Normally, someone merely showing up to accept a trophy he’s earned doesn’t count as the shock of the night at any awards show. So give Drake credit for having the cachet to pull off the biggest surprise of the Grammys Sunday night just by actually appearing to pick up his trophy for best rap song for “God’s Plan.”
But he was cut off during his speech right after a pause and saying “But…,” leading viewers to speculate whether show producers deliberately gave him the yank — amid some mild shade he was throwing at the very idea of awards shows — or whether they just figured he’d wrapped up.
At nearly the two-hour point of the show, country duo Dan + Shay seemed ebullient when they announced Drake’s name as winner for best rap song. Right when everyone was thinking someone should tell them to calm down and accept on the absentee’s behalf, there was Drake, emerging from under the stage, as if he’d shot himself to the Staples Center from Canada in a high-speed tunnel upon hearing his name.
Gracious and grateful as he seemed, Drake was not about to let past perceived snubs at this and other awards shows go completely un-alluded to. (He’s also made a point of avoiding Canada’s Junos, after going unrewarded on that show, even as he hosted it.)
He called it “the first time in Grammy history where I actually am who I thought I was for a second, so I like that.” He asked “the kids watching, those aspiring to do music, and all my peers that make music from their heart, that do things pure and tell the truth” to “know we play in an opinion-based sport, not a factual-based sport. It is not the NBA… This is a business where sometimes it is up to a bunch of people that might not understand what a mixed race kid from Canada has to say… or a brother from Houston right there, my brother Travis. You’ve already won if you have people who are singing your songs word for word, if you are a hero in your hometown. If there is people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain, in the snow, spending their hard-earned money to buy tickets to come to your shows, you don’t need this right here, I promise you, you already won.”
And then, mid-sentence, the show cut to commercial, leading to a groan in the media room that could probably be heard all the way into the arena, where Drake was presumably still finishing his eloquent speech. Coming back to the press room after the segment, presenters Dan + Shay seemed unaware Drake had been cut short. Whether he knew or not, Drake wasn’t in a hurry to leave; he was seen later bopping to a performance by pal Travis Scott.
After the show, a representative for the Grammys clarified to reporters that producers did not intentionally cut off Drake but were under the impression that he had finished his speech.
“During Drake’s speech, there was a natural pause and at that moment the producers did assume that he was done and then cut to commercial,” said the rep. “However the producers did speak with Drake following his speech and did offer him to come back on stage to finish whatever his thoughts were. But Drake said he was happy with what he said and didn’t have anything to add.”