Grammys 2020: 18 Most Unforgettable Moments From Past Ceremonies

Whether it’s protests at the Golden Globes, surprise collaborations at the Brits or massive bloody blunders at the Oscars, you can always rely on some seriously shocking moments during awards season.

The Grammys are certainly no exception to this – after all, rounding up the biggest names in music in an auditorium for hours at a time was never going to be the recipe for a quiet night in, was it?

In honour of this year’s ceremony, we’re counting down 18 of the most shocking and memorable moments from the Grammys over the years...

Adele refuses to accept her Album Of The Year award (2017)

The Hello singer swept the board following the release of her album, 25, but when she won over Beyoncé’s opus Lemonade, even Adele had to admit something was up.

“I can’t possibly accept this award,” she said, “The Lemonade album was so monumental... so well thought out and so beautiful and soul-bearing, and we all got to see another side to you that we don’t always let us see."

Addressing Beyoncé, Adele continued: “All us artists here, we fucking adore you. You are our light, and the way that you make me and my friends feel, the way you make my black friends feel is empowering, and you make them stand up for themselves. I love you, and I always will.”

Lady Gaga egg-cedes eggs-pectations with her Grammys entrance (2011)

Nobody was expecting Gaga to play it down when she arrived at the Grammys, where she would be opening the show with a debut performance of her single Born This Way, but who could have anticipated this was how she’d make her entrance?

Playing up to the “birth” theme of her then-new single, she was carried down the red carpet in a giant egg, which she emerged from to perform the track on stage later in the show.

Hey Nicki, who’s your friend? (2012)

Upping the game when it came to dramatic Grammys entrances, Nicki hit the red carpet in a red Versace cloak, on the arm of an old man dressed as the Pope.

She opened the show that year with a medley of Roman’s Revenge, Roman Holiday and I Feel Pretty (yes, the one from West Side Story), in a performance laden with Catholic imagery which was supposed to show the exorcism of her alter-ego, Roman Zolanski.

Eminem and Elton John perform an unlikely duet (2001)

And while we’re on the subject of surprising performances, Eminem made headlines in 2001 when he welcomed Elton John to the stage with him to perform Dido’s parts on his hit Stan.

The two held hands at the end of the performance in what appeared to be the rapper’s attempts to put a stop to accusations of homophobia that had frequently been levelled against him.

Maybe just stop using homophobic language in your songs, Marshall, then we’ll talk.

Justin Timberlake apologises post-Super Bowl and it’s all very uncomfortable (2004)

The 2004 Super Bowl took place just seven days before that year’s Grammys, meaning Justin Timberlake had already been splashed all over the news for exposing Janet Jackson’s breast by accident during the Half-Time Show.

But if you thought it had been a bad week for JT, spare a thought for Ms Jackson.

While Justin performed his then-new single Señorita during the show, Janet found that her scheduled performance with Luther Vandross had been axed, and while the former N*SYNC singer apologised to anyone “offended” during his acceptance speech for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance (yes he won in a year when Janet had been blacklisted), he made no mention of the woman he’d been sharing the stage with.


Pharrell Williams’ hat steals the show on the red carpet (2014)

Remember that week when Pharrell’s hat was photoshopped onto everything? Simpler times, eh?

Still, a good hat, even if it does make him look slightly like one of the Mr Men.

Jennifer Lopez breaks the internet more than a decade before Kim Kardashian (2000)

And while we’re on the subject of sartorial choices at the Grammys - behold! That dress.

An outfit so famous that Google literally invented their "Images" tab because so many people wanted to see what J-Lo was wearing on the red carpet.

Waiting For Tonight may have lost out to Cher’s Believe in the Best Dance Recording category that night, but who could deny that Jenny From The Block was the true winner?

Milli Vanilli have their Grammys taken away (1990)

The German R&B duo was named Best New Artist in 1990, although their victory was short-lived.

It later transpired the two didn't actually contribute any of the vocals heard on their releases, prompting the Music Academy to take back their titles.

Rihanna surprises everyone with her choice of date (2013)

Rumours had been abound that Rihanna had reunited with her ex Chris Brown, and this speculation went into overdrive when they were seen cosying up at the 2013 Grammys.

