The Most Shocking — and Most Moving — Grammys Moments of the 2000s

From upsets to confusing performance art pieces, the music awards show is never without buzz

01 of 25

2021: A COVID-SAFE SHOW

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Held partially outside, with limited attendees, a closed red carpet and mostly performances (some even remote), the 2021 Grammys were an unprecedented one in an unprecedented year. Yet a lot still felt the same: Beyoncé won big, Taylor Swift performed and Harry Styles was stylish as ever.

02 of 25

2020: A TRIBUTE TO KOBE BRYANT

Alicia Keys and Boyz II Men
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The 2020 Grammy Awards began just hours after news broke that Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were among those killed in a helicopter crash outside Los Angeles. Host Alicia Keys brought out Boyz II Men to help her pay tribute to the basketball star, a moment all the more poignant since the awards ceremony was held at Bryant's home arena, L.A.'s Staples Center.

Before launching into "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye," Keys asked people to take a moment and "hold [those who died] inside of you."

"Share our strength and our support with their families," Keys continued. "We never imagined in a million years we'd have to start the show like this, never never never never never never, so we wanted to do something that could describe a tiny bit how we all feel right now."

03 of 25

2020: THE RETURN OF DEMI LOVATO

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Lovato performed for the first time in over a year and a half, and when they did, they didn't leave a dry eye in the house or a person in their seat.

Lovato performed "Anyone," a song that was written before they overdosed at home in Hollywood Hills in July 2018. Lovato began singing the first few lyrics of the emotional song before becoming so overwhelmed with emotion that they started over.

When Lovato tried again, they proved they were back and better than ever, flexing those incredible vocal chops and earning a standing ovation.

04 of 25

2019: CARDI B BECAME THE FIRST WOMAN TO WIN BEST RAP ALBUM

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The "Money Moves" rapper was visibly shocked when she was called onstage, and had a hilariously hard time beginning her acceptance speech.

"Babe, I can't breathe. Oh my goodness, woah child. I'm sorry," she said with husband Offset beside her as she attempted to speak. "I'm sorry, I just woah - the nerves are so bad. Maybe I need to start smoking weed."

05 of 25

2019: ALICIA KEYS DAZZLED THE AUDIENCE BY PLAYING TWO PIANOS SIMULTANEOUSLY

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Keys took a break from her hosting duties to wow the crowd with an epic dual-piano performance.

"I always wanted to play two pianos," she said nonchalantly, as she straddled a piano bench between the two instruments and launched into a medley of wide-ranging hits.

06 of 25

2018: KESHA DELIVERED AN EMOTIONAL PERFORMANCE OF 'PRAYING'

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Joined onstage by a chorus dressed in all-white and fellow stars Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, Andra Day, Bebe Rexha and Julia Michaels, the Rainbow singer moved audience members to tears as she belted her emotional single. As if the massive display of girl power on stage wasn't moving enough, the stars ended the song with a group hug as the crowd gave a standing ovation.

07 of 25

2018: BROTHERS OSBORNE, MAREN MORRIS & ERIC CHURCH PAID TRIBUTE TO VICTIMS OF THE LAS VEGAS SHOOTING

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The country music stars covered Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven" in poignant remembrance of the victims of the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting.

"On Oct. 1, all of country music was reminded, in the most tragic way, the connection we share with our fans and the healing power music will always provide," said Church before the song. "A few months earlier and a continent away, the same was true in Manchester, England," Morris added. "The painful truth is that this year, in just those two events, 81 music lovers, just like us, went out to enjoy a night of music and never came back home, with many more injured and still healing."

"So tonight, to honor those who were lost, Eric, Brothers Osborne and I - who were all there in Las Vegas that tragic weekend - wanted to come together and honor the memory of the beautiful music-loving souls so cruelly taken from us," she continued.

08 of 25

2017: ADELE WON ALBUM OF THE YEAR, DEDICATED HER AWARD TO BEYONCÉ

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Following her record of the year win, Adele broke down in tears when she walked to the Grammys stage to receive the night's final and biggest prize for her album, 25.

"I'm very humbled and I'm very grateful and gracious, but my artist of my life is Beyoncé and this album to me, the Lemonade album, was just so monumental," she said, acknowledging the singer, who was mere steps away from her.

"It was so monumental and so well thought-out and so beautiful and soul-baring," Adele continued. "We all got to see another side to you that you don't always let us see and we appreciate that. All us artists here adore you. You are our light!"

09 of 25

2016: SOFIA VERGARA DANCED WITH PITBULL

Sofia Vergara Grammy Awards

You can't make this stuff up. To close out the 2016 Grammys, Vergara hit the stage during Pitbull's performance of "Taxi," initially dressed as a bedazzled taxi. They proceeded to dance for the remainder of the song.

10 of 25

2016: TAYLOR SWIFT SEEMINGLY ACKNOWLEDGED KANYE WEST'S CONTROVERSIAL 'FAMOUS' LYRICS

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Swift took home album of the year for 1989, and she used her acceptance speech to respond to Kanye West's lyrics that claim he made her famous. "[A]s the first woman to win album of the year at the Grammys twice," Swift said. "I want to say to all the young women out there, there are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame."

