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The Huntington News



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Column: Female artists win big at the 2024 Grammy Awards

Liza Sheehy

The 66th Grammy Awards was a success for women in music — from Miley Cyrus’ first-ever win to Taylor Swift’s history-making Album of the Year triumph, women dominated the Feb. 4 ceremony. 

Before the main ceremony even began, Phoebe Bridgers, along with fellow boygenius members Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker, collected three awards for “the record,” the band’s debut album. Bridgers picked up another Grammy for her collaboration with SZA on the song “Ghost in the Machine” and ended the evening as the most-awarded artist of the night. 

Dua Lipa opened the ceremony with a medley of her latest singles, “Houdini” and “Training Season,” as well as “Dance the Night” from “Barbie. Her use of a cage during the opening created a visually enticing start. She then moved onto the main stage where backup dancers joined her in full, creating pure pop perfection. 

SZA, the most nominated artist of the evening and a fellow performer, walked away with three of the coveted awards. Her performance of “Kill Bill” and “Snooze,” both nominated songs, was set in front of a rundown home being set on fire as she sang of her troubled relationship. She described the ceremony as a “fever dream.”

Another major performer of the night was Olivia Rodrigo, who was nominated alongside boygenius and SZA for Album of the Year. She captivated the audience as she donned a red dress and held a fist full of blood while singing “vampire,” the lead single from her sophomore album, “GUTS.” Though she did not take any awards home, critics have described her performance as “electrifying.” 

One fan-favorite celebrity of the night was Cyrus following her first Grammy win. Her shock and excitement were palpable as Mariah Carey announced that “Flowers” won Best Pop Solo Performance. Cyrus kept Carey by her side while delivering her acceptance speech, saying, “This MC is going to stay by this MC.” She then told a story of a little boy finally catching a butterfly when he least expected it, concluding that “this song, ‘Flowers,’ is my butterfly.” 

This accomplishment was followed by a performance of the song, with ad-libs only Cyrus could pull off. When she noticed a lack of audience members singing along she stopped to say, “Why are you acting like you don’t know this song?” She also added,  “I just won my first Grammy!” which earned cheers from Swift. Cyrus won Record of the Year later in the night, also for “Flowers.” 

Swift seemed to enjoy her night, starting with a late arrival at the ceremony. The camera flashed to her several times during acceptance speeches and performances to show her clapping and dancing. Swift took home two awards — one that nearly broke the internet and one that made history.

During her acceptance speech for Best Pop Vocal Album, Swift announced her 11th studio album, “The Tortured Poets Department. The announcement spawned a trending social media hashtag, but a rather lackluster reaction from the attendees. 

Later, Swift won the night’s biggest award, Album of the Year, for “Midnights. This was her fourth win in this category, a feat no other artist has achieved. However, when she brought Lana Del Rey, a contributor on the album but also a category nominee onstage for her acceptance speech, she received backlash online, temporarily tainting this historic accomplishment

Social media users and Del Rey fans said Del Rey didn’t want to be on stage and Swift was cruel for bringing her up. After the ceremony, Del Rey defended Swift on a fan account’s Instagram post with the comment, “I literally did not feel 1 ounce of negative emotion at any point in that award ceremony. It was pure funniness and laughter.”

Swift also received criticism for not acknowledging Celine Dion — who made a surprise appearance as the presenter for Album of the Year — when accepting the Grammy for the award. X, formerly known as Twitter, users were quick to call Swift out, and Dion herself quickly shared a photo of the two backstage after Swift’s team “scrambled” to fix the situation. 

Despite the controversy the ceremony generated, there were a few moving moments. One of the night’s most wholesome moments was a duet of “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman with Luke Combs. The duo received a flood of positive comments and the song moved to the number one spot on iTunes the next morning. Another heartwarming moment was Joni Mitchell’s debut Grammys performance. She went home with the award for Best Folk Album, 50 years after her first win. 

The music industry, like most of Hollywood, has struggled with diversity in nominees. There have been conversations about the Recording Academy’s failure to adequately honor artists of color and female artists who are excelling. In fact, #GrammysSoMale began trending on X before the 2018 ceremony in response to a noticeable lack of female nominees in major categories. The Academy’s president responded to the criticism with a statement whose key phrase was, “Women need to step up.” 

Promptly following the announcement of this year’s nominations, articles were published noting the number of women nominated, but this time it was positive. Women dominated the categories, and later, dominated the ceremony — at this year’s awards, each of the major category winners was a woman. This triumph, though long overdue, might signal a change in the music industry. After years of being overlooked by both the Recording Academy and its voters, women are finally receiving recognition for their brilliant work. The 2024 Grammys are a first step in what seems to be a promising future of recognizing all artists and creatives. Award shows are known for their iconic moments that pop culture enthusiasts will reference for years to come — think the iconic Oscars selfie or the infamous slap. This year’s Grammys, though not nearly as controversial, had many memorable moments. Music’s biggest night was a sweeping success for female artists with history-making wins, album announcements, career firsts and entrancing performances.

About the Contributor
Liza Sheehy, Deputy Design Editor
Liza Sheehy is a third-year history, culture, and law major with a minor in Spanish and journalism studies. She is currently serving as deputy design editor for The News. Liza is originally from Baltimore, Maryland and has been designing for The News since spring 2022.
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