Beyonce's latest Grammy Awards outing is another bittersweet experience for the artist.
While the four wins on Sunday night made her the most awarded artist in the ceremony's history, with an overall tally of 32 trophies, those impressive numbers disguise some equally glaring facts.
Beyonce has yet to win the award’s twin marquee prizes: Album of the Year and Record of the Year, despite being nominated for both categories four and six times respectively.
This year, UK singer Harry Styles won Album of the Year for Harry’s House and Lizzo picked up Record of the Year for her viral hit About Damn Time.
Such a result can only add to growing frustration from Beyonce and her ardent fans at coming close to the prizes for so long and failing.
The hits and misses
Beyonce's Grammys history is as notable for wins as losses.
In 2001, the Grammys said her name for the first time when former group Destiny's Child won trophies for Best RnB Song and Best RnB Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
Three years later, Beyonce stepped up to the podium as a solo artist when her debut album Dangerously in Love gathered five Grammy awards, including Best Contemporary RnB Album and Best RnB Song for lead single Crazy in Love.
Her first major setback arrived in 2006 when Destiny's Child returned home empty-handed after four nominations.
Beyonce bounced back fiercely with solo albums B'Day and I Am... Sasha Fierce winning Best Contemporary RnB Album in 2007 and 2010 respectively.
While finally landing her first and only trophy for Song of the Year in 2010 with Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It), she went on to endure a series of disappointments with singer-songwriters Beck and Adele winning Album of the Year in 2015 and 2017 respectively.
Worryingly for the Grammy Awards organisers and, perhaps, uncomfortable for Beyonce herself, peers are becoming cognisant of these mounting losses, with some including consolatory tributes to Beyonce in their acceptance speeches.
On Sunday, Lizzo addressed her from the podium and declared “you changed my life”.
In 2017, Adele expressed her own shock after her blockbuster release 25 pipped Beyonce’s Lemonade for Album of the Year.
“I can’t possibly accept this award,” she said. “The artist of my life is Beyonce, and this album for me, the Lemonade album, was so monumental.”
In it to win it
With such a burgeoning trophy cabinet, does the absence of a few extra Grammy gongs dent Beyonce’s legacy?
The answer is simply: yes.
Top-tier artists of her ilk don’t enter the industry to win awards for genre and format-specific categories such as Best Dance/Electronic Album and Best Song Written For Visual Media.
Nearly all of Beyonce’s solo albums, from the state-of-the-art production and eclectic songwriting arrangements to the painstaking imagery, are grand and conceptual affairs heard by the masses.
Competition always underscored the Grammy Awards, which pits everything against one another from record labels and genres to the artist themselves.
For an example, look no further than the night’s glaring absence.
Canadian pop star The Weeknd has boycotted the ceremony for the second year running, after his big-selling album After Hours failed to receive a single nomination for the 2021 awards.
Aside from the Recording Academy tightening up the award selection process — something which it did in response to The Weeknd controversy — and Beyonce's team mounting a more effective industry campaign in the future, there is, perhaps, really only one thing she can do to win a major Grammy next time.
And that’s heading back to the recording studio with extra fire in her steps.
It is a process that created one of the Grammy Awards' biggest-winning albums.
After Michael Jackson's Off the Wall generated big sales and critical acclaim, and yet did not win Record of the Year in 1980, he told his manager, John Branca, that this was "totally unfair" and that it could "never happen again".
Four years later, his follow-up album, Thriller, went on to win a record-breaking eight Grammys.