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'Tonight is for Kobe': Billie Eilish dominates Grammy wins as award show pays tribute to Bryant

Eilish won five awards, including both album and song of the year.

Billie Eilish with her brother Finneas O'Connell after winning several awards between them at the Grammys last night.
Billie Eilish with her brother Finneas O'Connell after winning several awards between them at the Grammys last night.
Image: UPI/PA Images

POP SINGER BILLIE Eilish reigned supreme at the Grammys last night winning five awards, as the music world mourned the loss of LA’s hometown basketball hero Kobe Bryant with a series of emotional tributes.

Eilish (18) swept the big four prizes last night – Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist.

“What’s next? I don’t know – be in this moment is all I’m thinking about,” Eilish told reporters backstage.

Pop singer Lizzo (31) – who won three awards – kicked off the gala at the Staples Center by dedicating it to Bryant, in the very arena where the NBA icon made history with the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Tonight is for Kobe,” she said, hours after his death in a helicopter crash was confirmed. His 13-year-old daughter and seven others also died in the incident.

Lizzo then launched into a medley performance of her top hits that set the tone for the night.

She handed over to host Alicia Keys, who offered another love letter to Bryant’s memory: “We’re all feeling crazy sadness right now. 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,” said Keys, before launching into a soulful rendition of It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye (To Yesterday) with the group Boyz II Men.

“He would want us to keep the vibrations high,” Keys later said.

62nd-annual-grammy-awards-arrivals-los-angeles Alicia Keys honouring Kobe Bryant at the Grammy Awards last night. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

‘Lift each other up’

Eilish thanked her fans – and fellow nominee Ariana Grande – in accepting her haul of trophies.

“Mainly I think the fans deserve everything,” she said, standing alongside her brother Finneas O’Connell, who shared in her Grammy glory while also winning his own producing and engineering awards. 

She gave a shoutout to Grande, who despite five nominations went home empty-handed, saying that Grande’s song thank u, next, had been a lifesaver for her.

“I think it deserves more than anything in the world, I love you so much,” Eilish said.

Irish band The Cranberries had been nominated for Best Rock Album for In The End, which was released after the death of lead singer Dolores O’Riordan.  

It was the Limerick band’s first nomination and they lost out to Cage The Elephant for their album Social Cues. 

Lil Nas X took home two Grammys for his pop culture phenomenon Old Town Road.

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Lady Gaga won two Grammys for her soundtrack for the hit film A Star Is Born, and one went to Beyonce, who nabbed the prize for best music film for Homecoming.

62nd-annual-grammy-awards-arrivals-los-angeles Singer Lizzo with her three Grammy Awards last night. Source: UPI/PA Images

Backstage controversy

Just days before the gala, the Recording Academy’s suspended CEO Deborah Dugan – the first woman to lead the institution behind the Grammys – filed an explosive discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

She says she was suspended after raising concerns over sexual harassment, voting irregularities and other misconduct within the Academy – one of music’s most influential organisations, but one long accused of favoritism and a lack of diversity.

Dugan also alleged that her predecessor, Neil Portnow, had raped a foreign female musician – an allegation he has rejected as “ludicrous and untrue.”

The controversy went more or less unmentioned at the award ceremony. 

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