Extra nominees and no clear front-runner for the night’s biggest prize means the 61st annual Grammy Awards could be a nail-biting affair right until the last acceptance speech.
Hosted by Alicia Keys, the 2019 Grammys honor the best the music industry has to offer, and Sunday’s ceremony features eight contenders instead of five in the four top categories: album, record and song of the year, plus best new artist.
The Premiere Ceremony, which is hosted by Shaggy, and red-carpet arrivals are underway, and primetime honors start at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST. Times are listed in EST.
Grammys 2019: The winners list
5:54 p.m.: Backstage, “This is America” director Hiro Murai declined to break down what exactly he and his team were trying to communicate with the video’s meaning. “We’ve been avoiding getting too granular about the meaning of the video, but it was very much a collaborative effort,” he said. “(The song) felt like all the things, it’s not just about injustice or tragedy, but there’s also an irony in the track, and also some joy.”
5:37 p.m.: Best pop vocal album, always a competitive Grammys race, goes to “Sweetener” by Ariana Grande, who very publicly stated earlier in the week that she would not be attending the awards after sparring with Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich.
5:34 p.m.: Lady Gaga wins a non-”Star is Born” award for best pop solo performance, claiming the prize for “Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?).”
5:32 p.m.: Kacey Musgraves wins her second Grammy of the night for best country song for “Space Cowboy,” with co-songwriters Luke Laird and Shane McAnally taking the stage on her behalf. “Kacey is one of the greatest songwriters and artists of a generation, and to even sit in a room with her is an honor,” McAnally said.
5:30 p.m.: First-time winners Dan + Shay win the country duo/group performance for “Tequila.” “That’s the beautiful thing about Nashville, about country music,” Dan Smyers told the crowd. “We’re all a family, we all root for each other.”
5:28 p.m.: Kacey Musgraves, another artist nominated for multiple nominees tonight, wins the country solo performance category for “Butterflies,” though she isn’t in the auditorium to accept.
5:25 p.m.: “Quincy,” the documentary about the life of Quincy Jones, takes home the best music film award, with Jones’ daughter Rashida Jones taking the stage with co-director Alan Hicks and producer Paula DuPré Pesmen. “No one’s career has had quite the same impact on culture decade after decade as my father has,” she said. “What underscores his unstoppable drive … is his enormous heart and faith in humanity.
5:23 p.m.: The best music video category goes to “This Is America,” with its artist Childish Gambino not in attendance to accept the award. “I accept this on behalf of Donald and everyone who worked on this production,” the video’s director Hiro Murai told the crowd.
5:17 p.m.: Backstage, Fantastic Negrito talks about his win for best contemporary blues album, which he won for the second year in a row. “I love how white people get nervous, when they say, ‘Fantastic Neg…’” he joked. “It’s Spanish, it’s okay.”
5:11 pm: Buddy Guy addressed why he thinks blues is an underserved genre, speaking to reporters backstage. “They’ve been treating blues like a stepchild for the last 20, 30 years,” he said. “Some of the lyrics (may have seemed) unfit until hip-hop came out, and now you can say whatever the hell you want. Blues lyrics are about good times and bad times, and other music says the same things.”
5 pm: Former President Jimmy Carter wins the award for best spoken word album for “Faith – A Journey For All,” marking his third win in the category.
5 p.m.: Backstage, “Greatest Showman” producer Alex Lacamoire says winning awards wasn’t on the team’s mind when they were building the soundtrack. “It’s not one of the things I think about when you’re making these things,” he said. “It’s just about making the best product possible.”
4:48 p.m: Buddy Guy accepts the award for best traditional blues album for “The Blues is Alive and Well” to a major round of applause. “I love this standing ovation,” he says. “I don’t get this too often! I thank everybody for supporting the blues.”
4:45 p.m.: Maybe she just shouldn’t sit down. Brandi Carlile returns for a third straight win, for Americana album for “By the Way, I Forgive You,” taking the stage with songwriter Dave Cobb. “Dave, say something!” she exclaims.
4:42 pm: Brandi Carlile returns to the stage for the very next category, taking home the trophy for American roots song for “The Joke,” delivering a second, moving speech.
“Americana music is the island of the misfit toys. I am such a misfit. … I came out of the closet at 15 when I was in high school, and I can assure you I was never invited to any parties (or) school dances. To be embraced by this community has been the dance of a lifetime. Thank you for being my island.”
4:39 p.m.: Brandi Carlile, the 2019 Grammys’ most-nominated female artist, wins her first Grammy of the day for American roots performance for “The Joke.” “It’s our first Grammy!” she tells the crowd. “This means so much to me. … I’m violently shaking right now.”
4:30 p.m.: “Shallow,” the multi-nominated song from “A Star is Born,” wins its first award for best song written for visual media, awarded to songwriters Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt.
4:29 p.m.: “Black Panther” takes home its first award of the night for best score soundtrack for visual media, for composer Ludwig Göransson.
4:26 p.m.: “The Greatest Showman” producers Alex Lacamoire, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul and Greg Wells win the prize for best compilation soundtrack for visual media, marking Pasek and Paul’s second career Grammys win.
4:18 p.m.: Tori Kelly wins her second Grammy of the afternoon for best gospel album for “Hiding Place,” thanking gospel musician Kirk Franklin for the win. “He took me under his wing and saw the passion I had for gospel and the Lord. … Kirk, I love you so much,” she said. “I’m sharing this with you.”
4:13 p.m.: The Roots’ Questlove, the premiere ceremony’s next presenter, awards the best gospel performance trophy to Kirk Franklin and Tori Kelly. “I dreamed about this since I was a kid; this is kind of insane,” Kelly tells the crowd. “I just love gospel music so much … and I have to thank Jesus, thank you for everything.”
4:02 p.m.: Beck wins his second award this year, for engineered album, non-classical, for “Colors.” As his production team takes the stage, one of the winning producers, Emily Lazar, announces that her win marks the first time a woman took home an award in this category.
3:57 p.m.: Weird Al Yankovic wins the boxed or special limited edition package category for his “Squeeze Box” compilation, taking the stage and joking to the crowd, “I kind of have been playing the long game. I never really wanted to be a recording artist. (I’ve been doing this) for 46 years, so one day I could win a Grammy for being an art director.”
3:47 p.m.: Beck claims the best alternative music album category, marking his sixth career Grammys win, his first since winning album of the year for his “Morning Phase” album at the 2015 awards.
3:46 p.m.: “The Band’s Visit,” 2018’s Emmy-winning best musical, continues its storied run by taking home the prize for best musical theater album.
3:45 p.m.: The first of the day’s awards, best comedy album, goes to “Equanimity and the Bird Revelation” by Dave Chappelle, who is not in attendance to accept his prize.
3:40 p.m.: The Grammys’ Premiere Ceremony pre-awards kicked off with Recording Academy chair John Poppo introducing Shaggy, the pre-awards host, who is also nominated in the best reggae album category. Amusingly, instead of just rattling off the rules of the pre-show — like keeping speeches to 45 seconds or less — Shaggy chose to sing them instead over a reggae beat, reminding the afternoon’s future winners, “Don’t sit like you ain’t got a clue / Get up here and collect what’s due.”
More: List of 2019 Grammy Awards nominations
Critic’s picks: Who will win the night’s biggest awards and who should
How to watch: Everything you need to know about the 61st annual show