soundtrack for visual media for Chernobyl. Guonadottir won an Emmy last year for composing the TV series and she’s nominated for an Oscar for her work on Joker.

Beyoncé also won an early Grammy: She picked up best music film for her Netflix special Homecoming. It was her 24th Grammy.

Cloud looms over awards

New stars like Lizzo and Eilish have a chance at winning the first Grammys of their career, but a cloud loomed over this year’s awards.

Ten days before arguably the biggest night in music, the industry erupted when the Recording Academy announced it had put its recently hired CEO, Deborah Dugan, on administrative leave for misconduct. Dugan and her lawyers fired back at the academy, claiming that the awards show is rigged.

Tarriona “Tank” Ball of the New Orleans soul-funk band Tank and the Bangas, nominated for best new artist, said she’s not letting the drama ruin the achievement for her band.

“I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be at, and I don’t want anything taking away from all the nominees,” Ball said.

“This is our moment. This is our time.”

Alicia Keys returns as host for a second year. (Charles Sykes/Invision/Associated Press)

Alicia Keys is once again hosting the Grammys, which air live from the Staples Center starting at 8 p.m. ET. The show will be jam-packed with performances, including Ariana Grande, BTS, Camila Cabello, Demi Lovato, Jonas Brothers, DJ Khaled, Rosalia, Aerosmith, Bonnie Raitt, Tyler, the Creator, Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton, John Legend and Cyndi Lauper.

The show will also include special tributes to Prince and Nipsey Hussle, who is posthumously nominated for three awards, as well as longtime Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich, who is wrapping up his career with the show Sunday.

Lizzo, the top nominee competing for eight awards, will also perform.

Her major-label debut, Cuz I Love You, is nominated for album of the year along with projects from Grande, Lana Del Rey, Vampire Weekend, H.E.R., Bon Iver, Eilish and Lil Nas X.

Lizzo, seen arriving at the Staples Center on Sunday, was the top nominee for this year’s awards. (Jordan Strauss/Invision/Associated Press)

Lizzo’s No. 1 hit, Truth Hurts, is also up for song and record of the year. Eilish, who will perform, also scored song and record of the year nods for her No. 1 hit, Bad Guy.

Other record of the year nominees include Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road, Grande’s 7 Rings, Post Malone and Swae Lee’s Sunflower, H.E.R.’s Hard Place, Bon Iver’s Hey, Ma and Khalid’s Talk.

Taylor Swift was shut out of album and record of the year, but she did score a nod for song of the year — a songwriter’s award. Her tune Lover is nominated against Truth HurtsBad GuyHard Place, Lady Gaga’s Always Remember Us This Way from A Star Is Born, Lewis Capaldi’s Someone You Loved, Lana Del Rey’s Norman F–king Rockwell and Tanya Tucker’s Bring My Flowers Now, which was co-written by Brandi Carlile.

The Grammys will hand out roughly 10 awards during the live show. Most of the 84 awards are given out before the live show. Presenters this year include Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Billy Porter, Trevor Noah, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, Cynthia Erivo, Ava DuVernay, Shania Twain and Common.