British singer Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” won the first major Grammy at the music awards on Monday, locking rapper Kenrick Lamar out of a potentially historic win.
Sheeran’s win meant Compton, California rapper Lamar would not make history for the first rap single to win song of the year. However Lamar, who went into the awards with 11 nominations, won five early in the evening, including best rap album Grammy for his critically acclaimed “To Pimp A Butterfly.” Lamar is also nominated for the evening’s top prize, album of the year, which is one of the last to be announced in the three-hour show. If he wins, he’ll be only the third hip-hop artist to do so in that category.
Sheeran, 24, who had earlier won best pop solo performance for the same track, received his award from Motown legend Stevie Wonder.
“If you had told my five-year-old (self)… I’d receive an award from Stevie Wonder, I’d be shocked,” Sheeran said.
Offstage, Rihanna made news by canceling her scheduled performance at the last minute, disappointing fans on Twitter who were waiting to see her. Celebrity news website TMZ quoted a representative for the singer as saying she had bronchitis and had pulled out on doctor’s orders.
Taylor Swift, wearing a bejeweled bodysuit with her hair in a short bob, kicked off the Grammy awards with her latest hit song “Out of the Woods” on a foggy stage decorated with sparse trees.
Chris Stapleton won country album of the year for “Traveller,” adding to his earlier win for best country solo performance. “This is something I’ve never even dreamed of, so I’m super grateful,” Stapleton said.
Dressed in a tuxedo, Canadian crooner The Weeknd, real name Abel Tesfaye, took an empty stage to sing “Can’t Feel My Face” before joining a pianist and cellist for his soulful rendition of “In The Night.”
John Legend led an all-star tribute to R&B veteran Lionel Richie that included Demi Lovato, Luke Bryan, Tyrese Gibson and Meghan Trainor singing a medley of Richie’s songs including “Easy” and “Hello,” before Richie joined them on stage for “All Night Long.”