The 16 Most Shocking and Memorable Grammys Moments of All Time

From J.Lo to Beyoncé

grammys shocking moments
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With its extravagant performances and daring red-carpet looks, the Grammy Awards have been known to elicit a few eyebrow raises. The 66th annual awards show is right around the corner (aka Sunday, February 4), and it will be hosted by Trevor Noah…again. SZA leads the nominations with a total of nine nods, including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year and Best R&B Performance. She’s followed by Victoria Monét and Phoebe Bridgers, who have the second-most nominations (seven). 

What better way to warm up for music’s biggest night than by revisiting the 16 most shocking moments (and all-around memorable moments) in Grammys history? Air guitar solos excluded.

jennifer lopez green grammys dress
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1. When J.lo Took the Plunge (2000)

Who could forget J.Lo’s verdant Versace bathing suit coverup dress? All we can say is thank goodness for double-sided tape. 

mia pregnant grammys performance
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2. And M.I.A. Was About to Pop (2009)

The “Paper Planes” singer casually performed with Jay-Z, Kanye West, T.I. and Lil Wayne on her due date. NBD.

lady gaga egg grammys
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3. When Lady Gaga Made an Egg-stravagant Entrance (2011)

Mother Monster arrived at the award show securely nestled in an enormous egg and, in true Gaga fashion, emerged from her shell onstage.

pink aerial grammys performance
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4. And Pink’s Performance Defied Gravity (2014)

The “Beautiful Trauma” singer proved her acrobatic skills match her vocals with a jaw-dropping aerial performance. Now thats multitasking. 

madonna grammys flash
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5. When Madonna Bared Her Assets (2015)

Madge gave cheeky a new meaning when she flashed her bum on the Grammys red carpet. 

kanye west beck grammys
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6. And Kanye West Tried to Overshadow Beck (2015)

History nearly repeated itself (remember the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards with Taylor Swift?) when the “Famous” singer stormed the stage after Beck won Best Album instead of West’s first pick, Beyoncé. A bewildered Beck invited him to say a few words, but the Louis Vuitton Don returned to his seat like a good Kanye.

kristen wiig sia grammys
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7. When Kristen Wiig Did Her Best Sia Impression (2015)

Wiig took a break from making us giggle and donned a leotard and Sia wig for a half-creepy, half-impressive modern dance performance with Maddie Ziegler to “Chandelier.” We’re still trying to figure out if it was a farce or not…

beyonce pregnant grammy awards
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8. When Beyoncé Was an Actual Angel (2017)

Queen Bey was so radiant as she channeled Mother Earth while very pregnant with her twins, Sir and Rumi, we were momentarily rendered speechless. 

beyonce jay z and blue ivy at the grammys
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9. And Blue Ivy Shushed Beyoncé and Jay-z (2018)

If it were anyone else, we’d be calling blasphemy. 

kesha praying performance at the grammys
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10. When Kesha Performed a Beyond Powerful Rendition of ‘Praying’ (2018)

Along with Bebe Rexha, Cindi Lauper, Julia Michaels, Andra Day and Camila Cabello, no less. Did we mention everyone was in all white? Perhaps awe-inspiring might be a better word. 

cardi b performing finesse at the grammys
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11. And Cardi B Performed ‘Finesse’ While Secretly Pregnant (2018)

The “Bodak Yellow” rapper famously said she had butterflies in her you-know-what before the performance and clapped back at speculation she was pregnant by saying, “I’m just getting fat. Let me fat in peace.”…And then there was baby Kulture. Never change, Bardi.

alicia keyes playing two pianos
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12. When Alicia Keyes Played Not One, But Two Pianos (2019)

The “No One” singer performed a melody of throwback songs…with one hand on each piano.

grammy awards best moments demi lovato
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13. When Demi Lovato Made a Comeback (2020)

Demi Lovato returned to the Grammys stage to sing a powerful rendition of her emotional song “Anyone.”

grammy awards best moments cardi b
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14. And When Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion Gave a NSFW Performance (2021)

Host Trevor Noah warned the audience, “If you have small children in the room, just tell them it’s a song about giving a cat a bath.”

grammy awards best moments doja cat
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15. When Doja Cat Almost Missed Her Big Moment (2022)

When she won the award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Doja Cat revealed that she nearly missed the announcement because she was in the bathroom.

beyonce grammy awards
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16. And Finally, When Beyoncé Made History (2023)

At the 2023 Grammys, Beyoncé became the most awarded artist in Grammy history when she won for Best R&B Song for “Cuff It” and Best Dance/Electronic Album. In her acceptance speech, she said, “I’d like to thank the queer community for your love and for inventing the genre.”


Cat mom, yogi, brunch enthusiast

Lex is an LA native who's deeply obsessed with picnics, Slim Aarons, rosé, Hollywood history and Joan Didion. She joined PureWow in early 2017.