Dua Lipa, who just two years earlier was anointed best new artist at the Grammys, took the stage like a well-established queen on Sunday’s telecast with a performance that matched together her two biggest 2020 hits, “Don’t Start Now” and “Levitating” — and joined her with one of hip-hop’s reigning stars, DaBaby.
The two-song medley included not one, not two, but three wardrobe changes as Lipa transformed from a purple gown to a sequined jacket to a stylish two-piece. The singer and her masked dancers were matching in glittering, purple attire in front of a background that transitioned from a cloudy sky to solar eclipse to full moon.
DaBaby did not have to settle for mere “featured” status on the telecast; he’d appeared minutes earlier as the headliner of a performance slot that had him joined by Roddy Ricch on “Rockstar.”
Unlike her competitor in several categories, Taylor Swift, Lipa has performed publicly a good deal behind her album of the year contender “Future Nostalgia,” possibly upping the ante in some fans’ minds for how she would go beyond the TV and livestream performances they’ve already seen.
Lipa had recently been seen doing two highly choreographed numbers on “Saturday Night Live.” In December, she took the lead with one of the most high-profile pay-per-view livestreams of the pandemic era in a “Studio 2054” webcast from London. That production was said to have cost $1.5 million and brought in an estimated 5 million viewers.
Lipa went into the Grammys this year nominated in six categories, establishing herself as a front-runner by being the only artist to be up for album, record and song.