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    Jay-Z with daughter Blue Ivy at the Grammys. (Image courtesy: AFP)

    The 66th Grammy Awards on Sunday offered up history-making wins, dazzling performances by new stars, poignant songs from legendary veterans and even a few surprises. Here is a look at the unforgettable moments of music’s biggest night in Los Angeles:

    Surprise guest: Celine Dion

    For the final award of the night, organizers of the gala had a big surprise: pop diva Celine Dion, who has been battling the rare neurological disorder Stiff-Person Syndrome, emerged from backstage to a standing ovation. “When I say that I’m happy to be here, I really mean it from my heart,” Dion said, to more applause.

    “Those who have been blessed enough to be here at the Grammy Awards must never take for granted the tremendous love and joy that music brings to our lives and to people all around the world.”

    She then presented the Album of the Year award to Taylor Swift for Midnights – a history-making fourth for the 34-year-old pop artist. Celine Dion, 55, has been forced to cancel a string of shows over her condition, a progressive disorder for which there is no cure. Symptoms include stiff muscles in the torso, arms and legs, with noise or emotional distress known to trigger spasms.

    Joni, Tracy, Billy

    Joni Mitchell brought the room to tears as she performed her beloved track “Both Sides Now,” fresh off a win for Best Folk Album for her live record “Joni Mitchell at Newport.”

    Stars including Meryl Streep and Beyonce swayed to the music as Mitchell performed from an armchair – a literal throne – surrounded by famous collaborators including Brandi Carlile, who hailed the icon as “the matriarch of imagination, a true Renaissance woman, my hero and yours.” “We all know she’s timeless. If we are so lucky that history remembers any of us, one thing I know for sure is that it will remember that we lived in the time of Joni Mitchell,” Carlile said.

    Tracy Chapman delivered a moving rendition of her 1988 classic Fast Car with country star Luke Combs, who found streaming success with a cover of the track. It was a rare public appearance from Chapman, whose crystal-clear vocals had many audience members swaying and singing along, including Swift.

    And Piano Man Billy Joel closed the night with the first live performance of his first original single in nearly two decades, Turn The Lights Back On.

    Striking performances

    The gala opened with electrifying sets from Dua Lipa, who wore skimpy black leather as a troupe of dancers writhed in an onstage cage, while triple winner SZA offered a revenge fantasy for her darkly humorous track Kill Bill. Miley Cyrus, who won two prizes, showed off her vocal range as she belted out Flowers in a shimmering dress with revealing cutouts and fringe.

    Fellow winner Billie Eilish gave a soft but powerful performance of her award-winning What Was I Made For? and Nigerian superstar Burna Boy made history by bringing Afrobeats to the Grammys stage for the first time. Stevie Wonder opened the In Memoriam segment honoring those the industry has lost, including the crooner Tony Bennett.

    “Tony, I’m going to miss you forever,” Wonder said, calling it a blessing that “God allowed us to have you and have us in this time and space in our lives.” Annie Lennox was brought to tears as she delivered a sparse, heart-wrenching performance of “Nothing Compares 2 U,” the late Sinead O’Connor’s most famous song. She raised her fist and urged “Artists for Ceasefire,” a call and clear reference to O’Connor’s long history of advocating for Palestinian rights.

    And Oprah Winfrey paid tribute to her longtime friend Tina Turner, who was honored by a rollicking performance of the classic Proud Mary by Fantasia.

    Jay-Z

    Jay-Z accepted The Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, which he received alongside his eldest daughter, Blue Ivy, as a cowboy hat-sporting Beyonce proudly looked on from the audience. He took the moment to acknowledge his fraught history with the Recording Academy, who he has long accused of marginalizing Black artists.

    The hip-hop mogul specifically noted that his wife has won more Grammys than any other artist – but never the prestigious Album of the Year despite a smattering of nominations. “Think about that, most Grammys, not one Album of the Year – that does not work,” he said.

    “Some of you are going to go home tonight and feel like you have been robbed. Some of you may get robbed,” he continued to laughter. He then laid in with a final dig: “Some of you don’t belong in the category.”

    New Taylor Album

    One of the night’s viral moments had nothing to do with the Grammy Awards themselves: in accepting her first trophy of the night, Swift announced a whole new body of work was on the way.

    “I want to say thank you to the fans by telling you a secret that I have been keeping from you for the last two years, which is that my brand new album comes out April 19th.”

    She said it was called The Tortured Poets Department, and told the audience, “I’m going to go and post the cover right now backstage.” The cover art hit social media, and the moment immediately went viral.

    “Thank you, I love you! Thank you!” said Swift, by far one of the world’s most bankable stars.

    (Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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