‘Tell the truth about this war’: Zelensky makes surprise Grammys appearance

Ukraine’s president has made a surprise appearance at the Grammys in Las Vegas, speaking via videolink to introduce John Legend, singing a song for the war-ravaged country.

Zelensky, in a pre-recorded message, told the assembled musicians to use their voices to demand an end to the war, telling them: ‘Anything but silence’.

He said he ‘had a dream’ that those living in the cities of Ukraine could be as free as the performers on the Grammys stage, and likened the invasion to a deadly silence threatening to extinguish the dreams and lives of the Ukrainian people, including children.

‘Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos. They sing to the wounded in hospitals, even to those who can’t hear them,’ he said. 

‘But the music will break through anyway.’

The Recording Academy, with its partner Global Citizen, prior to the ceremony highlighted a social media campaign called ‘Stand Up For Ukraine’ to raise money and support during the humanitarian crisis.

‘Fill the silence with your music. Fill it today to tell our story. Tell the truth about the war on your social networks, on TV, support us in any way you can any, but not silence. 

‘And then peace will come to all our cities,’ Zelensky said.

Legend, dressed in the blue of Ukraine’s flag, then performed his song ‘Free’, in a tribute to the war-torn country.

Siuzanna Iglidan from Odessa joined him on stage, along with singer Mika Newton, from Burstyn.

Lyuba Yakimchuk, a poet from Donbas who fled just days ago, read a poem.

Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, pre-recorded a video message for the Grammys on Sunday night, introducing John Legend and telling musicians to speak up against the war

Zelensky's speech appeared to have been filmed on the grounds of the presidential palace in Kyiv

Zelensky’s speech appeared to have been filmed on the grounds of the presidential palace in Kyiv

John Legend, introduced by Zelensky, performed his song 'Free' in tribute to the people of Ukraine

John Legend, introduced by Zelensky, performed his song ‘Free’ in tribute to the people of Ukraine

Zelensky’s speech to the Grammys 

The war.

What is more opposite to music? The silence of ruined cities and killed people…

Our children draw swooping rockets, not shooting stars.

Over 400 children have been injured and 153 children died.

And we’ll never see them drawing.

Our parents are happy to wake up in the morning. In bomb shelters. But alive.

Our loved ones don’t know if we’ll be together again. The war doesn’t let us choose who survives and who stays in eternal silence.

Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos. They sing to the wounded. In hospitals.

Even to those who can’t hear them, but the music will break through anyway

We defend our freedom. To live. To love. To sound.

On our land, we are fighting Russia, which brings horrible silence with its bombs.

The dead silence.

Fill the silence with your music. Fill it today. To tell our story.

Tell the truth about this war on your social networks, on TV.

Support us in any way you can. Any – but not silence.

And then peace will come.

To all our cities the war is destroying. Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Volonovakha, Mariupol and others

They are legends already. But I have a dream of them living.

And free. Free like you on the Grammy stage. 

Host Trevor Noah opened the show on Sunday night with a joke about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock during last week’s Oscars.

Smith, after storming onto the stage, returned to his seat and yelled at Rock to ‘keep my wife’s name out your f–king mouth.’

On Sunday night, Noah joked: ‘We’re going to be keeping peoples names out of our mouths.’ 

‘Don’t even think of this as an award show,’ Noah said about the ceremony. 

‘It’s a concert where we are giving out awards, we will be listening to music, dancing, sing, keeping people’s names out of our mouths and we are going to give people awards all throughout the night. So let’s get straight into it.’ 

Questlove also referenced the infamous event, when he presented an award on Sunday night.

‘I’m going to present this award, and I trust you people will stay 500 feet away from me,’ the producer joked. 

He was awarded the Oscar for best documentary immediately after Smith’s attack on Rock.

The jokes had began even before the show started.

Hours before the event, at the Grammys’ ‘premiere ceremony’ – held to dole out the majority of the music awards – LeVar Burton mocked Smith’s behavior.

‘I want to warn you all that our next presenter is a comedian. If you know what I mean,’ he said.

‘So I need to caution everybody: Remain in your seats and keep your hands to yourself. Alright?’

Just a week after Smith’s infamous Oscars meltdown, multiple controversies surrounding the Grammys mean that the music industry’s top awards show was always a veritable powder keg set to blow. 

