Adele kicked off the 2017 Grammy Awards with a live rendition of her comeback anthem, “Hello,” which helped her win two early Grammys on Sunday, and may put her on track to win album, song and record of the year.
“Hello” won best pop solo performance and “25” won pop vocal album in the pre-telecast ceremony. In the top three categories, Adele will go head-to-head with Beyonce.
Chance the Rapper won the first award in the live telecast for best new artist. He also won best rap performance during the pre-show awards.
“Glory be to God. I claimed this victory in the name of the Lord. I want to thank God for my mother and my father who supported me since I was young,” Chance the Rapper said onstage at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
James Corden, hosting the Grammys for the first time, rapped some of his monologue at the top of the show, namedropping Prince, Rihanna and Drake.
Earlier in the day, David Bowie’s final album, released days after he died of cancer last year, earned him three Grammys.
“Blackstar” won best alternative music album, rock performance — where Bowie beat Beyonce and Jack White — and engineered album, non-classical, where Bowie won over Prince (Bowie is listed as one of the engineers on “Blackstar.”)
Bowie was nominated for four Grammys, and his final category — best rock song — will be announced in the live telecast.
Beyonce was also an early winner: She became a 21-time Grammy winner after picking up best music video for the hit “Formation.” She lost best music film (“Lemonade”) to the Ron Howard-directed “The Beatles: Eight Days A Week The Touring Years.”
Beyonce’s younger sister, critical R&B darling Solange, won her first Grammy for best R&B performance (it was her first-ever nomination).
Drake, who isn’t attending the live show, won best rap song and rap/sung performance for the smash hit, “Hotline Bling.”
Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” — which is nominated for an Oscar — won best song written for visual media. His No.1 hit is from the “Trolls” soundtrack. Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott won two Grammys in the Christian category for the album she recorded with her family. Scott, who has won seven Grammys with Lady A, cried onstage both times when accepting the wins.
“We’ve been crying since this project started,” her father, Lang Scott, said.
Best new artist nominees The Chainsmokers won best dance recording for the pop hit “Don’t Let Me Down,” while album of the year nominee Sturgill Simpson won best country album for “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth.”
The country music rebel thanked his wife, who he said told him to quit his job on the railroad years ago and move to Nashville.
Joey + Rory won best roots gospel album for “Hymns,” and Rory Feek was emotional onstage as he remembered his wife Joey, who died last year from cancer.
“My wife’s dream was to make a hymns album. She didn’t have the chance to do it until she’d been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, so she’d sing in hotel rooms while she did chemotherapy and radiation,” said Rory, who added that his wife said if they were nominated he had to attend the Grammys. “She got a big smile on her face and she said, ‘Remember, if we win, I’ll know before you will.”
Some actors won Grammys, too: Don Cheadle picked up best compilation soundtrack for visual media for “Miles Ahead,” where he is credited as a compilation producer, and Carol Burnett won the best spoken word album Grammy.
“The Color Purple” won best musical theater album, giving Jennifer Hudson her second Grammy and earning Tony winner Cynthia Erivo and “Orange Is the New Black” actress Danielle Brooks their first Grammys.
Beyonce was the overall top nominee with nine. There are few things the pop diva has not conquered, and the Grammy for album of the year is one of them.
For the third time, Beyonce is nominated for the coveted trophy, an award given to few R&B-based performers and only two hip-hop acts in the Grammy’s 59-year history.
She was nominated for the top prize in 2010 with “I Am … Sasha Fierce” (losing to Taylor Swift) and in 2015 with “Beyonce” (Beck was the surprise winner). Her “Lemonade” album is competing Sunday, along with its hit “Formation” for record and song of the year.
Beyonce has lost record of the year four times, and she’s marking her third nomination for song of the year (she won in 2010 with “Single Ladies”).
Beyonce’s main competition is Adele, who won album, song and record of the year in 2012 with “21” and “Rolling In the Deep.” While some critics argued that Beyonce’s “Lemonade” was more artistic and had a stronger impact on culture, Adele’s “25” marked her comeback and became a multiplatinum juggernaut, setting a record when it sold over 3 million units in its first week.
Their competition for album of the year aside from Simpson includes Drake’s multihit “Views” and Justin Bieber’s redemption album “Purpose.”
Nominees battling “Formation” and “Hello” for record of the year include Rihanna and Drake’s “Work,” twenty one pilots’ “Stressed Out” and Lukas Graham’s “7 Years.”
Song of the year nominees are “Formation,” ”Hello,” ”7 Years,” Mike Posner’s “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” and Bieber’s “Love Yourself,” shared with co-writer Ed Sheeran.
The Chainsmokers, who have dominated the pop charts, will compete with Chance the Rapper, Maren Morris, Anderson .Paak and Kelsea Ballerini for best new artist.
Beyonce and Adele will perform at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, as will Simpson, Lukas Graham, Sheeran, Bruno Mars and Katy Perry.
Collaborative performances include Lady Gaga and Metallica, the Weeknd and Daft Punk, Alicia Keys and Maren Morris, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban, and A Tribe Called Quest and Anderson .Paak. Chance the Rapper will perform with Kirk Franklin, who won two awards, including best gospel album and gospel performance/song for writing “God Provides” for Tamela Mann.
Tributes for Prince and George Michael will take place, while Demi Lovato, Andra Day and Tori Kelly will honor the Bee Gees and the 40th anniversary of “Saturday Night Fever.”
Behind Beyonce for top nominations is Rihanna, who is up for eight awards, including best urban contemporary album (“Anti”) and pop duo/group performance (“Work”). Drake and Kanye West are also up for eight awards, including best rap album.