LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Grammy Awards pre-telecast ceremony opened with a moment of silence for Kobe Bryant.
Interim Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. opened the ceremony where dozens of Grammys are handed out before the main show, telling attendees, “As most of you may know, we lost Kobe Bryant in a tragic helicopter accident today.”
“Since we are in his house, I would ask you to join me in a moment of silence,” Mason said.
Artists arriving at the show reacted to Bryant’s death and his influence.
Blues artist and Grammys nominee Keb’ Mo’ called Bryant’s death “a huge loss.”
“He’s just a huge role model,” Keb’ Mo’ said.
British artist Labrinth said: “It was insane news to hear this morning. He’s been part of my life for a very long time. … I couldn’t believe it.”
Lizzo, Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X are walking into what should be one of the most exciting days of their careers as they attend their first-ever Grammy Awards on Sunday, where they are the top-nominated acts. But 10 days before arguably the biggest night in music, the industry erupted when the Recording Academy announced it had put its recently hired CEO, Deborah Dugan, on administrative leave for misconduct.
Dugan and her lawyers fired back at the academy, claiming that the awards show is rigged. That energy puts a dark cloud over nominees like Lizzo, Eilish and Lil Nas X, breakthrough acts who are competing for top prizes.
The Grammy Awards are being presented Sunday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The main telecast begins at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS.