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Billie Eilish dominates the Grammys as music world mourns Kobe

Billie Eilish dominates the Grammys as music world mourns Kobe

AFP
Los Angeles
Pop iconoclast Billie Eilish cleaned up at the Grammys on Sunday, 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 -- Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist -- in an industry acknowledgement of her wave-making role as the new reference point for pop’s future.
“What’s next? I don’t know -- be in this moment is all I’m thinking about,” Eilish told reporters backstage.
Lizzo -- one of her main competitors, who won three awards -- kicked off the glitzy 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,” shouted the 31-year-old twerking flautist, 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 an eye-popping 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, before singing a humorous yet soothing opening monologue at the piano.
A mushrooming crowd of people, many of them in tears, gathered near the arena to mourn the 41-year-old Bryant. Flags were flying at half-mast.
But the show went on, with an understated performance from Eilish who 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.
“I feel like they have not been talked about enough tonight because they’re the only reason any of us are here at all. So thanks to the fans.” And she gave a shoutout to Grande, who despite five nominations went home empty-handed, saying that Grande’s “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.
Lil Nas X took home two Grammys for his pop culture phenomenon ‘Old Town Road’, while Lizzo won three out of her eight nominations.