LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jon Batiste has already taken home four Grammy Awards, including his first ever, in what could be a big night for this year’s leading nominee.
During the show’s pre-telecast ceremony Sunday, Batiste won for best American roots performance, American roots song, best music video and tied with Carlos Rafael Rivera for best song written for visual media. His song “Freedom” in the music video category beat out several other tough competitors, including Olivia Rodrigo, Lil Nas X and Billie Eilish.
“I am so grateful for the gifts that God has given me and the ability to share that for the love of humankind,” Batiste said. “We just wanted everyone to see it. Any depression, any bondage or any darkness that was over your life is completely removed by just the love and the joy of the video.”
Batiste —not present for his first three awards — also won for “Soul” alongside Rivera for his composing efforts on “The Queen’s Gambit.”
It’s the first tie since 2019 when Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future and James Blake tied with Anderson .Paak to win best rap performance.
Batiste — who lost in two other categories — entered the Grammys as the leading nominee with 11 nominations. The multi-talented performer was not in attendance to pick up his first award, but a surprised Rivera was there to scoop up his first career Grammy.
“I am speechless,” Rivera said.
TJ Osborne, who came out as gay last year, fought back tears as he and his brother accepted a Grammy for their song “Younger Me.” He noted the song was inspired by his coming out.
“I never thought that I would be able to do music professionally because of my sexuality. And I certainly never thought I would be here on the stage accepting a Grammy after having done something I felt like was going to be life changing and potentially in a very negative way,” Osborne said.
“And here I am tonight, not only accepting this Grammy Award with my brother, which I love so much, but I’m here with a man that I love and he loves me back. … “I don’t know what I did be so lucky.”
Osborne performs with his brother John as the Brothers Osborne.
Jazz giant Chick Corea, who died in February 2021, won two posthumous awards Sunday, for best improvised jazz solo and best Latin jazz album with Eliane Elias and Chucho Valdés. Other posthumous Grammys were possible for Chris Cornell, who died five years ago and is nominated for best rock performance. And the Foo Fighters, who lost their drummer, Taylor Hawkins, are up for three Grammys.
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson won his sixth Grammy for best music film through “Summer of Soul (… Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised.”) His documentary also won an Oscar for best documentary feature last weekend.
Emily Bear and Abigail Barlow won the first Grammy presented Sunday, best musical theater, for “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical.”
They gleefully accepted the award, noting the project began a year ago by asking what “Bridgerton” would be like if it was a musical.
Eilish could become the first artist ever to win record of the year three times in a row, and the only artist along with Paul Simon to take home the award three times. She’s in position to join Adele as the only artists to ever win three major categories — record, song and album of the year — twice. She previously won for “Bad Guy” and “Everything I Wanted.”
Trevor Noah returns for a second time as Grammys host. The ceremony shifted from Los Angeles to Las Vegas because of rising COVID-19 cases and the omicron variant in January, with organizers citing “too many risks” to hosting the performance-filled show at the time. It airs live beginning at 8 p.m. EDT on CBS and Paramount+.
If Eilish wins in all her seven nominated categories, she’ll be the woman with the most Grammys won in a single year (H.E.R., Doja Cat and Rodrigo could do the same). But that might be a tough feat with Eilish facing some stiff competition for the show’s top prize — album of the year — which was expanded to 10 nominees.
Eilish is up for best music film with her concert documentary “Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles.” But in that same category includes Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s “Summer of Soul,” which recently won an Oscar for best documentary.
Even if Eilish comes away with six wins, she’ll be tied with Beyoncé and Adele — which is not bad company to be in.
Rodrigo has an opportunity to join Eilish and Christopher Cross as the only artists to win all four major categories (best new artist, album, record and song of the year). The 19-year-old “drivers license” singer could be following Eilish’s remarkable record by becoming the second-youngest album of the year winner with “Sour.”
H.E.R., who won song of the year last year for “I Can’t Breathe,” could go back-to-back. She’s nominated this year for the soulful “Fight for You,” whose poignant lyrics from the “Judas and the Black Messiah” soundtrack were written by H.E.R., producer D’Mile and singer Tiara Thomas. It won an Academy Award for best original song last year.
The awards will be without several big names: Drake and The Weeknd both decided to not take part in the Grammys, at all. Ye, who changed his name from Kanye West, said he was told that his act was pulled from the show.
It might be a bittersweet moment for the Foo Fighters following the recent death of its drummer Taylor Hawkins. The rock band could extend their record for most best rock album wins with five for “Medicine at Midnight.”
Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion will battle to see who becomes the first woman to win best rap performance as a solo artist. Stallion, who won the award with Beyoncé last year, is nominated for her song “Thot S(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk),” while Cardi B is up for her crossover hit “Up.”
In rap, Jay-Z could extend his record as the most awarded rapper of all time with 23 wins. He’s up for three nomination — two in the best rap song category for his songwriting on DMX’S “Bath Salts” and Kanye West’s “Jail.” He’s also up for album of the year for his guest appearance on West’s “Donda.”
A healthy dose of performers will hit the stage at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, including Silk Sonic, H.E.R., Chris Stapleton, Cynthia Erivo, Jack Harlow, Nas, Leslie Odom Jr. and Brothers Osborne.
Artists competing with Eilish for album of the year include Rodrigo, Jon Batiste, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Doja Cat, H.E.R., Taylor Swift, Lil Nas X and Kanye West.
On the production side, Serban Ghenea could tie Al Schmitt as the engineer-mixer with the most Grammys won with 20. He’s won a total 18 trophies in his career and enters the awards with five nominations for his work on Doja Cat’s “Planet Her” and Lil Nas X’s “Montero.” Ghenea also could extend his record as the engineer-mixer with the most album of the year wins at five.
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