LOS ANGELES — Beyoncé stands alone on her Grammy throne: With her fourth win Sunday night, she has become the most decorated artist in the show’s history surpassing the 26-year-old record once held by the late Hungarian-British conductor Georg Solti.
“I’m trying not to be too emotional,” the superstar said as her husband Jay-Z stood and applauded her. The singer thanked her late uncle, her parents, Jay-Z and her children for supporting her. “I’m just trying to receive this night. I want to thank God for protecting me. Thank you, God.”
Beyoncé has now collected 32 awards after she won for best R&B song for “Cuff It,” dance-electric music recording for “Break My Soul,” traditional R&B performance for “Plastic Off the Sofa” and dance-electric music for her seventh studio album “Renaissance,” which is also nominated for album of the year.
Beyoncé missed the milestone of tying Solti’s record, which stood since 1997. Host Trevor Noah said she was on her way to the ceremony but blamed Los Angeles traffic for not being in person to accept it. The song was written by several writers including Beyonce, The-Dream, Nile Rodgers and Raphael Saadiq.
Once Beyoncé — the night’s leading nominee — finally arrived, Noah presented her with the best R&B song award at her table.
Bad Bunny opened the Grammy Awards with a festive, high-energy performance that brought many of the audience including Taylor Swift who rose to her feet and danced near her table at Los Angeles’ Crypto.com Arena.
Noah introduced Bunny calling him a “global force” who is the most streamed and listened to artist in the world.
Styles won the main telecast’s first award for best pop vocal album for “Harry’s House.” The singer said recording the song was one of the “greatest experiences of my life. It’s been my greatest joy.”
Sam Smith and Kim Petras won best pop duo-group performance for their song “Unholy.” Petras said Smith wanted Petras to make the acceptance speech because “I’m the first transgender woman to win this award.”
“I want to thank all the incredible transgender legends before me who kicked these doors open for me so I could be here tonight,” said Petras, who made a reference to friend and Grammy-nominated musician Sophie, who died after an accidental fall in Athens, Greece in 2021. “You told me this would happen. I always believed in me. Thank you so much for your inspiration, Sophie. I adore you, and your inspiration will forever be in my music.”
Petras thanked Madonna for being a tremendous supporter of LGBTQ rights.
“I don’t think I could be here without Madonna,” Petras said. “My mother, I grew up next to a highway in nowhere Germany. And my mother believed me that I was a girl. I wouldn’t be here without her and her support.”
During the in memoriam segment, the Grammys recognized the lives of Loretta Lynn, Migos rapper Takeoff and Christine McVie with several star-studded performers paying them homage. The touching performances included Kacey Musgraves singing “Coal Miner’s Daughter” in tribute to Lynn; Quavo and the Maverick City Music hit the stage to honor his nephew Takeoff with the song “Without You;” and Sheryl Crow, Mick Fleetwood and Bonnie Raitt performed “Songbird” to remember McVie.
Kendrick Lamar won sixth career trophy for best rap performance for “The Heart Part 5” and also won best rap album for his studio offering, “Mr. Morales & The Big Steppers.”
“You know, as entertainers, we say things to provoke thoughts and feelings and emotions,” he said. “So making this record is one of my toughest. … I would like to thank the culture for allowing me to evolve in order to make this. I finally found imperfection with this album.”
Viola Davis emerged from Sunday’s show an EGOT — a term for those who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony — after her win for best audio book, narration and storytelling recording. The actor gave an emotional speech and emphatically said “I just EGOT” after she marched on stage to collect her award.
“Oh, my God,” she said. “I wrote this book to honor the 6-year-old Viola, to honor her, her life, her joy, her trauma, everything,” Davis said. “It has just been such a journey.”
Tattered streetwear, T-shirts and denim mixed with blinged-out couture, wild patterns and plenty of skin on the Grammys carpet. Lizzo wowed in a bright orange Dolce & Gabbana robe adorned with flowers and a huge hood while Taylor Swift wore a long two-piece sparkly skirt with a high-neck and long-sleeve crop top in midnight blue.
Brandi Carlile made a rare appearance during the pre-telecast for a major artist. The singer showed up after her song “Broke Horses” won for best rock performance and best rock song, a songwriter’s award, and best Americana album.
“It’s rock ‘n’ roll, man,” said a smiling Carlile, who jogged on stage with a couple of her band members. “I cannot tell you how much this means to us.
We’re born and raised in Seattle. When I met these guys 22 years ago we decided to get into a band.” Carlile co-wrote “Broken Horses” with twin brothers Phil and Tim Hanseroth.
This year’s Grammys have also introduced several new categories, including one for video game music composition, which went to the soundtrack for “Assassins Creed: Valhalla.”
The show marks a return to Los Angeles after the pandemic first delayed, then forced the Grammys to move to Las Vegas last year. Noah hosted the ceremony as well, which saw Jon Batiste take home album of the year.
AP Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy contributed to this report.