Grammy 2023 snubs and surprises, from Beyoncé to Taylor Swift
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Somehow after Beyoncé became the winningest artist in Grammy history with 32 gramophones, she still managed to come off as a loser — yet again — when Harry Styles’ “Harry’s House” won Album of the Year over B’s “Renaissance.”

But — deep breath — how could Beyoncé still not have an Album of the Year gramophone after four nominations, when she should already have at least two?

Her game-changing surprise self-titled set lost to Beck’s “Morning Phase” in 2015, and “Lemonade” — one of the best albums of the century — bowed out to Adele’s “25” in 2017.

But the Queen B wasn’t the only artist to get snubbed — or pull a surprise — at the Arena in Los Angeles on Sunday night. Here, we look back on some of the other major shockers on music’s biggest night.

Harry Styles, Beyonce
Beyonce became the winningest artist of the Grammys with her 32nd award tonight — but that fact wasn’t enough to beat Harry Styles for Album of the Year.

Snub: Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift took home an award for Best Music Video, but was shut out of both Song of the Year and Best Country Song.
Taylor Swift took home an award for Best Music Video, but was shut out of both Song of the Year and Best Country Song.
Variety via Getty Images

Yes, T-Swizzle — who dutifully showed up to the awards even though she (and everybody else) knows that 2024 is really her year— won Best Music Video for “All Too Well: The Short Film,” she failed to pick up gramophones for either Song of the Year or Best Country Song for the tunes that were nominated for her re-recorded versions of “Red” and “I Bet You Think About Me.” While this has been a great move for Swift from a principal and pocketbook standpoint, it’s not exactly what the Record Academy wants to award yet with so much truly new music out there.

Surprise: Bonnie Raitt

A shocked Bonnie Raitt takes in the applause.
A shocked Bonnie Raitt takes in the applause.

Who doesn’t love Bonnie Raitt? But when you’re competing against the likes of Adele, Beyoncé, Harry Styles, Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift and Lizzo — all superstars at the top of their game — it just doesn’t make any kind of sense that the 73-year-old would win Song of the Year for “Just Like That” — a tune that most people (like, almost everybody) haven’t even heard.

Surprise: Muni Long

Sorry, who? Muni Long beat out legend Mary J. Blige — among other big names — for Best R&B Performance.
Sorry, who? Muni Long beat out legend Mary J. Blige — among other big names — for Best R&B Performance.
Getty Images for The Recording A

Um…who is Muni Long? Well, hopefully the world will get hip to this R&B singer-songwriter after she beat out not only Grammy winners Mary J. Blige and Jazmine Sullivan but Beyoncé — let’s repeat that, Beyoncé — for Best R&B Performance for “Hrs & Hrs.” Proof that the Grammys are not, indeed, rigged — expect to see her streams go through the roof tomorrow.

Snub: Mary J. Blige

Something is wrong with a system that shuts out Mary J. Blige, who deserved to win for her album "Good Morning Gorgeous."
Something is wrong with a system that shuts out Mary J. Blige, who deserved to win for her album “Good Morning Gorgeous.”
Getty Images for The Recording A

Wait a minute — so Mary J. Blige, the indisputable Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, was nominated for Album of the Year for “Good Morning Gorgeous” for only the second time in her career (after 2005’s “The Breakthrough”), she lost out to neo-jazzman Robert Glasper — a worthy winner in his own right — for “Black Radio III.” But when you are nominated for Album of the Year and you can’t even win in your own genre category — especially a deserving diva such as MJB — something is wrong with the system.

Surprise: Madonna

Madonna presented the much ballyhooed performance of "Unholy" by Sam Smith and Kim Petras.
Madonna presented the much ballyhooed performance of “Unholy” by Sam Smith and Kim Petras.

When you’re the Queen of Pop, you only step out to present awards when it really means something to you. And after all of her work and representation for the LGBTQ community over the years, Madonna sure was the perfect person to present the performance of non-binary artist Sam Smith and trans singer Kim Petras — who had already become the first trans performer to win a Grammy when their “Unholy” won Best Pop Duo/Group Performance earlier in the night. Certainly, it made sense that Madonna is reminding folks about her own impact last as a fierce LGBTQ ally as she gets set to launch her “The Celebration Tour” honoring her 40th anniversary in music later this year.

Surprise: Samara Joy

Samara Joy at the 2023 Grammys.
Bronx-born jazz singer Samara Joy was a surprise winner for Best New Artist at the Grammys on Sunday night.

It was a pretty open field for Best New Artist year, with no clear favorite among a motley crew that ranged from buzzy indie duo Wet Leg to Brazilian star Anitta. At the end of the day, the edge seemed to go Italian glam rockers Maneskin for perfectly playing the industry game — and helping to revive a dying genre. But a 23-year-old jazz vocalist from The Bronx somehow, who has been compared to Sarah Vaughan, surprised everyone in one of the night’s biggest shockers.

Surprise: Bad Bunny

Bad Bunny
Bad Bunny opened the 2023 Grammys with a historic performance.
Getty Images for The Recording A

Was it going to be Adele? Was it going to be Harry Styles? Or was it going to be the ever-elusive Beyoncé opening the 65th annual Grammy Awards at Arena — opening the first time the show has been held in LA since COVID shut the world down? But the primo placement went to Puerto Rican sensation Bad Bunny, who made history with “Un Verano Sin Ti,” the first Spanish-language LP to be nominated for Album of the Year. Kicking off his medley of “El Apagon” and “Despues De La Playa,” he brought the fiesta through the audience — no social distancing in 2023! — Bad Bunny made up for his no-show at last November’s American Music Awards, where he was the top nominee. While he could have went a little harder on wardrobe — his white t-shirt and jeans made him look like he was still in rehearsals — he got the party started after a semi-slow start. His festive if somewhat chaotic performance got Taylor Swift, Jack Harlow and even 93-year-old Motown founder Berry Gordy out of their seats.

Surprise: Beyonce ties the record stuck in traffic

Nile Rogers (inset green) accepted Beyonce's award for Best R&B Song ("Cuff It").
Nile Rogers (inset green) accepted Beyonce’s award for Best R&B Song (“Cuff It”).
NBCU Photo Bank

When Beyoncé tied the record for the most Grammy wins ever, she was — in true diva fashion — late showing up to the awards at the Arena in Los Angeles.

But seriously, CBS, weren’t they supposed to wait for her to arrive?

Still, when Viola Davis — who had already made history herself by becoming an EGOT by winning a Grammy for Best Audio Book, Narration, and Storytelling for the audio book of her memoir, “Finding Me” — presented the award for Best R&B Song to a no-show Beyoncé, who was apparently stuck in LA traffic, it was one of the all-time diva moments.

The legendary Nile Rodgers, who co-wrote and plays guitar on “Cuff It,” helped to make up for it with an emotional speech that made it all good.

Snub: Diana Ross

The 78-year-old Motown queen — who somehow has been underrated and underappreciated as an artist over a supreme six decades — had never won a competitive Grammy in her legendary career, despite 12 nominations. The streak sadly continued with her unlucky 13th nomination (Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for “Thank You”) on Sunday night.

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