'Tonight is for Kobe': Lizzo dedicates Grammys to late NBA legend

Agence France Presse

Posted at Jan 27 2020 09:22 AM | Updated as of Jan 27 2020 09:32 AM

Show host Alicia Keys speaks about the passing of NBA basketball player Kobe Bryant (seen on large screen) at the 62nd Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California on January 26, 2020. Mario Anzuoni, Reuters

LOS ANGELES - Top nominee Lizzo kicked off the 2020 Grammys on Sunday with a tribute to the late basketball legend Kobe Bryant, before launching into a rousing medley of her hits.

"Tonight is for Kobe," shouted the 31-year-old, who has already won two awards in the pre-gala event that led into music's marquee night.

Bryant -- a hero for Los Angeles who played for the Lakers in the Staples Center, where the Grammys are being held -- died in a helicopter crash earlier in the day, along with eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter.

Lizzo performs at the 62nd Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California on January 26, 2020. Mario Anzuoni, Reuters

After a glittering performance of "Truth Hurts" and "Cuz I Love You" -- which featured ballerinas, orchestrals and the artist's signature flute skills -- Lizzo passed the torch to Grammy host Alicia Keys who offered another moving tribute to Bryant.

"We're all feeling crazy sadness right now. Earlier today, Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero," she said. 

"And we're literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built," said Keys, before launching into a soulful rendition of "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye" with the group Boyz II Men.

Top contenders at Sunday's glam gala include Lizzo, Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X.