Three-and-a-half hours later, “music’s biggest night” has come and gone, and the 2024 Grammy Awards had it all: album announcements, award snubs, and missing underwear. Now, it’s time for the postmortem, to pick apart the broadcast and its results to see who did the best, who probably wishes they did better, and who shocked the world with unexpected moments. Below are our picks for the biggest winners, losers, and surprises of the 2024 Grammys.
(To be clear, the “loser” labels here are more sympathetic than malicious, less of a “haha you suck” and more of a “sorry things didn’t work out how you probably hoped, that stinks.” Just to be nominated and involved with the show truly is an honor and something to be proud of. So, have mercy on me, stans.)
Anyway, let’s start with:
Surprise: The Tortured Poets Department
All’s fair in love and poetry… New album THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT. Out April 19 🤍https://t.co/WdrCmvLHyA
📷: Beth Garrabrant pic.twitter.com/CCPhmSZ2UD
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) February 5, 2024
If there was anybody who could come out of nowhere and make the Grammys all about them, it was Taylor Swift, right?
Her outfit had some folks suspecting that maybe she was planning to announce Reputation (Taylor’s Version), so the fact that Swift unveiled something new isn’t the biggest shock. What was surprising was when the words “The Tortured Poets Department” left her lips. Before that moment, there had been no public indication whatsoever that she had an original new album on the way. In an instant, Swifties went from knowing nothing to gearing up for a new album that’s just a couple months away (unless there are deep-dive Easter egg Reddit threads I’m not aware of, which, given fans’ dedication, I’m certain there are).
The Tortured Poets Department is set for release on April 19. If you thought before this that you’ve been hearing a lot about Taylor Swift lately, just you wait. Also, check in on any loved ones who may work in the Tortured Dads, Brads, And Chads Department.
Winner: Taylor Swift
Yes, there’s more! Swift was absolutely elated when Midnights won the Grammy for Album Of The Year. This was Swift’s fourth time picking up the award, which means that she now has the most wins ever in the category. In case you needed any more proof that Swift is historic, this win is just the latest in a long run of records and achievements she seems to add to every day.
Loser: Anybody else who hoped to make a splash at the Grammys
Kacey Musgraves aired a commercial teasing a new album during the 2024 Grammys. The poor thing, presumably, had no idea that Swift would be announcing a new album that night.
Good for Swift and her Swifties, but the reveal of The Tortured Poets Department has absolutely overshadowed any other news that emerged from this Grammys night. Tracy Chapman delivered a rare and fantastic performance (more on that later), Victoria Monét won Best New Artist, and LL Cool J was in one of those hilarious Progressive “becoming your parents” commercials (it’s a month old but I had never seen it and oh how it delighted me). But, over the next couple days/weeks/months/years/centuries/millennia/epochs, all eyes, as they tend to be, will be focused directly on Swift.
Sorry about the timing, Kacey! Bad luck, but we’re looking forward to hearing more about the album!
Is Boygenius breaking up? At the very least, Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker are taking a bit of a break from each other, as they indicated at a recent surprise show.
If it turns out that if we don’t see the supergroup trio together for a while, the 2024 Grammys were about as good a sendoff as they could have asked for. They went into the night with seven nominations, making them one of the most recognized artists of the year. They converted on a lot of those nods, too, picking up three wins in rock and alternative categories. Bridgers also won for her SZA collab.
We’ll be seeing plenty of Bridgers, Dacus, and Baker in the coming years, I’m sure. Them together, though, is something different, and it’s fantastic to see that recognized with some major Grammys recognition, especially if it marks their last hurrah.
Surprise: Tracy Chapman
— Craig R. Brittain (@RealBrittain) February 5, 2024
For the folks who pay attention to potentially false reports about who may or may not be performing at the Grammys, Tracy Chapman’s appearance alongside Luke Combs wasn’t a shock. To everybody else, though (a group known as “most people”), it was a surprise, and a pretty awesome one!
Combs has thrust Chapman’s “Fast Car” back into the spotlight with his hit cover, and the surprise duet was a beautiful opportunity for Chapman to publicly re-associate herself with the track and get her moment in the sun amid the 1988 song’s revival.
The Combs-spawned re-emergence aside, Chapman doesn’t perform live a ton these days, so seeing her on stage at all is major. Pair that with the fact that her voice still sounds as crystalline as it did 30-plus years ago and we have a moment that exemplifies why we bother to sit through the usually-too-long Grammys ceremony.
Winner: Fred Again..
