Alicia Keys will be back to host the 62nd Grammy Awards, and the recurring gig even came as a surprise to the super-chill recording artist.
“At first I did think last year was a one-time thing but when the opportunity came back around there was no question about returning as host of the Grammy Awards,” the singer-songwriter said in a statement Thursday.
“Last year was such a powerful experience for me. Not only did I feel the love in the room, but I felt it from around the world and it confirmed the healing and unifying power of music.”
The 15-time Grammy Award winner announced her return Thursday in a silly video that threw back to her memorable moments from last year’s show, including her over-the-top outfits. Keys was hailed for her warm hosting abilities and was behind several of the ceremony’s standout moments such as the pleasantly surprised Staples Center audience when she opened the show with former First Lady Michelle Obama and nominee Lady Gaga onstage with her. Keyes later showed off her rhythmic prowess when she nailed a Hazel Scott-inspired dual piano performance.
The reviews of Keys’ Grammys gig were widely positive last year.
“The ‘Girl on Fire’ singer dared to be warm and personable for her hosting debut, veering away from the usual deprecating humor, snack gags and political barbs that often drive major awards shows. She won over a notoriously cool crowd, and she set the tone for the most critically lauded Grammys in recent history,” wrote Times TV critic Lorraine Ali in her review.
“Live from the Staples Center — it’s your cool aunt, Alicia Keys!” added Rolling Stone. “Amid the public feuds, boycotts and shows of Academy power leading up to the annual event, the 15-time Grammy winner countered the music industry’s high drama with a decidedly laid-back approach to her high-profile hosting gig. Keys was certainly there to make friends, generously passing artists compliments like she was passing them joints. She regaled the audience with her own Grammy stories, and seemed perfectly at ease bantering with everyone.”
“Alicia Keys hosting the Alicia Keys Show, held at the Staples Center with an ancillary awards ceremony, dishing a night of heartening Grammys chicken soup between two pianos,” wrote Pitchfork. "... compared to James Corden and LL Cool J’s past skits and flop sweat, she stepped it up.”
Keys had never hosted an awards show until last year and was an unexpected choice to lead the music-filled ceremony that had been previously hosted by rapper LL Cool J and late-night host James Corden. It had been 14 years since a woman was at the helm, and the Recording Academy’s decision to enlist her came on the heels of the Oscars (and later the Emmys) abruptly going host-less after the whole Kevin Hart jokes debacle. (Both shows were surprisingly well-received, given the circumstances.)
“From Best New Artist recipient to Grammy Awards host, Alicia Keys has been a beacon of artistry within the music community for more than two decades,” Recording Academy President and CEO Deborah Dugan said in a statement Thursday. “Last year was a testament to her compelling creativity and we are thrilled that she will return to the Grammy stage as our host. Anything can happen; you don’t want to miss it!”
The Recording Academy will announce the nominees for the 62nd Grammy Awards on Wednesday during a presentation that will be streamed live on grammy.com and the academy’s Facebook and Twitter pages. CBS, the network hosting the Jan. 26 show in Los Angeles, will also carry a simulcast during “CBS This Morning.”