Silk Sonic’s ‘Leave the Door Open’ won song of the year, and Olivia Rodrigo was named best new artist.

The 19-year-old also won best pop solo performance for Drivers License.

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett won best traditional pop vocal album for ‘Love For Sale’. 

Foo Fighters won all three awards for which they were nominated: best rock performance for ‘Making a Fire’; best rock song for ‘Waiting on a War’; and best rock album for ‘Medicine at Midnight’. 

They did not perform at the Grammys following the recent death of drummer Taylor Hawkins. 

The rock band had been scheduled to perform during the ceremony, but they recently canceled all upcoming concert dates. 

Billie Eilish paid tribute to Hawkins, wearing his face on a t-shirt as she performed. 

Trevor Noah is hosting the Grammys in Las Vegas on Sunday night

Trevor Noah is hosting the Grammys in Las Vegas on Sunday night

The South African-born comedian is hosting the show for the second year in a row

The South African-born comedian is hosting the show for the second year in a row

Noah is seen arriving at the event in Las Vegas on Sunday night, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena

Noah is seen arriving at the event in Las Vegas on Sunday night, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena

Questlove on Sunday night also referenced the slap - which immediately prefaced and overshadowed his own Oscar win - and joked: 'I'm going to present this award and I trust you people will stay 500 feet away from me'

Questlove on Sunday night also referenced the slap – which immediately prefaced and overshadowed his own Oscar win – and joked: ‘I’m going to present this award and I trust you people will stay 500 feet away from me’

Will Smith slapped Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars Sunday after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith

Will Smith slapped Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars Sunday after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith

After smacking Rock, a now visibly fuming Smith returned to his seat and began repeatedly yelling: 'Keep my wife's name out of your f***ing mouth'

After smacking Rock, a now visibly fuming Smith returned to his seat and began repeatedly yelling: ‘Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth’

1649039865 564 Tell the truth about this war Zelensky makes surprise Grammys

 

The Grammys will have to navigate a delicate situation with Kanye West, who was banned from performing but is expected to attend with five nominations on the line.

Marilyn Manson is also up for an award after he was accused of sexual misconduct by several women, and comedian Louis CK is likewise nominated as he makes his comeback from harassment allegations several years ago.

And in stinging snubs, the Weeknd is still boycotting the awards and Drake said he wanted no part in competing for a Grammy, withdrawing his two nominations. 

The timing of the Grammys adds an extra layer of unpredictability to what is already usually one of the more bizarre nights on the awards circuit. 

The Grammys will continue to move forward without a performance from West, known as Ye, after organizers raised concerns about his ‘concerning online behavior.’ 

The ban appears to refer to West’s bizarre online feud with comedian Pete Davidson, who is dating his ex-wife Kim Kardashian, after West’s outbursts earned him a temporary suspension from Instagram. 

West scored several nominations for his album ‘Donda’ – and will face off with longtime nemesis Taylor Swift in the Album of the Year category, where she has her sole chance at Grammy gold for ‘evermore.’ 

At the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, West infamously ran onstage to interrupt Swift’s acceptance speech, snatching the mic from her hand to shout out Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies’ video.

Kanye West was banned from performing at the Grammys over his 'concerning online behavior' but is expected to attend the awards with five nominations on the line

Kanye West was banned from performing at the Grammys over his ‘concerning online behavior’ but is expected to attend the awards with five nominations on the line

Marilyn Manson's contribution to Donda earned him a spot on the nominee list for Album of the Year, but it is unclear whether he will attend the awards after facing sexual assault allegations

Marilyn Manson’s contribution to Donda earned him a spot on the nominee list for Album of the Year, but it is unclear whether he will attend the awards after facing sexual assault allegations

Louis CK is on a comeback after admitting several years ago to exposing himself in front of female comedians

Louis CK is on a comeback after admitting several years ago to exposing himself in front of female comedians

Dave Chappelle was also nominated for a Grammy Award despite facing backlash for his comments on transgender people in his Netflix special, The Closer

Dave Chappelle was also nominated for a Grammy Award despite facing backlash for his comments on transgender people in his Netflix special, The Closer

Meanwhile, Manson’s contribution to Donda earned him a spot on the nominee list for Album of the Year – though he was scratched from contention as a writer for Best Rap Song due to a technicality.

