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26 Feb 2020 14:19
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  •   Home > News > International

    Billie Eilish dominates at Grammy awards, as fans shaken by Kobe Bryant's death gather outside Staples Centre

    Teen newcomer Billie Eilish wins all four of the major gongs, as news of basketball player Kobe Bryant's death casts a dark cloud over the Grammy Awards.

    Teen newcomer Billie Eilish has picked up a clean sweep of the major gongs at this year's Grammy's, where news of basketball player Kobe Bryant's death has cast a dark cloud.

    The Grammys are being held at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, home of the late basketball star's beloved LA Lakers team.

    Award presenters and recipients, as well as artists arriving on the red carpet, have been paying tribute to the NBA legend, who died along with his daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash hours before the ceremony.

    Bryant's fans are holding a vigil outside the venue, where Bryant starred for two decades as one of the NBA's all-time greatest players.

    Billie Eilish dominates, picks up all four major gongs

    Eilish and her hit Bad Guy were a dominant presence on stage, as the 18-year-old along with her brother, co-writer and producer Finneas, won the four major awards of the night.

    Bad Guy won both Song and Record of The Year — split into two categories to honour both the performer and writer of a single.

    Her Album When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go? won Album of the Year and the teenager picked up the award for Best New Artist.

    It is rare for one artist to pick up all four of these awards — dubbed the General Field because they are not restricted by genre — and Eilish is the youngest performer to do so.

    She is the only artist since Christopher Cross in 1981 (not to be confused with '90s hip hop duo Kriss Kross) to win all four awards in a single ceremony, with British pop singer Adele winning the four over three ceremonies in 2009, 2012, and 2017.

    Finneas emerged as the evening's top winner with six awards, while Eilish picked up five.

    On Saturday, Eilish made history in Australia after Bad Guy became the first song by a solo female artist to top triple J's Hottest 100 countdown.

    Eilish remained modest throughout her acceptance speeches, repeatedly insisting other artists should have won.

    "So many other songs deserve this, I'm sorry," Eilish said, accepting the Song of the Year award.

    "I genuinely want to say I'm so grateful and I'm so honoured to be here … I love you to my core."

    In her acceptance for Best New Artist, Eilish joked about the backlash the win would attract from fans of other performers.

    "[The other nominees'] fans are going to … talk s*** about me for years," she said.

    Later, she appeared shocked when her debut album won over Ariana Grande's album 7 Rings for Album of the Year.

    "I think Ariana deserves this," she said.

    "Thank U, Next got me through some s***."

    By her final acceptance speech for Record of the Year, Eilish was seemingly lost for words.

    "Thank you," she said. "Bye."

    Tributes flow for Kobe Bryant, late rapper Nipsey Hussle picks up awards

    Rapper Nipsey Hussle posthumously won the Best Rap Performance award for Racks in the Middle, which features Roddy Ricch and Hit-Boy.

    Along with DJ Khaled and John Legend, the late rapper also won Best Rap/Sung Performance for their collaboration Higher.

    American rapper Tyler The Creator won the Best Rap Album gong for his album Igor, while Lizzo picked up Best Pop Solo Performance for her single Truth Hurts.

    Former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama is now a Grammys recipient after winning the accolade for the audiobook version of her memoir Becoming.

    'The whole wide world lost a hero'

    "Tonight is for Kobe," pop star Lizzo announced as she took to the stage to open the ceremony before performing exuberant versions of her hits Cuz I Love You and Truth Hurts to a standing ovation.

    Lizzo won three honours, including best pop solo performance for Truth Hurts and two R&B awards.

    "We are all feeling crazy sadness right now because earlier today Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero and we're literally standing here, heartbroken, in the house that Kobe Bryant built," the show's host, Alicia Keys, said in remarks to open the show.

    Keys then brought members of Boyz II Men on stage, joining them in an a capella version of their ballad It's So Hard to Say Goodbye, dedicated to Bryant.

    "It's a real tough day and we want to send our love to the families, the kids, the mothers," performer DJ Khaled said backstage.

    "It's hard to catch a vibe right now at this moment but we are going to do it."

    'We're accepting awards underneath the basket where he dunked'

    Earlier on the red carpet, artist Robert Randolph said it felt "crazy" being at the Staples Centre for the show without Bryant.

    "Especially being here in his arena, his home, it's like we've come to somebody's party and you're not here," he said.

    "We're going to be accepting awards underneath the basket where he dunked.

    "And he sweated and bled for all those years.

    "So, you know, it's crazy that it's here. You know, we're in LA. Kobe is not with us. Rest in peace, Kobe."

    Ty Dolla, who is nominated for a Grammy, described Bryant as "the greatest ever".

    "He's the greatest ever to me," he said.

    "I'm from Los Angeles. Skrillex is from Los Angeles, and it hits home.

    "I know the city is hurting right now. The world is hurting right now. So we're still excited to be here and excited to be next to these guys right here. But I'm praying for Kobe's family and y'all are in our hearts for sure."

    British artist Labrinth said: "It was insane news to hear this morning. And he's been part of my life for a very long time.

    "So to even know that he's gone, it's like I couldn't believe it this morning. It's really hard to believe.

    "I remember talking about him doing a lot of charity work before he went. So to know that he's done something so incredible and beautiful before he's gone.

    "I want to send some respect to his family and I hope everyone's holding together well, because I'm sure tonight is going to be affected by it, you know?"

    Blues artist and Grammys nominee Keb' Mo' said news of Bryant's death "really brings things home for you".

    Gospel Artist Tasha Cobbs Leonard called the NBA star's death a "very, very sad moment for our country".


    © 2020 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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