The Israel-Hamas War took center stage at last night's 66th Annual Grammy Awards on CBS, hosted by Trevor Noah.While Noah himself stayed relatively apolitical as host, conflict about the war interrupted the ceremony even before it began.
Protesters carrying Palestinian flags and Free Palestine signs temporarily blocked drop-off access to the show, according to Deadline Magazine.
During the ceremony itself, singer Annie Lennox cried out "Artists for ceasefire! Peace in the World!" after a performance of "Nothing Compares 2 U" in memory of the late Sinead O'Connor.
Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. did bring up the horrors of October 7th during his speech, referencing the Supernova music festival killings and kidnappings, in particular.
Mason: Everyone of us, no matter where we are from is united by the shared experience of music. It brings us together like nothing else can, and that's why music must always be our safe space. When that's violated, it strikes at the very core of who we are. We felt that at the concert hall in Paris. We felt that at the Manchester arena in England. We felt that at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas. And on October 7th, we felt that again when we heard the tragic news from the Supernova music festival for a love that over 360 music fans lost their lives. And another 40 were kidnapped. That day and all the tragic days that have followed have been awful for the world to bear as we mourn the loss of all innocent lives.
He ended his speech with a nod to the string quartet accompanying it, composed of Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians.
"Take this string quartet, as individuals they sound really good. But together, they achieve something beautiful they could never do a part. These musicians of Palestinian, Israeli and Arab descent are here playing together. Now is the time for us, for humanity to play together, to come together with empathy and with love, thank you," he said.
While the CEO addressed the overseas conflict, the ceremony's host steered clear of the topic and avoided politics in general. In fact, Noah made only two political jokes the whole night.
After a commercial break, he joked, "We're back at the Grammys with all the stars that weren't on Epstein's list." The connection between Epstein and the rich and famous is no longer a taboo subject at awards ceremonies. Jim Gaffigan mocked Hollywood's Epstein connections at the Golden Globes last month.
Noah's second political joke mocked the age of this year's major presidential candidates. He told the audience that the 66th Grammy Awards is "Still younger than America's next president."
Left-wing Hip-hop mogul Jay-Z received a "Global Impact Award" during the show. In his speech. he complained that the Academy never awarded his wife Beyonce album of the year.
“I don't want to embarrass this young lady, but she has more Grammys than anyone and never won Album of the Year," he whined.
Later, Taylor Swift won Album of the Year for "Midnights" and accepted graciously.
Miley Cyrus won Record of the Year, different from Album of the Year, for "Flowers." She behaved trashily, telling the audience that she "might have forgotten underwear." In another era, Cyrus' announcement would have shocked, but our culture is sadly numb to such crassness at this point.
All in all, the Grammy's were tolerable despite some annoying "stars." Trevor Noah may have been obnoxious when helming his own late-night show, but he is generally pleasant and inoffensive when hosting the Grammys. As he has done in prior years, he kept the show focused primarily on music and minimized other distractions.