Nine months ago, more than a dozen women, including Evan Rachel Wood and Game of Thrones actress Esme Bianco, accused Manson, 52, of sexual assault. 

Bianco sued Manson in April, claiming he abused her dating back to 2007, with the lawsuit alleging she ‘suffered due to the deterioration of her mental health.’ 

The artist – real name Brian Hugh Warner – has denied all of the allegations, claiming his relationships were ‘entirely consensual.’

Earlier this week, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr defended Manson’s nomination, saying the Academy doesn’t ‘restrict’ who can submit their names for awards consideration.

‘We won’t restrict the people who can submit their material for consideration,’ he explained to The Wrap

‘We won’t look back at people’s history, we won’t look at their criminal record, we won’t look at anything other than the legality within our rules of, is this recording for this work eligible based on date and other criteria. If it is, they can submit for consideration.’ 

However, the 53-year-old producer and executive stopped short of saying that controversial artists such as Manson would be welcome at the Grammy ceremony.

‘What we will control is our stages, our shows, our events, our red carpets,’ Mason continued. 

‘We’ll take a look at anyone who is asking to be a part of that, asking to be in attendance, and we’ll make our decisions at that point. But we’re not going to be in the business of restricting people from submitting their work for our voters to decide on.’ 

The comedian Louis CK, who admitted to exposing himself in front of female acquaintances several years ago, is also nominated for Best Comedy Album for ‘Sincerely Louis CK’.

Dave Chappelle was also nominated for a Grammy Award despite facing backlash for his comments on transgender people in his Netflix special, The Closer.

His Grammy nomination is for the Netflix special, 8:46, in the Best Spoken Word Album category.    

Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion will compete in the Best Rap Performance category, the only field in which the artists behind the smash ‘WAP’ are in the running.

Korean pop juggernauts BTS scored one nomination in the pop categories for the huge commercial hit ‘Butter’ — less than expected for the massively popular boy band that has struggled to make inroads at the Grammys.

But BTS is slated to perform on the night watched as much for its staging as the actual awards, as will Rodrigo, Eilish, Batiste and H.E.R. along with Lil Nas X.

Despite the multiple controversies, organizers are hopeful that the show will draw a bigger audience, after viewership dropped to an all-time low of 8.8 million last year. 

The ceremony relocated to Las Vegas for the first-time ever with several artists who could have epic nights including Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo and Jon Batiste. 

The awards shifted from Los Angeles because of concern that rising COVID-19 cases and Omicron variant in January could result in legal restrictions. 

Drake withdrew his work from consideration after accusing the Recording Academy, which he has long sparred with, of pigeonholing his music in the rap categories because he is black

Drake withdrew his work from consideration after accusing the Recording Academy, which he has long sparred with, of pigeonholing his music in the rap categories because he is black

The Weeknd is still boycotting the awards, after last year calling organizers "corrupt" when his album After Hours failed to receive a single nomination

The Weeknd is still boycotting the awards, after last year calling organizers ‘corrupt’ when his album After Hours failed to receive a single nomination

The latest: The Foo Fighters will not be performing at the 2022 Grammy Awards Sunday in the wake of the death of drummer Taylor Hawkins at 50 last week. Singer Dave Grohl, 53, and Hawkins were seen performing March 20 in Santiago, Chile

The latest: The Foo Fighters will not be performing at the 2022 Grammy Awards Sunday in the wake of the death of drummer Taylor Hawkins at 50 last week. Singer Dave Grohl, 53, and Hawkins were seen performing March 20 in Santiago, Chile

Host Trevor Noah calls Las Vegas a ‘perfect place to have a celebration’ with fans at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. 

Last year, the Grammys had a music festival vibe with parts of the show held outdoors in an intimate in-person setting with music artists mixed with pre-taped performances.

Noah expects an entertaining show with several performers set to hit the stage including Rodrigo, Eilish, Lil Nas X, Jack Harlow, Brandi Carlile, Batiste, Silk Sonic, H.E.R., Chris Stapleton, Leslie Odom Jr. and Brothers Osborne. 

