The hearts of every Celine Dion fan who felt the music icon was snubbed as she handed Taylor Swift her album of the year prize at the 2024 Grammys can go on.
After she seemingly snubbed the My Heart Will Go On singer onstage, Swift showed there was no bad blood between the two as they shared a loving embrace after the show ended.
Dion, who is battling stiff-person syndrome, surprised viewers when she handed out the night’s final prize.
“When I say that I’m happy to be here I really mean it from my heart,” Dion, 55, said after making her way to the podium to her hit song The Power of Love (which Swift was captured on TV standing and singing along to).
“Those who have been blessed enough to be here,” the five-time Grammy winner continued, “must never take for granted the tremendous love and joy that music brings to our lives and to people all around the world … Now it gives me great joy to present a Grammy Award that two legends — Diana Ross and Sting — presented to me 27 years ago.”
But Grammy viewers reacted with anger after Swift, 34, didn’t acknowledge Dion, repeatedly looking over at her team and ignoring the Canadian pop superstar as she accepted the award for 2022’s Midnights.
“Taylor Swift just took the album of the year trophy from Celine Dion without batting an eye and/or acknowledging that a legend was handing her the award. So cringey for my soul,” one person on X wrote alongside video of the exchange.
“Taylor Swift will never EVER live down ignoring Celine Dion at the Grammys,” another person seethed.
One person shared a clip from The Office of Kelly Kapoor saying, “How dare you?” and wrote: “Taylor Swift not acknowledging Celine Dion, a legend, at the #grammys, but dragging (singer) Lana (Del Rey) to that stage? smh.”
“Okay but Taylor Swift waiting and ignoring Celine Dion is a crime? NOT HUGGING HER AND JUST TAKING THE TROPHY? WHAT?!” a fourth person tweeted.
One watcher at home called the moment a huge letdown.
“My biggest disappointment of the Grammys was Taylor Swift winning album of the year and hugging all of her people but taking the trophy from Celine Dion as if she was the hat-check girl, and not seeming to realize how very amazing it was that Celine was standing there at all.”
But several viewers defended Swift, saying she might not have hugged Dion because of her illness.
“Are you all ignoring the fact that she gave Celine a standing ovation when she came onstage and was singing/dancing to her song?” one person asked those who were quick to call out Swift’s apparent snub. “Are you also ignoring that Celine is in bad health and Taylor didn’t know if she was allowed to hug her? … Gimme a break. You’re all looking for any way possible to discredit her. It’s old and boring.”
Watching it back, we think Swift was likely caught up in the history-making moment. After taking home album of the year, the Anti-Hero singer broke the record for most wins in the category with four.
Dion and Swift were photographed smiling and embracing one another backstage after the show ended. The Today Show shared a snap taken by celebrity photographer Kevin Mazur captioning it: “Icons only!!!!”
Earlier in the night, Swift used her 13th Grammy win to announce she’ll release a new album, The Tortured Poets Department, on April 19.
“I know that the way that the Recording Academy voted is a direct reflection of the passion of the fans,” she said while accepting the Best Pop Vocal Album award. “So, I want to say thank you to the fans by telling you a secret that I’ve been keeping from you for the last two years.”
With her Album of the Year win, Swift pushes past Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder, who each won the prize three times.
“I would love to tell you that this is the best moment in my life. But I feel this happy when I’ve finished a song or when I’ve cracked the code to a bridge that I love or when I’m shot listing a music video, or when I’m rehearsing with my dancers or my band or getting ready to go to Tokyo to play a show,” Swift said accepting the award.
“For me, the award is the work,” she continued. “All I want to do is keep being able to do this.”
Although rumours had swirled on social media that she might show up in some capacity, Dion’s appearance on the broadcast came as a surprise to her legion of fans as she continues to battle stiff-person syndrome, an incurable and rare neurological condition that causes severe and persistent muscle spasms that can strike without notice.
“She’s working hard, but she doesn’t have control over her muscles. What breaks my heart is that she’s always been disciplined,” Dion’s sister Claudette recently told the French-language site 7 Jours. “She’s always worked hard. Our mother always told her, ‘You’re going to do it well, you’re going to do it properly.’”
After cancelling her world tour last year, Claudette added that Dion’s goal is still to return to the stage to perform live in front of her fans, but acknowledged that no one in her family yet knows if and when that will ever happen.
“It’s true that in both our dreams and hers, the goal is to return to the stage,” she said. “In what capacity? I don’t know.”
Dion recently announced she’ll release an upcoming Amazon documentary to shed light on her illness.
“This last couple of years has been such a challenge for me, the journey from discovering my condition to learning how to live with and manage it, but not to let it define me,” Dion said in a statement. “As the road to resuming my performing career continues, I have realized how much I have missed it, of being able to see my fans. During this absence, I decided I wanted to document this part of my life, to try to raise awareness of this little-known condition, to help others who share this diagnosis.”
Other surprises Sunday night included Tracy Chapman joining country singer Luke Combs for a duet of her 1988 song Fast Car, Joni Mitchell singing Both Sides Now in her first-ever Grammys performance, Billy Joel playing his first new song in 30 years, a surprise arrest (Killer Mike ended up in police custody before the main Grammys ceremony began because of an altercation), and Jay-Z’s indictment of the awards show for failing to honour his wife Beyonce with a best album prize despite her winning 32 overall Grammys.
“When I get nervous,” he said, “I tell the truth.”