11 of 25

2015: BECK BEAT OUT BEYONCÉ FOR BEST ALBUM

2015: BECK BEAT OUT BEYONCé FOR BEST ALBUM
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The rocker's Morning Phase was named album of the year, beating out Pharrell, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and, most shockingly, Beyoncé, whose surprise album Beyoncé lit the world on fire. Clearly joking, Kanye stormed the stage and pretended to consider interrupting Beck … but then returned to his seat. "Come back!" Beck said, playing along.

12 of 25

2014: MACKLEMORE WON, KENDRICK LAMAR SNUBBED

2014: MACKLEMORE WON, KENDRICK LAMAR SNUBBED
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Macklemore and Ryan Lewis swept the whole awards show, winning for best rap song ("Thrift Shop"), best rap performance ("Thrift Shop") and best rap album (The Heist). Many felt that Kendrick Lamar's Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City should have won best rap album. Macklemore eventually acknowledged that Lamar "was robbed"… and even posted an Instagram photo of the apologetic text message he sent to Lamar. "He deserved best rap album," he commented on the post.

13 of 25

2014: BEYONCÉ KILLED IT, PER USUAL

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All hailed Queen Bey in 2014, when she opened the Grammys with a Flashdance-esque performance of "Drunk in Love." JAY-Z joined her on stage, Grammy censors buzzed, the crowd gave a standing ovation and #surfboart started trending.

14 of 25

2014: A MOVING MASS WEDDING WITH A FAMOUS OFFICIANT

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Anyone who snoops around friends of friends' wedding photos on Facebook was in heaven when Queen Latifah married 33 couples during Macklemore and Ryan Lewis's "Same Love" performance in 2014. Madonna joined them onstage, as well as collaborators Mary Lambert and Trombone Shorty. And 13 million followers cheered when Katy Perry caught the #samelove bouquet.

15 of 25

2012: JENNIFER HUDSON DID WHITNEY HOUSTON PROUD

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No explanation needed: The only way to honor Whitney Houston, whose death just days before the 2012 Grammy Awards still had the music world in shock, was with a stunning, emotional tribute from Hudson.

16 of 25

2012: NICKI MINAJ SANG, WAS EXORCISED

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Is it a sin to love Minaj? Apparently so. The "Roman Holiday" performer's on-stage exorcism in 2012 had everyone saying a few extra Hail Marys.

17 of 25

2012: ADELE WENT A CAPPELLA

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For just a moment in 2012, viewers were too mesmerized by Adele's a cappella opening of "Rolling in the Deep" to Tweet or text. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief that came out of throat surgery better than ever, and quickly resumed their keyboard tapping.

18 of 25

2011: LADY GAGA HATCHED FROM AN EGG

2011: LADY GAGA HATCHED FROM AN EGG
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For her unforgettable performance of "Born This Way," Gaga was all about the theatrics … and committed to a very grand entrance in which she emerged from a giant egg, wearing a yolk-colored latex bra and yellow skirt. Unexpected? Yes. Epic? Also yes.

19 of 25

2010: PINK WENT TO NEW HEIGHTS

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Singing with both feet on the ground is so 2000s. "I thought I was going to fall on my nude butt," Pink said of her 2010 Grammys performance, in which she sang "Glitter in the Air" while suspended from silk drapes. It became her go-to move both on tour and in awards show performances.

20 of 25

2009: M.I.A. PERFORMED IN THE BEST PREGNANCY OUTFIT EVER

2009: M.I.A. PERFORMED IN THE BEST PREGNANCY OUTFIT EVER
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There is no question that M.I.A.'s nine-months-pregnant performance of "Swagger Like Us" at the 2009 Grammys was one of the most rock 'n' roll performances of all time.

21 of 25

2008: AMY WINEHOUSE WON ALL

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2008 was the year of Amy Winehouse, whose breakthrough album Back to Black swept the Grammys with five trophies. Even more emotional than her wins was her shout-out to her troubled husband, Blake Fielder: "To my Blake, my Blake incarcerated."

22 of 25

2008: HERBIE HANCOCK BEAT OUT KANYE WEST AND AMY WINEHOUSE

2008: HERBIE HANCOCK BEAT OUT KANYE WEST AND AMY WINEHOUSE
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While everyone saw the competition for best album as exclusively between Kanye West's Graduation and Amy Winehouse's Back to Black, jazz legend Herbie Hancock ended up winning for his full-length tribute to Joni Mitchell.

23 of 25

2002: GIRL POWER PREVAILED

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Before there was "Bang Bang," there was Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mya and Lil' Kim's amazing remake of "Lady Marmalade," which they performed live together in 2002. The track was off the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack.

24 of 25

2001: EMINEM AND ELTON JOHN PERFORMED TOGETHER

2001: EMINEM AND ELTON JOHN PERFORMED TOGETHER
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In response to countless accusations of homophobia, Eminem performed "Stan" alongside Elton John at the 43rd Grammy Awards. "If I didn't make a statement with Elton John tonight, I don't know what else to do," he told MTV after the performance.

25 of 25

2000: JENNIFER LOPEZ WORE … THE DRESS

2000: JENNIFER LOPEZ WORE THE DRESS
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Before there was The Dress there was … The Dress That Jennifer Lopez Wore to the 2000 Grammys.

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