grammys 2021

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So much forced sideline observing. Photo: CBS

There were a few surprises we weren’t expecting from the relaxed physical set-up of Sunday’s Grammy Awards ceremony, moved inside the Los Angeles Convention Center as opposed to the show’s usual location at the Staples Center, and that’s not including Lizzo’s adorable on-camera swearing. For one, who could have guessed how long Harry Styles would have to keep a completely straight face after performing his show opener “Watermelon Sugar” with Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes? Unlike your typical Grammys, the evening’s early performers essentially remained onstage, visible both behind their fellow performers during their actual sets and in cutaways. Exhibit A:

Photo: CBS

Of course, the occasional audience cutaway is the bread and butter of awards shows, but there just aren’t that many people in that room, and not a one is a seat filler. After 2021, you’re probably not going to see Billie Eilish silently, expressionlessly staring you down during Haim’s performance of “The Steps,” or see a stone-faced Harry watching Black Pumas, as shot through Haim itself. These artists are media-trained professionals, but how long before someone’s caught rolling their eyes at Trevor Noah’s chipper dad-joke segues? And if they had been outside for Lizzo’s B-bomb, there’d be absolute facial chaos.

Photo: CBS

Music’s, uh, most awkward night?

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