Beyoncé set to make Grammy history; Styles, Eilish perform

NEW YORK (AP) — Queen Bey is close to sitting on her Grammys throne: The singer won her 26th Grammy on Sunday, almost matching, and on track to surpass, Alison Krauss’ 27-win record.

Beyoncé, this year’s leading contender with nine nominations, won two honors during the pre-ceremony including best rap performance for “Savage” with Megan Thee Stallion and best music video for “Brown Skin Girl.” She shares the latter with daughter Blue Ivy Carter, who is also having a historic night: At 9 years old, she’s the second youngest to win a Grammy.

Beyoncé’s other nominations, including song and record of the year, best R&B performance and best rap song, will broadcast during the live show, which kicked off with host Trevor Noah telling jokes about the coronavirus pandemic and the year that was 2020.

He was live from downtown Los Angeles, with attendees wearing masks and sitting, socially distanced, at small round tables.

That was followed by performances from Harry Styles, who is competing for his first Grammys this year, and Billie Eilish, who won five Grammys last year and picked up her sixth honor during the pre-show.

Other performances, taped days before the big show, will air throughout the night, including Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Cardi B, BTS, Bad Bunny, Megan Thee Stallion, DaBaby, Dua Lipa, Post Malone, Chris Martin, Lil Baby, John Mayer, Maren Morris and Doja Cat.

During the pre-show, Fiona Apple and Kaytranda were also double winners Sunday. John Prine and Chick Corea both earned two wins posthumously. Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Dan + Shay, James Taylor, H.E.R., Beck, Brandi Carlile, Burna Boy, Tiffany Haddish and Rachel Maddow also won Grammys.

While Beyoncé is set to have a historic night, history could repeat itself and she could be shut out of winning a top award — a common occurrence for R&B and rap artists throughout Grammy history. Of her 26 wins, only one has been for one of the big four Grammys, song of the year. She has lost album of the year three times and record of the year five times.

Jay-Z has never won a top award, and he and his wife join a list of mostly Black performers who have been restricted to wins in the rap and R&B categories, including Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Mariah Carey, Eminem, Drake, Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige and more.

This year The Weeknd was the one who was snubbed. Despite having the biggest hit of 2020 with “Blinding Lights” and a top-selling, multi-hit album, he didn’t earn any nominations. He’s won three Grammys so far — only in the R&B categories — but he’s vowed to boycott the Grammys because he doesn’t agree with how the Recording Academy selects its winners.

Still, Beyoncé and Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” could become the second hip-hop song to win record of the year.

Taylor Swift could make history too and become the first woman to win the show’s top prize, album of the year, three times. Her first surprise album of 2020 — the folky, alternative adventure “folklore” — is competing for the top honor, an award she first won in 2010 for “Fearless,” her breakthrough that helped establish her as a bona fide pop star even though she sang country music. She won again in 2016 for “1989,” her first full-length pop album that dominated the charts with a bounty of hits.

Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra and Paul Simon are some of the male performers who have won album of the year three times. Producers or engineers have also won the award three times, including Phil Ramone, Ryan Tedder, David Foster, Bob Ludwig, Serban Ghenea and others. The only person to win the prize four times is mastering engineer Tom Coyne, who died in 2017.

Other women who could make history Sunday include Megan Thee Stallion, who could also become the first female rapper to win best rap song. The sister trio HAIM is also the first all-female rock band nominated for album of the year.

Artists competing with Swift for album of the year include Coldplay, Post Malone, Dua Lipa, Jhené Aiko, HAIM, Black Pumas and Jacob Collier, who picked up a win during the pre-ceremony.

The Grammys were originally scheduled for Jan. 31 but were pushed back because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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