Billie Eilish’s dominant win at tribute-filled Grammy Awards amid some controversy

By: Dhipa Palani
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Singer-songwriter, 18-year-old Billie Eilish, took home five Grammys, including Record of the Year and Best New Artist, at the 62nd Grammy Awards ceremony in which Kobe Bryant, the NBA basketball player who died the day before, was memorialized. The pre-telecast ceremony began with a moment of silence for Bryant and late rapper, Nipsey Hussle. 

Eilish won Album of the Year for “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” and Record of the Year for “Bad Guy” – the two most dominant categories of the Grammy Awards – on January 27 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Eilish thanked her fans when accepting her awards saying, “I feel like the fans deserve everything, they haven’t been talked about enough tonight. I love all fandoms.” She also won Song of the Year for “Bad Guy”, Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Album for “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”

Nominees for the Best Album category included Lana Del Rey, Lizzo, Lil Nas X and Ariana Grande. Lizzo won three awards, including the Best Pop Solo for “Truth Hurts,” Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Traditional R&B Performance. 

Grammy winner Michelle Obama 

Former First Lady Michelle Obama won her first Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for the audiobook “Becoming.” The publication tells the story of Obama’s journey from her childhood in the South Side of Chicago to becoming a lawyer and then the First Lady of the United States. Obama was, however, not in attendance to accept the award. 

Her husband, former US President Barack Obama had also won two Grammys in the same category in the past for his two audiobooks, “Dreams of My Father” in 2005 and “The Audacity of Hope” in 2007. 

Recording Academy’s CEO on administrative leave

Ten days before the Grammy Awards, its organizers, the Recording Academy, announced it had placed its CEO, Deborah Dugan, on administrative leave for alleged misconduct. The academy had suspended Dugan from her duties after an assistant accused her of bullying. 

Together with her lawyers, Dugan has taken the academy to court, claiming that the awards show is rigged. Dugan, the first woman to ever serve as the academy’s chief executive, says she was suspended in retaliation for exposing a “boys’ club” atmosphere within the company and a rigged Grammy nominations process.

Having assumed the position in August 2019, Dugan had only held the position of CEO for five months before being placed on administrative leave.