Even with the notable absence of an audience and with social distancing in place, the 2021 Grammy Awards did not fail to put on a show. The ceremony was broadcast live outside the Staples Centre in downtown Los Angeles with no Zoom call in sight. And the performances were just as spectacular with a lineup of iconic women in pop.

Dua Lipa
In this image released on March 14, Dua Lipa performs onstage during the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards at Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California and broadcast on March 14, 2021. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

First on the agenda was Dua Lipa who performed a mash up of “Levitating” and “Don’t Start Now”. Following her stunning red carpet look – a nod to Cher, circa 1974 – Lipa wowed fans in not one, but three costume changes all courtesy of Versace. The first was a voluminous gown and during a cameo with rapper DaBaby, the 25-year-old reappeared on stage in an oversized blazer dress. Lastly and for a dance-fulled rendition of “Don’t Start Now”, Lipa was all-abs in a glittery crop and briefs combo.

Lipa later won Best Pop Vocal Album for Future Nostalgia.

A celebration of music from 2020 would be nothing without Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion. The formidable duo took to the Grammys stage for the first live performance of “WAP” and boy, it was nothing short of spectacular. Amid an elaborate set, the R&B icons twerked their way through the female power anthem. Though an incredible performance, the highly-anticipated spectacle was overshadowed by controversy.

Despite being the first female rapper with a diamond-certified single, Cardi B was notably left off the nominations list. The day prior to the ceremony, the artist posted a lengthy opinion piece on Twitter with a positive undertone for the lesser-known artists and musicians of colour.

“I do feel that there were some albums, and songs that should have been considered for nominations. Maybe by next year they will get it right,” wrote Cardi. “However let’s not forget the Grammys nominated soo many independent black artists this year that don’t get the exposure by blogs, magazines and other awards shows.” She went on to namecheck performers like Chika, D Smoke, Royce da 5’9”, Freddie Gibbs, Jay Electronica, Kaytranada, Brittany Howard, Mykal Kilgore, Ledisi, Jean and Marcus Baylor, Luke James, Gregory Porter, Giveon, Ant Clemons, Robert Glasper, Free Nationals and Thundercat.

“It’s frustrating sometimes to work and work on your craft and you feel overlooked because you might not look like others, are not mixxy so you not always around other artists, you rap or sing about different material, you stay out of drama and the media or yet still not as popular. However you’re a talented-ass fuck and one day you wake up and you find out you’re nominated and got a notice from one of the biggest awards show purely cause of your TALENT!” she wrote. “Soo besides all the bullshit let’s not forget to congratulate all these artists. This is their moment too and they been working their ass off with no exposure. And let’s not overshadow it with feelings cause your favourite might not be on the list. Congrats guys and good luck on the Grammys. You deserve it.”

Megan Thee Stallion won two Grammy Awards during the evening for Best Rap Performance and Best New Artist.

Harry Styles also performed – and all we can say is thank you to Gucci’s Alessandro Michele for gifting us with this outfit. We will leave this right here.