Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Megan Thee Stallion make history at the 2021 Grammy Awards
Swift became the first woman to win album of the year three times, while Beyonce is the most decorated female act in Grammy history.
Beyonce and Taylor Swift had a historic night at the Grammys, where the top four awards were won by female acts.
Swift became the first female performer to win album of the year three times and Beyonce, with her 28th win, became the most decorated woman in Grammy history. She also ties Quincy Jones for second place among all Grammy winners.
HER won song of the year and Billie Eilish picked up record of the year, telling the audience that best new artist winner Megan Thee Stallion deserved the honour.
Though women have won all top four awards in the past – including Eilish's sweep last year – it marked the first time four separate and solo women won the top four honours.
"We just want to thank the fans," said Swift, who won the top prize with Folklore and previously won album of the year with her albums Fearless and 1989.
Beyonce walked into the show with 24 wins and picked up four honours, including best R&B performance for Black Parade, best music video for Brown Skin Girl as well as best rap performance and best rap song for Savage, with Megan Thee Stallion.
"As an artist I believe it's my job, and all of our jobs, to reflect time and it's been such a difficult time," Beyonce said onstage as she won best R&B performance for Black Parade, which was released on Juneteenth.
She went on to say she created the song to honour the "beautiful black kings and queens" in the world.
She added: “I have been working my whole life ... This is such a magical night".
Beyonce is only behind the late conductor Georg Solti, who is the most decorated Grammy winner with 31 wins.
But Beyonce didn't only make history, her whole family did. The royal family of music all won honours on Sunday: Jay-Z shared the best rap song win since he co-wrote Savage and nine-year-old Blue Ivy Carter – who won best music video alongside her mother – became the second youngest act to win a Grammy in show’s 63-year history. Leah Peasall was eight when The Peasall Sisters won album of the year at the 2002 show for their appearance on the T Bone Burnett-produced O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.
Megan Thee Stallion, who won three honours, also made history and became the first female rapper to win best rap song. She's also the fifth rap-based act to win best new artist.
Beyonce was the night’s top contender with nine nominations. She didn't perform but Swift did.
She sang Cardigan and August from Folklore, as well as Willow from Evermore, and was joined by the collaborators who helped her make the albums, Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner, who both won album of the year with Swift.
Silk Sonic, aka Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak, also performed, bringing a throwback R&B vibe to the show with their smooth new single, Leave The Door Open. Dua Lipa, who won best pop vocal album, proved her pop star status with a performance of her hits Don’t Start Now and Levitating, where she was joined by the DaBaby, who was an all-star during his own performance of his guitar-tinged rap hit Rockstar, flipping the song for an exceptional live rendition featuring R&B singer Anthony Hamilton, a skilled violinist and background singers.
And country singer Mickey Guyton – the first black female nominated for best country solo performance – gave an impressive performance of her song Black Like Me.
Black Parade joined a list of songs honouring the black experience that won on Sunday, including HER's protest anthem I Can't Breathe and Anderson Paak's Lockdown, which was released on Juneteenth like Black Parade.
Other performers included Billie Eilish, Cardi B, Bad Bunny, Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris and Harry Styles, who won best pop solo performance for the hit Watermelon Sugar.
“To everyone who made this record with me, thank you so much,” said Styles, the first member of One Direction to win a Grammy.
Host Trevor Noah kicked off the show 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.
Double winners include HER, Fiona Apple, Kaytranada and late performers John Prine and Chick Corea.