He said the awards will be a celebration of the music industry coming back to life.

‘There’s an element of this (show) that’s like a music camp,’ Noah said before the show. 

‘I think it’s going to bring a different energy, and I’m excited to be a part of it.’

The multitalented Jon Batiste enters the Grammys as the leading nominee with 11 in a variety of genres including R&B, jazz, American roots music, classical and music video. 

Justin Bieber, Doja Cat and H.E.R. are tied for the second-most nominations with eight apiece.

The awards will introduce its expanded 10 nominees in three major genres – record, album and song of the year. The growing categories will make the competition stronger but could make choosing a winner a lot tougher.

For album of the year, the Recording Academy expanded the category’s eligibility for any featured artists, producers, songwriters and engineers – even if the music creator co-wrote one song on the project. That means there could be a large amount of winners on stage, depending on who wins.

For example, if Bieber’s ‘Justice’ wins at the show, more than 50 creators could pack the stage. 

The same could be said for Ye, Doja Cat and H.E.R., who have a plethora of contributors.

But Eilish’s ‘Happier Than Ever’ features songs written by the young star and her brother Finneas, who produced all of her tracks. Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga and Rodrigo are sitting in the same boat.

Harvey Mason Jr, the academy’s CEO, said the number of creators in a category won’t dictate the winner.

Either way, Noah said he doesn’t mind.

‘It’ll be great to see that moment,’ he said. 

‘You get to be on stage and celebrated for your work. I’m excited for that. I want to see 25 people on stage celebrating and sharing the love and joy for something they’ve done.’

Grammys best dressed! Lady Gaga hits a high note as she joins Chrissy Teigen, Olivia Rodrigo and Saweetie on red carpet filled with fabulous frocks and outrageous shocks in Las Vegas

The biggest stars in the music world descended upon Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon for the 64th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. 

And Lady Gaga hit the high notes in the fashion department as she posed up a storm in pink and black frocks on the red carpet in Sin City.

Joining Gaga on the best dressed list for the annual music awards were Chrissy Teigen, Olivia Rodrigo and Saweetie.

Gaga exuded old Hollywood glamour in a black and white one-shoulder number, adding a statement diamond necklace and pulled back tresses.

Chrissy arrived with husband John Legend, opting to wear a bold pink frock with a voluminous skirt and statement neckline.

The dress had a ruffled neckline as well as one along the middle section of the skirt; the model/author added diamond chandelier earrings with her hair in a bun. 

Comedian Trevor Noah is hosting the event, which is being televised and streamed live from the Sin City venue.

Gaga exuded old Hollywood glamour in a black and white one-shoulder number

Adding a statement diamond necklace and pulled back tresses

Wow: Gaga exuded old Hollywood glamour in a black and white one-shoulder number, adding a statement diamond necklace and pulled back tresses

Old Hollywood glam: The artist looked incredible in her two tone frock

Old Hollywood glam: The artist looked incredible in her two tone frock

Look of love: Chrissy stood out in a hot pink number while posing with husband John Legend

Look of love: Chrissy stood out in a hot pink number while posing with husband John Legend

Music’s biggest night recognizes the best recordings, compositions, and artists of the eligibility year, which runs from September 1, 2020, to September 30, 2021. 

This year, composer and musical artist Jon Batiste surpassed all nominees with an impressive 11 nominations, while Justin Bieber, Doja Cat and H.E.R. have eight each and Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo tied with seven.

Former enemies Taylor Swift and Kanye West are up against each other in one of the biggest categories for Album of the Year, with their respective records Evermore and Donda.

Striking: The 19-year-old singer wowed in a black and purple low-cut gown with gloves, adding a bold necklace

Striking: The 19-year-old singer wowed in a black and purple low-cut gown with gloves, adding a bold necklace

Breathtaking: Carrie Underwood looked absolutely stunning in an orange ombre gown with cascading tresses

Breathtaking: Carrie Underwood looked absolutely stunning in an orange ombre gown with cascading tresses

Lovebirds: Carrie with husband Mike Fisher arriving to the Grammys

Lovebirds: Carrie with husband Mike Fisher arriving to the Grammys

The country singer's frock had a gold bodice with a Grecian style shoulder detail

