Apr 4, 2022 - Technology

Jon Batiste wins album of the year at 2022 Grammys

Jon Batiste, winner of Best American Roots Performance for "Cry," poses in the press room during the 64th Annual Grammy Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on April 3. Photo: Mindy Small/Getty Images

With roughly two dozen live performances packed into a 3.5 hour event, the 64th annual Grammy Awards — which aired live Sunday on CBS and Paramount+ — felt more like an extended concert than a buzzy awards show.

Why it matters: With more music and less talking, the Grammys avoided the kind of drama that sucked up all of the attention at last week's Oscars.

  • Instead, the focus was on the joy of performing live, something the music industry no longer takes for granted following two years of pandemic-driven show cancellations.
  • The show also hit the right emotional and political chords, with a somber segment dedicated to Ukraine, a fair number of multicultural winners and heartfelt speeches.

Details: Jon Batiste, the most-nominated artist of the night, took home five prizes, — the most of any artist — including the award for album of the year for his latest LP titled "We Are."

  • Even Batiste, who is best known as the bandleader on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert," seemed surprised by his big win, given his album wasn't considered a huge hit commercially compared to others nominated.

Other award highlights:

  • Silk Sonic — the musical duo comprising Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak — won song of the year, record of the year, best R&B song and best R&B performance, for their song and album, "Leave the Door Open," beating out stars like Olivia Rodrigo, Ed Sheeran, Billie Eilish, Justin Bieber, Lil Nas X and Doja Cat in both categories.
  • Olivia Rodrigo, the 19-year-old pop star whose 2021 hit "Drivers License" broke streaming records, took home best new artist, best pop solo performance and best pop vocal album.
  • The Foo Fighters became the most-awarded band in Grammys history with the addition of three wins on Sunday. The band was supposed to perform Sunday night but canceled after its drummer Taylor Hawkins died last week while on tour.
  • Chris Stapleton, the soulful country music star from Kentucky, took home three awards for three different songs.

For the record: The most powerful moment was a pre-recorded video from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he urged Americans to "support us in any way you can. Any — but not silence."

  • Following Zelensky's speech, John Legend sang his ballad "Free," in a performance that featured Ukrainian singer Mika Newton, Ukrainian bandura player Siuzanna Iglidan and Ukrainian poet Lyuba Yakimchuk to honor and recognize the war.

The big picture: The show reflected a return to normal life following last year's ceremony, which featured socially distanced musicians and presenters and no live audience.

  • This year's Grammys were initially supposed to take place on Jan. 31 but were pushed back due to rising COVID-19 Omicron cases.
  • On Sunday, the weight of the pandemic felt far away. The event, which took place live at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, acknowledged tour workers and others impacted by COVID-19 but didn’t harp on the issue.
  • Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars was talked about on the red carpet and on stage, with Grammys host, comedian Trevor Noah, referencing it during the show's open. Questlove made a comment about it on stage while presenting.

What to watch: The Grammys live TV audience has been in decline for years, but hit a new low last year, despite the event being lauded as intimate and unique.

  • This year's show may have benefited from the buzz from last week's Oscars, but without many stand-out moments, it's unlikely the ratings will recover significantly.
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