All the Moments That Shocked Us During the 2019 Grammy Awards

The 61st annual celebration of the best in music was full of surprises, from unexpected guests to extra-flirty couples

Viewers expecting a straightforward affair were in for a surprising treat when they tuned in for the 2019 Grammy Awards, where high-profile cameos, shady speeches and jaw-dropping performances made for an unpredictable night.

Led by host Alicia Keys, the celebration delivered a handful of shocking moments:

Camila Cabello Is Joined by Her Sister & Father During Her Performance
Cabello started the show with a performance of her mega-hit “Havana.” She was joined by Young Thug, J Balvin, Ricky Martin, Arturo Sandoval and two very special surprise guests: her sister Sofia and dad Alejandro.

“Tonight’s performance was based on my grandma’s childhood in Havana growing up in a ‘solar habanero,’ basically a house in which every family live in a room — it was a poor community but she loved it because there was music everywhere, she was never happier,” Cabello wrote about her number on Twitter. “Before they even put up the wall and we started performing, I was tearing up thinking of my family, my team, and how beautiful a moment like this is.”

<a href="" data-inlink="true">Camila Cabello</a> dad and sister cameo during her Grammy performanceCredit: CBS

The star’s father and sister appeared in one of the “rooms” that made up the on-stage solar habanero.

“Omg did you see them?! They were soooo cute,” the star gushed about her family when a fan asked about their appearance on Twitter.

Michelle Obama Leads a Group of Female Superstars
The former First Lady joined host Alicia Keys and Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith and Jennifer Lopez on stage to talk about the important role music has played in their lives as the ceremony began.

From left: Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, Alicia Keys, former First Lady Michelle Obama and Jennifer Lopez.

“From the Motown records I wore out on the South Side to the ‘Who Run the World’ songs that fueled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story, and I know that’s true for everybody here,” Obama said.

“Whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves, our dignity and sorrows, our hopes and joys. It allows us to hear one another, to invite each other in. Music shows us that all of it matters — every story within every voice, every note within every song. Is that right ladies?” she continued.

A source familiar with planning the appearance told PEOPLE about Obama’s relationship with the Grammys host, saying “It’s a nice friendship that they have. Mrs. Obama just wanted to be supportive of Alicia.”

Cardi B and Estranged Husband Offset Show PDA on the Red Carpet
Two months after announcing she’d split with her husband following their surprise September 2017 wedding, Cardi made her reignited romance with the Migos rapper red carpet official.

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Jon Kopaloff/Getty

The pair even touched tongues as they posed for pictures, as if all eyes weren’t already on the five-time nominee’s unforgettable vintage Mugler dress.

During Cardi’s performance, Offset was spotted completely engrossed in the show from his seat in the audience:

He later joined her on stage as she accepted best rap album for Invasion of Privacy.

Offset and Cardi welcomed daughter Kulture Kiari in July.

Shawn Mendes Brings Out Miley Cyrus During His Performance
Mendes enlisted a pro to share the stage with him as he made his Grammys performance debut.

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Kevin Winter/Getty

He started singing his hit “In My Blood” on his own before Cyrus came out to help him finish off the song.

Fans suspected the duo might be teaming up after Cyrus shared a rehearsal photo with equipment marked with Mendes’ name on Instagram.

On Friday, Cyrus and Mendes teamed up at the MusiCares tribute to Dolly Parton, singing her famous “Islands in the Stream.” The singers are also expected to release a single together on Cyrus’ upcoming album.

Kylie Jenner Walks the Carpet with Boyfriend Travis Scott
Despite telling GQ last year that she “won’t come” to her rapper boyfriend’s events in an effort to keep their relationship private, Jenner went all out to support her man over the 2019 Grammys weekend.

First, she accompanied him to Clive Davis and The Recording Academy’s Pre-Grammy Gala, where Scott performed.

Kevin Mazur/Getty

Then, the parents to 1-year-old daughter Stormi made a rare joint red carpet appearance, getting flirty and even sharing a kiss before heading into the Grammys.


The Astroworld star earned three Grammy nominations for best rap album, best rap song and best rap performance, and hit the stage during the show.