Fred Again.. owned 2023 in the electronic music world thanks in part to a star-making, headlining performance at Coachella. He cleaned up at the Grammys, too, getting wins in Best Dance/Electronic Music Album and Best Dance/Electronic Recording (he had two shots at it in the latter category with a pair of nominations). Those were the first two Grammy wins of his career. Congratulations, Fred! It’s a win any time an artist launches their Grammys legacy with their first wins, so congratulations, Fred (again)!
Loser: Nicki Minaj
I’ll preface this one by saying, in full view of Minaj’s enthusiastic Barbz fan base, that I mean no harm and I wish only the best for Minaj and all those who support her. I just said that publicly, so please hang onto that receipt.
In fact, in the interest of my own personal safety, I’d prefer to not say much more, and I already regret the “loser” label. Just know that Minaj was mistakenly announced for a Grammy win for a second on Twitter and there were reactions to that goof.
Winner: Miley Cyrus
Cyrus has been one of pop’s most impactful stars for years now, but you wouldn’t have known it by looking at her Grammys track record. Before this year, she had been nominated only twice and won… neither of them. She upped her numbers in a big way for 2024, though, picking up six nominations and scoring her first two wins, both for “Flowers” (in Record Of The Year and Best Pop Solo Performance).
She also owned the stage more than any other of the night’s performers. She wasn’t afraid to call out an unenthusiastic Grammys audience during her “Flowers” performance, or to later suggest she wasn’t wearing any underwear. Cyrus has always been a supreme performer and personality, and now she’s also Grammy-winning one (and an under-undergarment-ed one).
Loser: Lana Del Rey
Del Rey was in a similar boat to Cyrus heading into last night: She had been nominated for Grammys a few times before but hadn’t yet managed to strike gold. She had five chances to last night, but this is where her and Cyrus’ paths diverged: While Cyrus finally got her first W’s, Del Rey was once again shut out, leaving her with 11 career nominations and no wins. At least she got a flattering on-stage tribute from Taylor Swift… after Swift’s Midnights won Album Of The Year over Del Rey’s Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd.
Welp, Del Rey has a new album coming out later this year, so good luck at the 2025 Grammys?
Surprise: Killer Mike
Mike had nominations in three categories this year: Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Song, and Best Rap Album. He won them all! That’s not surprising because Mike isn’t deserving, but because he was up against heavy hitters like Drake, Doja Cat, and Travis Scott, but still managed to sweep his nominations. That could be seen as a sign that the Recording Academy isn’t beholden to honoring just chart-toppers, but really does look at a song/album and judge it on its merits.
Mike wasn’t able to celebrate long, though, as shortly after those wins, he was seen being taken away in handcuffs (although it appears that whole thing wasn’t as big a deal as it may have initially seemed).
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) February 5, 2024
The biggest cultural phenomenon of 2023 still has some legs, as the 2024 Grammys proved. Ludwig Göransson’s Oppenheimer score won Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media. Barbie ruled, too, like in the Best Song Written For Visual Media category, for example, where four of the five nominees were from Barbie. A Barbie track was basically guaranteed to win! One did: Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For?” ended up claiming that category, and it also won Song Of The Year.
Beyond that, Mark Ronson (who helmed the Barbie soundtrack, which won Best Compilation Soundtrack) presented an award with Meryl Streep, “Dance The Night” singer Dua Lipa debuted a new song, and overall, “Barb” put “enheimer” on its shoulders and made the Grammys its Mojo Dojo Casa House.
Loser: Olivia Rodrigo and Jon Batiste
Rodrigo and Batiste were in a many-way tie for the third-most nominations this year, with six apiece. Of the 12 total nominations between them, though, they won exactly 0.
You’d think either one of them would have gotten something, since they both have a solid history of Recording Academy recognition: Batiste has five career Grammys wins and Rodrigo has three. But, it was a big year for pop nominations competing against Rodrigo, and also in the various genres under which Batiste was nominated. Things just didn’t work out in their favor this time around, but they’ll surely be back to try again soon.
Winner: Joni Mitchell
What a night for Joni Mitchell. Before the Grammys proper even began, she got a win in the one category in which she was nominated, getting Best Folk Album for Joni Mitchell at Newport (Live). Speaking of “live,” she took the stage, too, which isn’t something she has done a ton of in recent years. You wouldn’t know it based on the performance she delivered, though.
Joined by a host of supporting musicians, she ran through a rendition of “Both Sides, Now,” from her 1969 album Clouds. “Sauntered” would probably be a better word than “ran,” as she got comfortable in her space, took her time, and delivered a confident and beautiful performance. Mitchell went through so much to get to this point, including having to re-learn how to talk not all that long ago due to medical issues. Her performance is a story of supreme triumph, but even with that context aside, she just crushed it for what was (somehow) her first-ever Grammys performance.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.