9:08 PM PST 2/10/2019
The star sang a medley on dueling pianos, joked with John Mayer and shared her monologue with Michelle Obama.
Sunday night’s Grammy Awards marked the first time Alicia Keys has served as host for a major award show, and she entered the emceeing arena in star-studded style.
When the superstar took the Grammys stage for her monologue, she was backed by some serious girl power. After speaking about what music has meant to her, she called for her “sisters to come out here,” and was joined by Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga and Jada Pinkett Smith.
Obama received a loud ovation as she spoke about the “Motown records I wore out on the Southside to the ‘Who Run the World’ songs that fueled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story” and Gaga remembered how “they said I was weird, that my look, my choices, my sound that it wouldn’t work. But music told me not to listen to them.”
To round out the intro, the five stars shouted “Who run the world?,” as the crowd yelled back “Girls!” — a nod to Beyonce’s iconic lyric.
Later in the show, Keys told a story about the time she lost a Grammy to John Mayer in 2004, remembering how she “dreamed about winning song of the year for ‘If I Ain’t Got You.'”
“So when my hero Stevie Wonder opened up that card and started to read in braille, I just knew he was going to feel my name,” she continued, before the feed cut to a clip of him reading Mayer’s name for the win. She sang “I ain’t got that Grammy,” and then resumed, “But don’t worry, it’s OK because that story has a really happy ending because John said ‘I agree Alicia, this should’ve been yours’ and he literally broke the Grammy and wrote ‘I Ain’t Got You’ with my name on it and gave it to me. Like look what he did, look!”
She showed off her half of the Grammy to the camera, before Mayer walked on stage and announced their award-sharing “the coolest joint custody agreement in showbiz history,” and put the two halves of the award back together.
In the second half of the show, Keys appeared in a black hat and playing dueling pianos, did covers of songs that she “wishes she’d written,” including Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly,” Juice Wrld’s “Lucid Dreams,” Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable,” Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody,” Drake’s “In My Feelings” and Lauryn Hill’s “Doo-Wop.” She finished the medley with her hit “Empire State of Mind.”