The choice of venue was also particularly poignant, as it was while on their way to Clive Davis’s Grammys party that Brown had assaulted Rihanna four years prior, leaving her in need of medical attention.

A stage invader crashes Bob Dylan's performance (1998)

The 1998 Grammys were clearly a year to remember, as in addition to Ol’ Dirty Bastard storming the stage, another unplanned moment helped make headlines, this time while Bob Dylan was performing.

While Bob Dylan performed Love Sick a bare-chested man with "Soy Bomb" written on his torso appeared behind him, and was eventually removed by security.

He later claimed: “Soy represents dense nutritional life. Bomb is, obviously, an explosive destructive force. So, ‘soy bomb’ is what I think art should be: dense, transformational, explosive life!”

Adele’s All I Ask performance doesn’t quite go to plan (2016)

Listen, we all have our off days, as Adele proved at the 2016 Grammys. Despite riding high on her recent comeback with 25, this performance had everyone talking for all the wrong reasons.

She later confessed to “crying all day” following her appearance at the Grammys, she told Ellen Degeneres: “During the changeover the microphones fell onto the piano strings which is what the guitar noise was… and then it kind of put the whole thing off really.”

And unfortunately, her bad Grammys luck didn’t end there (2017)

Things got off to a much smoother start a year later, when she opened the show with a rendition of Hello.

However, when she came back later in the show to perform a surprise tribute to George Michael, things took something of a nosedive.

After a shaky start, she eventually stopped the performance completely one minute in, stating: “I know it’s live TV, I’m sorry. I can’t do it again like last year. I’m sorry for swearing and sorry for starting again, can we please start it again? I’m sorry, I can’t mess this up for [George]. I’m sorry.”

She then restarted the performance, and paid fitting tribute to the musical legend.

Lady Gaga channels Ziggy Stardust as she prepares to honour David Bowie (2016)

Sadly not all tribute performances at the Grammys have won such unanimous praise.

Lady Gaga divided Bowie fans after she was selected to pay tribute to him at the Grammys that year, with some suggesting that by donning his famous outfits and attempting to imitate his performance style, she’d made the show more about herself than her idol.

Even Bowie’s son seemed nonplussed, though when Lorde put her own subdued spin on Life On Mars? at the Brits weeks later, he was far more impressed...

Taylor Swift uses her acceptance speech to fire back at Kanye West (2016)

Following a brief truce, Taylor Swift and Kanye West’s feud was well and truly back on by the 2016 Grammys, after he disparagingly referenced her in his song Famous.

Referring specifically to the divisive “I made that bitch famous” line, Taylor told the crowd: “To all the young women out there, there are going to be people out along the way who will try to undercut your success, and try to take credit for your accomplishments and your fame.”

As we know, things didn’t end there and in a series of events involving a naked mannequin, a leaked Snapchat conversation and a narrative that someone claimed they had no interest in being part of, Taylor was still taking jabs at Kanye when she released her 2017 album, Reputation.

Ariana Grande gets all dressed up with no place to go (2019)

In 2019, Ariana Grande had been scheduled to perform at the Grammys, where she had been nominated for two awards. Ultimately, she pulled out after a much-publicised row with a producer, but still ended up stealing the show on the night, sharing snaps of her red carpet outfit (which she sported to lay around the house), live-tweeting the whole event and even winning her first Grammy after snubbing the show completely.

This year’s Grammys will take place on Sunday 26 January, hosted by Alicia Keys.

Travis Scott and Kylie Jenner

Alicia Keys

Cardi B

Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga

Shawn Mendes

Dua Lipa

Miley Cyrus

Mark Ronson

Janelle Monáe

Dolly Parton

Camila Cabello

Meghan Trainor and Daryl Sabara


Bebe Rexha


James Blake and Jameela Jamil

Diana Krall and Tony Bennett

Kacey Musgraves

Ricky Martin and his son Matteo

Charlie Puth


Maren Morris

Chloe X Halle

J Balvin

Ella Mai

Rashida Jones

Heidi Klum

Tracee Ellis Ross

Jada Pinkett Smith

Alessia Cara


Tayla Parx

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.