Host Trevor Noah shepherded the 66th Grammys through Los Angeles rain, late arrivals and a flurry of stunning moments that amounted to one of the best awards shows of the year. From Taylor Swift’s surprise new album announcement to tribute performances from Stevie Wonder and Fantasia Barrino as well as lively performances from Miley Cyrus, SZA and Dua Lipa, the show was packed with lively, unforgettable and at times emotional moments.
Icons Tracy Chapman, Joni Mitchell and Billy Joel brought the house down with their returns to the spotlight, and Swift became the record holder for the most Album of the Year wins, taking home her fourth for “Midnights.”
TheWrap runs down the best Grammys moments of this year’s telecast.
Meryl Streep’s late arrival and banter with Trevor Noah
After a roaring performance from Dua Lipa, host Trevor Noah walked through the aisles to perform his monologue. When he stopped to marvel that “Barbie” music producer Mark Ronson’s mother-in-law Meryl Streep would be attending the Grammys, the Oscar-winning actress was absent from her chair. Then, as Noah vamped, the “Only Murders in the Building” actress hurried over to her seat in a white power suit, hugged Noah and apologized. “You don’t have to apologize to me,” Noah responded before he quipped that Streep’s attendance at the Grammys meant that the Grammys would win an Oscar somehow. It was a genuine moment of spontaneity that added to the excitement of the telecast.
Streep later went on stage to present the Record of the Year Grammy alongside Ronson and performed a comedy bit in which she asked Ronson to explain the difference between Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year.
Tracy Chapman performs “Fast Car” with Luke Combs
Early in the telecast, a performance of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” brought the entire audience to their feet and set social media ablaze with praise for Chapman. The performance was a duet between Luke Combs, who has found success covering the song on tour, and the 59-year-old Chapman who has been away from the spotlight for decades. It was a stunning rendition, and Chapman’s song shot to the top of the iTunes charts afterwards.
Full Tracy Chapman & Luke Combs "Fast Car" Performance – Tracy's first live performance in 20 years— Brock Skretting (@brockskretting) February 5, 2024
Taylor Swift announces a new album
Many Swifties suspected that a release date for the Taylor’s Version edition of Taylor Swift’s 2017 album “reputation” may be imminent because the singer changed her Instagram profile picture to black and white ahead of the ceremony, but Swift had a whole different plan. While accepting the award for Best Pop Vocal Album, Swift announced her 11th album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” which will be out April 19. Swift has done this once before at the MTV Video Music Awards in August 2022, where she announced “Midnights” amidst her rerecording process.
SZA’s “Kill Bill” performance
SZA began her Grammys performance dressed in all black with a brimmed hat in front of a flaming dumpster, singing “Snooze.” Her segue into the heavily nominated “Kill Bill” began when a dancer wielding a samurai sword got up on one of the tables where Victoria Monét and Phoebe Bridgers were seated. Bridgers was absolutely thrilled to witness the sword-wielding woman flipping her blade around in the air before she jumped off the table and approached SZA onstage.
Miley Cyrus thrills with electric “Flowers” performances
After winning her first Grammy for “Flowers,” Miley Cyrus took the stage to perform the hit single from “Endless Summer Vacation.” Wearing a silver sparkly dress to shimmy, Cyrus went all out, at one point asking the crowd why they were acting like they didn’t know the song and encouraging them to sing along (they did). As the chorus came around another time, Cyrus turned the bridge “Started to cry, but I remembered I…” into a celebration of her victory by adding “I just won my first Grammy!” Oprah Winfrey was bopping along, as was Taylor Swift. Cyrus ended her third live performance of the song by quite literally dropping the mic.
Annie Lennox pays emotional tribute to Sinéad O’Connor, Stevie Wonder remembers Tony Bennett
During the In Memoriam segment, always a highlight of the Grammys, Stevie Wonder sang “For Once in My Life” in honor of the late Tony Bennett, who died in July of last year. In another section of the segment, a visibly emotional Annie Lennox sang Sinéad O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” and ended by calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war.
Fantasia Barrino sings “Proud Mary”
Fantasia Barrino channeled Tina Turner for a tribute rendition of “Proud Mary” that brought the house down. Clad in a shiny gold dress suit, the star of “The Color Purple” brought all of the energy and then some required of such a task. Barrino ventured into the audience to dance with Dua Lipa and Beyoncé before making her way to the center circle stage to close out the number.
Joni Mitchell’s first Grammys performance
Impossibly, Joni Mitchell made her first-ever performance at the Grammys at the age of 80. Joined by Brandi Carlile, Mitchell sang a beautiful version of “Both Sides Now.”
Jay-Z calls out the Grammys for Beyoncé snub
Jay-Z stood up for his wife Beyoncé as he accepted the Dr. Dre Global Impact Grammy with daughter Blue Ivy next to him onstage. While discussing the organization’s lack of hip-hop representation in the past, he noted that while Beyoncé is the winningest artist in Grammy history, she’s never won Album of the Year. “I don’t want to embarrass this young lady but she has more Grammys and everyone but never won album of the year,” he said. “So even by your own metrics, that doesn’t work.”
Celine Dion surprises to present Album of the Year
Legendary songstress Celine Dion made a surprise appearance to close out the night and present the Album of the Year Grammy. Despite her recent diagnosis with stiff person syndrome, the “Taking Chances” singer gracefully thanked the audience and emphasized how happy she was to be on the Grammys stage 27 years after she won the category. She then got to open the envelope and proclaim Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” the album of the year, which makes Swift the only artist to win four Grammys in that category. She previously won for “Fearless,” “1989” and “folklore.”