Extra nominees and no clear front-runner for the night’s biggest prize means the 61st Grammy Awards could be a nail-biting affair right up 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.
Here’s a minute-by-minute rundown of the festivities. Times are listed in EST.
Grammys 2019: The winners list
9:45: The countrified up-and-comers of Dan + Shay croon a stripped-down version of their tune “Tequila.”
9:39: Alicia Keys does a medley of songs she wishes she had written, including “Killing Me Softly,” “Use Somebody” and “Unforgettable.”
9:31: The Grammy for best country album goes to Kacey Musgraves’ “Golden Hour.” “I never dreamed this record would be met with such love, such warmth, such positivity,” says the singer, whose award count rises to three for the night.
9:26: Cardi B looks like she just stepped out of a “Flash Gordon” reboot to sing “Money” and hit various poses on a piano, including a “Wakanda Forever” salute from “Black Panther.”
9:16: H.E.R. wears sunglasses at night and rocks an electric guitar on a very cool “Hard Place.” (Fun fact for the 21-year-old R&B singer’s new fans: She got her big break competing on Radio Disney’s “Next BIG Thing” when she was 12.)
8:57: Anna Kendrick introduces a big ol’ Dolly Parton tribute, which begins with Kacey Musgraves and Katy Perry in matching red outfits to sing “Here You Come Again” before they’re joined by Parton herself. Parton then brings out Miley Cyrus for a “Jolene” duet and Maren Morris makes it a trio with “After the Gold Rush.” Little Big Town comes on for Parton’s new tune “Red Shoes,” and of course everybody gets involved for a rousing version of “9 to 5.”
8:45: Post Malone performs his hits “Stay” and “Rockstar” before teaming up with the Red Hot Chili Peppers for “Dark Necessities.”
8:42: Alicia Keys and John Mayer tell the story of how they each have half of the 2005 song of the year trophy. “This has to be the coolest joint custody agreement,” he said. They present this year’s Grammy to Childish Gambino’s “This Is America,” the first hip-hop song to take the honor. (Donald Glover, aka Gambino, isn’t in the house to accept.)
8:30: Janelle Monae comes out, with definite Prince vibes, to sing “Make Me Feel.” (Fun fact: She had been collaborating with the Purple One before his 2016 death.)
8:26: Already a multiple winner today, Kacey Musgraves performs her emotional ballad “Rainbow.”
8:19: Lady Gaga returns to the stage to accept the first award of the main show, best pop duo/group performance with Bradley Cooper for “Shallow.” “I wish Bradley was here with me right now,” says Gaga, who mentions her “A Star Is Born” co-star/director is in London for the BAFTAs instead of L.A. for Grammys. She also noted how grateful she is for being a part of a movie that tackled mental-health issues. “A lot of artists deal with that and we’ve got to take care of each other.”
8:13: Shawn Mendes is next, playing piano and singing his tune “In My Blood,” and then snagging a guitar and making it a rocking group number with Miley Cyrus and a string section.
8:06: Host Alicia Keys arrives to officially kick off the night with a message of positivity: “Music is so powerful. … I’m gonna take care of you tonight.” She welcomes out some of her “sisters,” including Lady Gaga, Michelle Obama, Jada Pinkett Smith and Jennifer Lopez, to honor what music means to them. Gaga says people called her weird but “music told me not to listen to them. Music took my ears, my voice and my soul.” And Obama says from the Motown records she “wore out” on Chicago’s South Side to the “we run the world” songs of the past decade, “music always helped me tell my story. Music helps us share ourselves, our dignities and sorrows, our hopes and joys. Music says all of it matters.”
8:01: Arturo Sandoval’s iconic trumpet begins the primetime show and a performance of Camila Cabello’s hit “Havana.” Clad in a yellow dress, Cabello saunters and sings on stage before being joined by Ricky Martin, J Balvin and a crowded stage of backup dancers.
At the early awards ceremony:
The Premiere Ceremony featured the first Grammy awards of the day in more than 70 categories.