Alicia Keys Dazzles With a Two-Piano Medley Performance
The evening’s host took a break from introducing other singers to show off her own pipes.

“I always wanted to play two pianos,” she said as she straddled a piano bench between the two instruments.

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Keys then launched into a medley of wide-ranging hits, including Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly,” Juice Wrld’s “Lucid Dreams,” Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable,” Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody,” Drake’s “In My Feelings,” Lauryn Hill’s “Doo-Wop (That Thing)” and Ella Mai’s “Boo-d Up,” before singing her 2009 collaboration with JAY-Z, “Empire State of Mind.”

Be sure to check out PEOPLE’s full Grammy Awards coverage to get the latest news on music’s biggest night.

Drake Makes an Appearance to Accept Best Rap Song
After years of shunning awards shows, the Scorpion star made a surprise appearance to claim his gramophone for his song “God’s Plan.”

Drake, did, however, use his time at the microphone to encourage other artists not to use industry awards as the only measure of their success.

Rob Latour/REX/Shutterstock

“I want you to know we play in an opinion-based sport, not a factual-based sport. This is not the NBA where at the end of the year, you’re holding a trophy because you made the right decisions or won the games,” he said. “This is a business where sometimes it’s up to a bunch of people who might not understand what a mixed-race kid from Canada has to say, or a fly Spanish girl from New York, or anybody else, or a brother from Houston, my brother Travis [Scott].

“You’ve already won if you have people who are singing your songs word-for-word, if you’re a hero in your hometown… If there’s people who have regular jobs, who are coming out in the rain and the snow, spending their hard-earned money to buy tickets to come to your shows, you don’t need this right here. I promise you. You already won.”

Drake went on to say “But —” before being cut off by the broadcast. He was reportedly invited to continue his comments in the press room later on.

Cardi B Is Literally Speechless as She Becomes the First Woman to Win Best Rap Album
Cardi was visibly shocked when her name was announced as the night’s big rap winner, and could barely get words out when she finally made it to the microphone.


“Babe, I can’t breathe. Oh my goodness, woah child. I’m sorry,” she said with husband Offset beside her. “I’m sorry, I just woah — the nerves are so bad. Maybe I need to start smoking weed.”

“I wanna thank my daughter. Not just because she’s my daughter, it’s because when I found I was pregnant, my album was not complete … we was like we have to get this album done so we can shoot these videos while I was still not showing and it was very long nights,” she continued, referencing her pregnancy with daughter Kulture.

Ariana Grande Tweets Angry Messages After Late Boyfriend Mac Miller Loses His Category
Grande quite publicly did not attend Sunday’s ceremony, but she made her feelings known on Twitter after ex-boyfriend Mac Miller, who died in September 2018 from an accidental overdose, lost best rap album to Cardi B.

The songstress tweeted “f—” and “trash,” after the category was announced, but later clarified that she wasn’t upset with Cardi.

“Nothing to do w her. good for her. i promise. i’m sorry,” she wrote. “She’s not at all and that’s not what i meant and u know that.”

<a href="" data-inlink="true">Ariana Grande</a> <a href="" data-inlink="true">Cardi B</a> winCredit: <a href="" data-inlink="true">Ariana Grande</a>/Twitter

Grande also responded to a tweet about Miller’s parents, Karen Meyer and Mark McCormick, being invited to the Grammys only to watch him lose out.

“this. this is what i meant. karen was gonna have a green suit made,” she wrote, adding, of the Swimming rapper, “he slept in the studio for two months.”

Grande quickly deleted all of the tweets about Miller.

Kacey Musgraves Wins Album of the Year for Golden Hour
Musgraves appeared shocked to win the evening’s biggest award for her album Golden Hour.

The country singer defeated stiff competition in her category, including Post Malone, Janelle Monáe, Brandi Carlile, Cardi B, Drake, H.E.R. and artists from the Black Panther soundtrack.


“I don’t even know what to say,” Musgraves said as she accepted her award. “It was unbelievable to even be in a category with such gigantic albums, really brilliant works of art.”

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