The 2022 Grammy Awards Offered No Surprises, With Big Wins from Olivia Rodrigo, Jon Batiste, and Silk Sonic

After two years of pandemic, the Grammy Awards felt utterly regular.


By: Carlin Lacques

This year’s Grammy Awards was a refreshingly tame show with stellar performances from the likes of Olivia Rodrigo, Lil Nas X, Billie Eilish, among many others.

Somewhat controversially, the Academy elected to expand the nominees for Album of the Year to ten. Jon Batiste came out on top with We Are, a colorful, highly listenable collection of songs sharing themes of persistence and unity.

Another big winner of the evening was Olivia Rodrigo, taking home the award for Best New Artist (to no one’s surprise), Best Pop Vocal Album for Sour, and Best Pop Solo Performance for her hit song Driver’s License. Rodrigo beat out other far more seasoned artists, such as Ariana Grande and Doja Cat.

Not only did Rodrigo take home the win for several categories, she delivered a muted but emotional performance of Driver’s License.

After winning a cumulative seven Grammy awards over the past two years, Billie Eilish went home empty handed, though was nominated for seven categories.

Despite it being only their first Grammys Show, Silk Sonic had a successful night, winning Record of the Year for Leave the Door Open, and settling for a tie with Jazmine Sullivan for Best R&B Performance. Sullivan was nominated for Pick Up Your Feelings, and Silk Sonic was nominated once again for Leave the Door Open.

Tyler the Creator took home his second Grammy award ever with Best Rap Album for Call Me If You Get Lost.

The Academy tried to create a night with an atmosphere of unity, though at times the togetherness felt inauthentic. In a prerecorded bit, Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. emphasized the importance of the Grammys in shaping culture and the impact of music in activist spaces. 

It felt as though Mason Jr. was attempting to humanize the Academy and sensationalize its impact on the culture of music. How can the Academy claim to be a proponent of progressivism and music’s relevance in such spaces while granting Louis C.K., who has admitted to engaging in sexual misconduct, the award for Best Comedy Album?

According to a study published by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, Black performers received 26.7% of top Grammy nominations from 2012 to 2020, despite representing approximately 38% of artists on the Billboard chart. 

In fact, non-Black artists have taken prizes over Black artists so many times that they have become openly apologetic while accepting the award over their Black counterparts. Billie Eilish believed Megan Thee Stallion should have won Record of the Year over her in 2021, Adele apologized to Beyonce for her album 25 winning over Beyonce’s Lemonade. Macklemore apologized to Kendrick Lamar for his lack of winning numerous rap categories. 

Time and time again, the Academy proves to not value quality art from non-white artists, so the theme of unity throughout the night felt disingenuous.

Support for Ukraine was strong throughout the evening, with performances from Ukrainian musicians, and a speech from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Trevor Noah proved his hosting prowess for a second time, keeping the evening light hearted while staying on pace for a prompt finish at 11:30 EST. The show was concise and well-organized, with minimal technical difficulties.

Throughout the evening, the Academy chose to highlight various crew members of artists’ teams to introduce presenters and performers, giving insight into who makes everything happen behind the scenes. 

Overall, the 2022 Grammy Awards were all around solid, with well done performances and relatively well chosen awards. While the Academy will always spark controversy, this year was a win in terms of regularity and meeting most everyone’s expectations.