Kanye West, Beyonce and Billie Eilish have won early Grammys at a reinvented ceremony where the music industry hopes to put a year-long pandemic behind it.
West won in the contemporary Christian music field for his Gospel album Jesus is King, while Beyonce won best music video for Brown Skin Girl, which she shared with her nine-year-old daughter Blue Ivy.
The awards were announced ahead of Sunday’s main Grammys telecast, which is expected to be a hybrid live and pre-recorded ceremony without the usual audience of thousands of musicians and executives.
Eilish, the Los Angeles teen who dominated last year’s awards, won for her theme song to the upcoming James Bond film No Time to Die.
Eilish, 19, also has two other nods for her ballad Everything I Wanted.
Beyonce, the most nominated female artist in Grammy history with 79 career nods, went into the ceremony with a leading nine nominations, mostly from music celebrating black culture in a year of racial turmoil.
But she is not on the list of musicians booked for Sunday’s three-hour show, which will feature performances from Taylor Swift, K-Pop band BTS, newcomer Megan Thee Stallion, Eilish, Harry Styles, Latin star Bad Bunny and black country singer Mickey Guyton.
An unusually diverse line-up of contenders for the top prize – album of the year – means it could be anyone’s night.
“The nominations were so surprising – The Weeknd not getting nominated – it’s a very strange year to try to predict,” said Melinda Newman, Billboard’s executive editor for the West Coast and Nashville.
“I think it’s going to be a year where no-one makes a clean sweep,” she added.
The winners are chosen by 11,000 voting members of the Recording Academy.
Swift and British pop singer Dua Lipa got six nominations apiece, along with rapper Roddy Ricch.
Lipa, and her album Future Nostalgia, may have the edge as the only one of the trio to get nods in all three of the big races – album, record and song of the year.
South Korean boy band BTS marked a breakthrough year in the United States, securing their first major Grammy nomination for English –language hit Dynamite.
They will be performing from Korea on Sunday and hoping for a win in the closely-contested best pop duo or group field.