Women dominated at this year’s Grammy Awards, with artists such as Lady Gaga and Dua Lipa winning some of the most coveted gongs.
Country singer Kacey Musgraves took home the top prize at the 61st annual Grammys on Sunday night, winning album of the year for Golden Hour in a shock victory.
She also secured three other wins: best country album, best country song for Space Cowboy and best country solo performance for Butterflies.
Cardi B claimed best rap album for Invasion of Privacy – the first female solo artist to win the award – while Lipa won best new artist.
Lady Gaga continued a successful awards season by claiming three gongs: best pop solo performance for Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?), best song written for visual media for Shallow from A Star Is Born and best pop duo/group performance for the same song.
Elsewhere, Drake claimed best rap song for God’s Plan and Childish Gambino claimed four honours including song of the year and record of the year for This Is America.
During the ceremony, British artist Lipa aimed a dig at Academy president Neil Portnow as she accepted the award for best new artist.
Last year, following complaints the nominations were dominated by men, Portnow suggested women should “step up”. This year, the categories contained far more women.
Accepting the prize on stage, Lipa said she was “honoured” to be nominated alongside “incredible” female artists, adding: “I guess this year we really stepped up.”
Drake also took aim at the Recording Academy earlier in the evening as he accepted the award for best rap song.
The Canadian rapper – who has had an ambivalent relationship with the Grammys in recent years – appeared to aim a jibe at the Academy in charge of voting for the prizes, saying: “We play in an opinion-based sport, not a fact-based sport.”
The 32-year-old addressed the other rappers in his category, which included Cardi B, Travis Scott and Mac Miller, the hip hop artist who died last year of an accidental overdose.
He was cut off mid-sentence as he tried to add to his statement.
Drake has now won two Grammys for best rap song after his track Hotline Bling took home the gong in 2017.
Earlier, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper became the first acts to scoop a prize at the awards.
The pair won best pop duo/group performance for Shallow, the hit single from the musical drama film A Star Is Born, which stars Gaga as an emerging pop star and Cooper as an ageing rocker.
Accepting the prize on stage, Gaga paid tribute to Cooper, who could not attend due to being in London for the Bafta film awards ceremony earlier in the evening.
She said: “I wish Bradley was here with me right now. Bradley, I loved singing this song with you. If I don’t get another chance to say this, I just want to say I’m so proud to be a part of a movie that addressed mental health issues, they’re so important.”
Host Alicia Keys opened the 2019 Grammys with a show of girl power, introducing Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Jada Pinkett Smith and Michelle Obama on stage.
A big part of friendship is showing up for your girls—that’s why I was thrilled to be there for the one and only @aliciakeys at the #GRAMMYs. She is one of the most genuine and thoughtful people I know—there’s no one better to help us all celebrate the unifying power of music! pic.twitter.com/8cMhTmsClA— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) February 11, 2019
The show had been criticised last year for its lack of female nominees after women were largely ignored in the major categories.
It was markedly different this year, with five of the eight album of the year nominees being female.
To huge cheers, Obama, the wife of former US president Barack Obama, addressed the crowd.
She said: “Music has always helped me tell my story and I know that’s true for everyone here.”
She added: “Music helps us share ourselves, our dignity and sorrows, our hopes and joys. It allows us to hear one another, to let each other in.”
Camila Cabello, who was nominated for three awards, opened the show with a lively performance of her hit single Havana along with rapper Young Thug, before Ricky Martin joined them on stage.
- Press Association