6:56: Speaking backstage about his win for traditional R&B performance, PJ Morton, who also plays keyboards in Maroon 5, addressed the band’s controversial Super Bowl halftime show performance. “I’m actually happy we did it,” he said. “The reason we do this … is to make people happy and to play music. And I think that’s the only time I’ll be able to play in front of 100 million people. … I’m glad we did the work to make it to that point to be able to do it.”
6:45: The final two Premiere Ceremony awards of the night went to big hip-hop names who weren’t in attendance, with “This Is America” winning the best rap/sung collaboration, and Pharrell taking home the producer of the year, non-classical category.
6:43: Another tie arrived in the rap performance category, going to both “King’s Dead” by Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future and James Blake, and “Bubblin” by Anderson .Paak. “I don’t even know what to say,” Jay Rock said, accepting the award. “A big shout out to my little bro Kendrick (Lamar) for letting me be a part of the (‘Black Panther’) soundtrack.”
6:40: St. Vincent took the stage for her best rock song-winning track “Masseduction” with co-songwriter Jack Antonoff. “I think this is the first time I’ve given a thank-you speech, so here goes,” she said, before turning to Antonoff. “Jack, you look great.”
6:35: Chris Cornell, the Soundgarden frontman who died in 2017, was awarded a posthumous Grammy for best rock performance for “When Bad Does Good,” accepted by two of his children, Toni and Christopher.
Big moments from the Chris Cornell tribute show: Miley Cyrus impresses, Soundgarden reunites
6:33: Beyonce and Jay-Z, not in attendance for the premiere ceremony, won their first Grammys of the 2019 awards for best R&B performance for “Summer.”
6:31: While Ella Mai wasn’t in the audience, she won her first Grammy for “Boo’d Up” in the best R&B song category, along with co-songwriters Larrance Dopson, Joelle James and Dijon McFarlane.
6:28: The night’s first tie, Leon Bridges’ “Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand” and PJ Morton and Yebba’s “How Deep is Your Love” both won the awards for traditional R&B performance.
6:26 p.m.: H.E.R.’s bevy of nominations was one of the 2019 Grammys’ biggest surprises, and she received her first win for best R&B performance for her “Best Part” song with Daniel Caesar.
6:13 p.m.: Shaggy, one of the hosts of the premiere ceremony, took home the best reggae album award for his album with Sting, “44/876.” “It’s an honor to be nominated. … but it’s better to win. I want to thank my partner in crime, Sting, you said we were gonna do it, so we did it. You made this feel like the best project I’ve ever worked on.
6:01: Rashida Jones spoke about her “Quincy” documentary backstage, talking about how making the film helped her understand her father, Quincy Jones’, intense work ethic. “I did get a sense of his powers and see how he works himself to the edge and not kill himself and work another decade. … It was almost a relief to me because living with him and watching himself work so hard was really difficult,” she said about growing up with her father. “But seeing him do that time and again (as part of making the film) was a relief.”
As for whether she ever thought she’d be winning a Grammy of her own: “Definitely not,” she said. “It’s so nice that I get to share this with my dad. … This is his 28th Grammy and to have my first be his 28th, I’ll take it.”
5:54: 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: 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.
More: Ariana Grande says ‘thank u, next’ to Grammys 2019 drama, wins best pop vocal album
5:34: 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: 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: 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: 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.
Related: Kacey Musgraves’ ‘Golden Hour’ may be 2018’s best album yet
5:25: “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.
Jaw-dropping Netflix doc: Quincy Jones shows he’s been ‘kicking booty every decade’
5:23: 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: 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: 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.”
5:00: 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.
5:00: 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.”
‘Greatest Showman’: How a pop-culture punchline became the year’s best-selling album
4:48: 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: 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.
Brandi Carlile: Dolly Parton crashed into Studio A
4:42: 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: 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: “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.
Related: Good luck getting Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper’s ‘Shallow’ out of your head
4:29: “Black Panther” takes home its first award of the night for best score soundtrack for visual media, for composer Ludwig Göransson.
4:26: “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.
‘Greatest Showman’: How a pop-culture punchline became the year’s best-selling album
4:18: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: “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: 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: 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