LOS ANGELES (REUTERS, AFP) - Lady Gaga, the Black Panther soundtrack, and folk singer Brandi Carlile took home early Grammy awards on Sunday (Feb 10) ahead of a female-flavoured telecast hosted by R&B singer Alicia Keys.
Gaga's hit song Shallow from the movie A Star Is Born took the Grammy for best song written for visual media, while her song Joanne (Where Do You Think You're Going) won for pop solo performance.
Gaga, who is to perform later on Sunday, said on Twitter she was "in tears with honour and gratitude".
"I'm not gonna be able to wear any makeup tonight," she tweeted.
Carlile, 37, took home three early trophies, two for her Americana music single The Joke and another for her album By the Way, I Forgive You.
An absent Ariana Grande, who pulled out of the Grammys show last week after a dispute with producers, won her first Grammy best pop vocal album for Sweetener.
Just days before the event, she slammed the ceremony’s producer for “lying” about her decision not to perform on music’s biggest night.
Grande’s Grammy comes after six career nominations and she tweeted on Sunday: “i know i’m not there tonight (trust, i tried and still truly wished it had worked out tbh) and i know i said i try not to put too much weight into these things .... but (...) this is wild and beautiful. thank you so much.”
The soundtrack for superhero movie Black Panther took best score for visual media, while Childish Gambino's searing This Is America, about police brutality and racism, won the best music video trophy.
Gambino, the alter ego of actor Donald Glover, was one of several influential stars who were no shows at the biggest night in music.
Leading nominees Kendrick Lamar, who produced the Black Panther soundtrack, and Canadian rapper Drake will also be absent in what is seen as a snub by the three rappers of an awards show that has often shut hip-hop artists out of its top prizes, despite rap's dominance as the biggest music genre in the United States.
Cardi B, who will perform later on Sunday, could break that trend and take home not only her first ever Grammy but potentially become the first rapper since 2004 to win the coveted album of the year award for her Invasion Of Privacy.
Only two albums by hip-hop artists have ever won the album of the year Grammy - Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in 1999, and Outkast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below in 2004 Rappers Post Malone (Beerbongs & Bentleys) and Drake's best-seller Scorpion are also vying for the top prize.
Janelle Monae's Dirty Computer, country singer Kacey Musgraves' Golden Hour, Carlile's By The Way, I Forgive You, newcomer H.E.R's self-titled H.E.R., and the Black Panther soundtrack round out contenders for album of the year.
Grammy organisers this year expanded the top four categories - album, record, song of the year, and best new artist - to eight nominees from five in a bid to diversify the contest.
Meanwhile grunge rocker Chris Cornell, who died in May 2017 at age 52, won a posthumous Grammy for Best Rock Performance.
Cornell won for his haunting When Bad Does Good, beating a field that included the Arctic Monkeys and rising retro rockers Greta Van Fleet.
The song was included in a box set of his work released last year.
“His voice was his vision and his music was his peace,” his daughter Toni said while accepting the trophy along with her brother.
Cornell was found hanging in his hotel room in Detroit early on May 18, 2017 after a show with his main band Soundgarden. The medical examiner called the death a suicide.
Cornell’s wife disputed the finding, saying the singer – who had recovered a decade earlier from long-time drug and alcohol problems – had shown no suicidal inclinations and that his judgment may have been impaired by an anti-anxiety prescription drug.
His family sued a Beverly Hills doctor over the dispute, saying Cornell had been “negligently and repeatedly” prescribed mind-altering controlled substances in the years leading up to his death.
Sunday's show will include performances by Diana Ross, Miley Cyrus, Post Malone, Dolly Parton, Janelle Monae, Shawn Mendes, Katy Perry, Ricky Martin and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
There will also be a tribute to the late Aretha Franklin, who died last August.