Unexpected wins and disgruntled fans at 65th Grammys

Gracie Moore, Reporter

The 65th Annual Grammy Awards saw lots of surprises and backlash after its commencement on Feb. 5.

Many thought that the nominations and wins were unfair or undeserved, including the wins of Bonnie Raitt, Sam Smith and Harry Styles. 

There’s a lot to keep up with, so I’m going to talk you through the drama and the controversy. 

Starting with the Song of the Year category, the crowd went silent when Raitt was announced the winner. 

Raitt is an American blues singer, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, 13-time Grammy winner and was named one of the greatest guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone

She won the Grammy for Song of the Year over artists like Harry Styles, Beyoncé and Taylor Swift for her song “Just Like That.” 

Shortly after the win was announced, The Daily Mail described Raitt as “the unknown artist” in an article that has since been taken down. 

Fans of other artists like Beyoncé took their disappointment to Twitter. 

User @Nikki_StrongArm said, “(Raitt) might be a legend but that song does not slap like that. Not enough for her to be beating Beyoncé.” 

I admit that I was not familiar with Raitt before Sunday, and I think that there were many artists who deserved the award. But that doesn’t mean Raitt deserves it any less. 

Many pointed out that at the time of the awards show, “Just Like That” stood at around 400,000 plays on Spotify, which is undeniably less streams than the likes of Beyoncé or Adele. 

Some argued that it’s not popularity, but songwriting, that sets apart winners. 

But to this point, songs with subpar (or sometimes below average) songwriting like “abcdefu” by Gayle being nominated doesn’t make sense. 

In the same realm of popularity, Styles took home awards in two categories, giving the star three Grammys in total. 

But when he won Album of the Year for “Harry’s House,” a crowd member screamed out, “Beyoncé should’ve won” during his acceptance speech. 

There’s a long history of both fans and other artists making winners feel undeserving of their award. 

When Billie Eilish won the Record of the Year in 2021 for “Everything I Wanted,” she admitted that she fully believed Megan Thee Stallion would win for “Savage.” 

Eilish joined a group of white artists who won an award they believed a Black artist should have won, including Adele to Beyoncé and Macklemore to Kendrick Lamar. 

These artists have faced major backlash after each respective awards show but without good reason. 

The Recording Academy has an extensive history of snubbing well-deserving Black artists from awards. The Academy needs to live up to its high standards and expand diversity in award-giving. 

But there were a few major wins despite the controversy. 

Beyoncé made history with the record for the most career Grammys, winning her 32nd on Sunday. 

Her album, “RENAISSANCE,” won Best Dance/Electronica Album. She also won multiple individual song awards: Best Dance/Electronica Recording for “BREAK MY SOUL,” Best Traditional R&B Performance for “PLASTIC OFF THE SOFA” and Best R&B Song for “CUFF IT.”

Kim Petras became the first openly transgender woman to win a Grammy for her collaboration with Sam Smith, “Unholy.” 

I don’t like that song, but I can admit how catchy it is. For its popularity on TikTok and social media, its win makes sense. But for songwriting and overall quality, I think ABBA won by a landslide. 

However, it makes me really happy to see more LGBTQ inclusion. Petras paving the way for transgender artists within a growing community of LGBTQ musicians gives me a glimmer of hope for future inclusion of minorities. 

So, I’m leaving the 2023 Grammys with three takeaways: the Recording Academy needs to prioritize inclusion and work on their voting system, fans need to stop saying other artists are undeserving of an award because of another nominee and drunk, uplifting Taylor Swift is just so much fun.