The 2021 Grammy Awards in all of their unreality, began with 15 minutes of performance without any awards. Host Trevor Noah explained the circumstances in the beginning: the awards would actually be predominantly in person, with social distancing measures in place, at a warehouse across the road from the awards' typical and iconic venue of the Los Angeles Staples' Centre.
The artists were to perform in the round, all facing each other for the world's most exclusive concert this year. Harry Styles opened with a perfectly serviceable rendition of "Watermelon Sugar"; HAIM gave us the sun-drenched serotonin boost we needed with "The Steps"; but it was Billie Eilish who owned the opening with her Record of the Year-nominated "Everything I Wanted".
Eilish, crowned with a black stone veil, stood on top of a 1970s sedan submerged in darkness and stage fog. While the headlights blinked in time, the song gained a depth it hadn't had before. The cavernous reverb produced gravitas. "Everything I Wanted" sounded like a jazz crooner from the future. The cameras swung to Harry Styles and all three HAIM sisters, all genuinely taken aback. It showed a new dimension to pandemic awards performance that will have to be matched.
Channel 10 are screening the GRAMMY Awards live on Monday 15 March from 11AM AEDT. You can watch in HD on TV or stream the show live, or later via catch-up, on 10Play. Catch up on Billie Eilish's performance on 10Play post-show.
Written by Josh Martin, a Melbourne-based freelance music and media writer with words in MTV Australia, NME, Junkee, Crikey, etc. Follow him on Twitter @joshuamartjourn.
Editor's Note: MTV and Channel 10 are both subsidiaries of ViacomCBS.