The artist had diamond earrings as well as rings for more sparkle

Beauty: The country singer’s frock had a gold bodice with a Grecian style shoulder detail

Dua Lipa sported long blonde tresses with a belted black lace gown

She layered on  rings and bracelets with gold polished nails

Vibes: Dua Lipa sported long blonde tresses with a belted black lace gown

Kiss kiss: They smooched on the carpet as well

 Kiss kiss: They smooched on the carpet as well

In love: Addison posed with her boyfriend Omer Fedi

In love: Addison posed with her boyfriend Omer Fedi

Doja Cat wowed in a sheer baby blue dress featuring a bodysuit beneath

The artist rocked icy blonde hair in a futuristic hair style

Va va voom: Doja Cat wowed in a sheer baby blue dress featuring a bodysuit beneath; the artist rocked icy blonde hair in a futuristic hair style

Billie Eilish chose a voluminous gown with boots and small sunglasses, while sporting jet black tresses

Halsey opted for a deep brown velvet corset with a unique belted drop waist skirt

Edgy: Billie Eilish chose a voluminous gown with boots and small sunglasses, while sporting jet black tresses; Halsey opted for a deep brown velvet corset with a unique belted drop waist skirt

Duo: Australian artist The Kid Laroi rocked bright hair as he posed on the red carpet with girlfriend Katarina Deme

Duo: Australian artist The Kid Laroi rocked bright hair as he posed on the red carpet with girlfriend Katarina Deme

Reunited Swedish pop group ABBA have their first-ever Grammy nomination in their 48-year history for ‘I Still Have Faith In You’ in the Record of the Year category. 

American musician Jon Batiste is the most nominated artist for his album We Are.

Batiste, 35, is a veteran jazz keyboardist and also the musical director of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

Both Lil Nas X and Brandi Carlile have an impressive five nominations each, while Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak’s group Silk Sonic received four. 

The Recording Academy has eliminated nominations review committees this year meaning winners will now be determined by a majority vote from Recording Academy voting members.

There are famously a long list of categories – 88 to be exact.

Two new categories have been included this year: Best Global Music Performance (Global Music Field) and Best Música Urbana Album (Latin Music Field).

The Grammys were initially set to take place on Jan. 31 in Los Angeles, but got pushed due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

‘Given the uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant, holding the show on January 31 simply contains too many risks,’ CBS and the Recording Academy said.  

Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy, confirmed later in January that it would be moving to Las Vegas.

Megan Thee Stallion donned a zebra and leopard print number

Maren Morris stunned in a snakeskin plunging frock and matching heels

Bold: Megan Thee Stallion donned a zebra and leopard print number while Maren Morris stunned in a snakeskin plunging frock and matching heels

Chelsea Handler looked amazing in a black and nude lace gown and shimmering heels

Laverne Cox chose a sheer black frock with bold hued tresses

Looking good: Chelsea Handler(L) and Laverne Cox (R) looked amazing in a black lace gown

Petra Collins

Cynthia Erivo and H.E.R. pictured

Sparkle: Petra Collins  donned an intricately designed frock with studded heels while Cynthia Erivo and H.E.R. chose silver accented numbers

Legacy: Chris Cornell's widow Vicky Cornell with their children Toni, 17, and Christopher, 16; the Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman died by suicide in Marcy 2017 at age 52

Legacy: Chris Cornell’s widow Vicky Cornell with their children Toni, 17, and Christopher, 16; the Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman died by suicide in Marcy 2017 at age 52

Family first: Wolfgang Van Halen, who is the son of the late Eddie Van Halen, posed with his mom Valerie Bertinelli and his girlfriend Andraia Allsop

Family first: Wolfgang Van Halen, who is the son of the late Eddie Van Halen, posed with his mom Valerie Bertinelli and his girlfriend Andraia Allsop

‘We are excited to take the GRAMMYs to Las Vegas for the very first time, and to put on a world-class show,’ he said.

‘From the moment we announced the postponement of the original show date, we have been inundated with heartfelt messages of support and solidarity from the artist community.’

‘We are humbled by their generosity and grateful for their unwavering commitment to the GRAMMY Awards and the Academy’s mission.’ 



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‘Tell the truth about this war’: Zelensky makes surprise Grammys appearance

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