Opening the night outside the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, Noah explained that the nominees were seated in a tented, limited audience outside the venue, while the artists would be taking the stage for the night’s performances inside the nearly empty convention center. While he quipped about hot-button topics like COVID-19, the U.S. Capitol insurrection and the British royals, his opener was intended to set up the different-seeming and yet hopeful night.
“Tonight’s about bringing us all together as only music can. I mean — music and vaccines,” said the Daily Show host in an introduction fit for the pandemic-era of awards shows.
Read Noah’s full monologue transcript below:
Good evening, everyone. And welcome to the 63rd annual Grammy Awards. My name is Trevor Noah, and I’ll be your host tonight as we celebrate the last 10 years of music that got us through the last 10 years of coronavirus. I know it’s been one year, but it feels like 10.
As you can see, this year, people, we have made the decision to socially distance from the Staples Center, but we’re still broadcasting to you from the heart of downtown Los Angeles. This is not a Zoom background, alright? This is real. My uncle isn’t going to walk behind me naked even though I told him I was having an important meeting. That’s not going to happen tonight.
Tonight, we’re going to celebrate some of the fantastic music that has touched our lives and saved our souls over this unprecedented year. And as you can see, we are outside. Meaning, we get to enjoy the great Los Angeles air — which I know may be as dangerous as COVID, but we’re willing to take the risk.
Tonight is going to be the biggest outdoor event this year besides the storming of the Capitol. Because, you see, right here in this elegant, open-air tent, we will be presenting the most prestigious, sought-after, peer-voted trophies in music, giving out shiny new Grammy Awards live throughout the evening. But we have to do it quickly because tomorrow this tent is reserved for an outdoor wedding in Malibu and I do not want to lose my security deposit.
Now, rest assured, everyone here is following all COVID-19 protocols and guidelines. In fact, this is going to be the rare awards show where the white stuff going up people’s noses is cotton swabs. It’s really safe.
So, this year’s Grammys does look a little different, I’m not going to front. The whole thing is going to be different. But, it’s also going to be more exciting, because our impressive nominees will be sitting at those tables for their awards. So right now, there is more tension in that tent than at a family reunion at Buckingham palace. And I know that you haven’t been able to go to a concert in a long time, neither have I. So tonight, we’re bringing the concert to you.
After everyone makes their way down this red carpet, they’re going to head inside there to perform for each other and for you. And unlike an actual concert, two teenagers stacked on top of each other won’t stand in front of you and block your view.
That is what tonight is all about — it’s about bringing us all together as only music can. Well, I mean, music and vaccines. This evening, we will celebrate music and hopefully forget all our problems, unless one of our problems is being obsessed with Harry Styles, because that’s only going to get worse, I can promise you.
You see, tonight we will enjoy performances from everyone from Megan Thee Stallion to Cardi B, from Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak’s Silk Sonic to Taylor Swift. We will hear some of the remarkable stars of country music — Miranda Lambert, Micky Guyton and Maren Morris. We will be paying tribute to some of the many great musical artists that we’ve lost during the last year, including Little Richard and Kenny Rogers and John Prine. We’ll also be bringing you global sensations: Dua Lipa, Bad Bunny, BTS and Post Malone, plus exciting performances by Doja Cat, Roddy Ricch, Brandi Carlile, John Mayer, Brittany Howard and Chris Martin. And on top of all of that, people, we will be joined by not one, but two of the biggest and most beloved babies on planet Earth: Da Baby and Lil Baby.
And all of them will be performing right here in this beautiful room.
Tonight, we are hoping that this is all about what 2021 can be, full of joy, new beginnings and coming together. Never forgetting what happened in 2020, but full of hope for what is to come. So, let’s do this, people.
The 63rd annual Grammy Awards aired live on CBS and Paramount+. Overall, winners in a total of 83 categories were handed out at Sunday’s ceremonies.