The carefully choreographed Grammys sometimes offer up a few surprises. On Sunday, it was Celine Dion.
With her hair cut to a straight, shoulder-length bob, dressed in a pale pink evening gown with a camel-coloured coat, Dion was accompanied on stage by her son, René-Charles Angélil.
The Canadian artist and five-time Grammy winner has been mostly removed from the spotlight since announcing living with Stiff Person Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder which can cause muscle stiffness and painful spasms that can worsen over time.
“Thank you all,” a teary-eyed Dion said through the crowd’s applause. “I love you right back. When I say that I’m happy to be here, I really mean it from my heart.”
On social media, talk turned to a perceived podium snub to Dion by Taylor Swift, when the artist appeared to ignore Dion as she took the trophy, a historic fourth Grammy, for “Album of the Year. However later, in what appeared to be photo taken backstage, Dion and Swift were pictured embracing.
Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, a 10-time Grammy winner performed at the awards show for the first time. The 80-year-old sang “Both Sides Now” from a wing-backed chair tapping out the rhythm with her cane.
Mitchell had to learn to find her voice again after suffering a brain aneurysm in 2015.
“That was such an emotional response,” Canadian music producer Eric Alper told CTV in an interview about Mitchell’s appearance at the Grammys.
“The woman to her right is Brandi Carlile, and Brandi is a folk singer-songwriter of note,” he said. “It’s really Brandi that … helped Joni get back to the stage. In fact, Joni Mitchell also announced a concert in Los Angeles coming up in October.”
Montreal folk singer Allison Russell won her first Grammy in Best American Roots Performance for her song ‘Eve Was Black.’
“To my sister Brandi Carlile, who kicked open the doors of this industry for artists like me,” Russell said at a ceremony prior to the main event.
Montreal conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin landed a fourth Grammy for Best Opera Recording for “Blanchard: Champion.”
Toronto rapper Drake is also making Grammy headlines despite not being in attendance. The artist was nominated in four categories, but did not win any awards.
Drake posted a story on his Instagram account accepting a previous Grammy Award, Rolling Stone reported. In the video, he can be heard saying, “You’ve already won if you have people singing your songs word for word, if you’re a hero in your hometown.”
Below the video is a caption that reads, “All you incredible artists remember this show isn’t the facts; it’s just the opinion of a group of people whose names are kept a secret (literally you can Google it). Congrats to anybody winning anything for hip hop; this show doesn’t dictate sh*t in our world.”
Drake is no stranger to knocking the Grammys. “I think we should stop allowing ourselves to be shocked every year by the disconnect between impactful music and these awards…” he said after fellow Canadian artist the Weeknd was not nominated for a Grammy in 2020.