Cardi B made history on Sunday night as the first solo woman to ever win Best Rap Album at the Grammy Awards (Lauryn Hill won in 1996, but when she was part of the group The Fugees).
Meanwhile, regular visitor to the UAE Dua Lipa won Best New Artist while female singer-songwriter St Vincent also won the award for best rock song on the night.
The big award – album of the year – went to country star Kacey Musgraves for Golden Hour.
Meanwhile, it was Childish Gambino's moving and political This is America that won Song of the Year.
Although they didn't win anything at the 61st Grammy Awards, BTS caused an absolute Twitter storm when they became the first South Korean artists to ever appear onstage at a Grammy ceremony. They presented the award for Best R&B album, which went to H.E.R.
Drake surprised the music world on Sunday when he emerged on the Grammy Awards stage to accept the best rap song trophy but told the room of musicians that winning awards isn't necessary if you have real fans attending your concerts and singing your songs.
Drake, who rarely attends awards shows, won the honour for his massive hit God's Plan.
"You've already won if you have people who are singing your songs word for word, if you're a hero in your home town," he said at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. "Look, if there are people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain and 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."
Rap has endured a longtime losing streak at the Grammys. The last time a rapper won album of the year was in 2004, when Outkast took the honour. Only a handful of rappers have won best new artist.
Surprise appearance from former first lady
The Grammys began with a group of powerful women, including Michelle Obama and Lady Gaga, describing the role of music in their lives – a display that came a year after female voices were somewhat muted at the 2018 ceremony.
"Music has always helped me tell my story," said Obama, who surprised the audience with her appearance. "Whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves. It allows us to hear one another."
Lady Gaga told the crowd: "They said I was weird, that my look, that my choices, that my sound wouldn't work. But music told me not to listen to them."
Jada Pinkett Smith and Jennifer Lopez also spoke and stood in solidarity with Obama, Lady Gaga and Alicia Keys, who is hosting the show.
"Yes, ladies," Keys said. "There's nothing better than this."
The opening contrasted with last year's Grammys, where male acts dominated in nominations and the only woman competing for the top award, Lorde, didn't get a chance to perform onstage.
But this year, Lady Gaga, Brandi Carlile and Kacey Musgraves won three Grammys each.
Carlile took four honours on the night – three in the Americana category and album of the year.
Lady Gaga also won three, including best pop duo/group performance, a win she shared with Bradley Cooper.
Lady Gaga, now a nine-time Grammy winner, won best pop solo performance for Joanne, while hit Shallow, from A Star is Born, was named best song written for visual media. The song is nominated for an Oscar and also won at the Golden Globes, Critics' Choice Movie Awards and the Satellite Awards.
Women had a strong presence in the top categories. Five of the eight album-of-the-year nominees were women, including Carlile's By the Way, I Forgive You, Janelle Monae's Dirty Computer, Cardi B's Invasion of Privacy, Musgraves's Golden Hour, and H.E.R.'s self-titled album was also in contention.
Six of the best-new-artist nominees were women, including H.E.R., Chloe x Halle, Margo Price, Dua Lipa, Bebe Rexha and Jorja Smith.
When asked about the lack of women in the top categories at the 2018 Grammys, Recording Academy chief executive Neil Portnow said women need to "step up". He later acknowledged that it was a "poor choice of words", and his much-criticised remarks forced the academy to launch a new task force focused on inclusion and diversity.
Country music has a moment
Musgraves picked up best country album for Golden Hour, best country solo performance for Butterflies and best country song for Space Cowboy.
"I never dreamed that this record would be met with such love," she said onstage.
She also gave a shout-out to her husband in the audience, saying she wouldn't have been able to make the album if he "didn't open my heart like you did".
Musgraves performed Rainbow from Golden Hour during the show, and hit the stage for a second time to honour Dolly Parton. Musgraves and Katy Perry joined forces for Here You Come Again, later joined by Parton herself. The star sang a duet version of Jolene with Miley Cyrus, who often covers the classic song. But the country music star truly shined when she sang Red Shoes, with country foursome Little Big Town providing background vocals.
Diana Ross earned a standing ovation when she emerged onstage in a bright red dress to perform Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand) and The Best Years of My Life. She celebrated her 75th birthday early with the performance, saying afterwards, "Happy birthday to me!" Her actual birthday is March 26.
R&B singer H.E.R., who won best R&B performance for Best Part with Daniel Caesar, stunned as she played her guitar and sang. Monae grooved onstage during Make Me Feel, backed by several dancers. Post Malone performed with Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Cardi B danced onstage during her latest single, Money.
Ariana Grande won her first Grammy in the same week that she publicly blasted Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich and accused him of lying about why she was no longer performing at the show.
"I know I'm not there tonight (trust, I tried and still truly wished it had worked out tbh) and I know I said I try not to put too much weight into these things ... but ... this is wild and beautiful," she tweeted after learning about her win.
Tori Kelly and Lauren Daigle won two awards each. Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Ella Mai, Pharrell Williams, Hugh Jackman, Stingy, Shaggy, Dave Chappelle, "Weird Al" Yankovic, the late Chris Cornell, Greta Van Fleet and even former US president Jimmy Carter also picked up early awards ahead of the live show.
There was a tie for best rap performance, and Drake was surprisingly not one of the winners. Drake's Nice for What lost to Anderson Paak's Bubblin' and Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future and James Blake's King's Dead, from the Black Panther soundtrack.
Beck was a double winner during the pre-telecast, taking home best alternative music album and best engineered album (non-classical) for Colors. Emily Lazar, one of the engineers who worked on the album and won alongside Beck, said onstage that she was the first female mastering engineer to win in the latter category.
A list of top winners at the 61st annual Grammy Awards
Album of the Year: Kacey Musgraves's Golden Hour
Record of the year: This is America by Childish Gambino
Best new artist: Dua Lipa
Best rap album: Invasion of Privacy by Cardi B
Best rap song: God's Plan by Drake
Best country album: Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves
Song of the year: This Is America by Childish Gambino and Ludwig Goransson
Best pop duo/group performance: Shallow by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
Best pop vocal album: Sweetener by Ariana Grande
Best pop solo performance: Lady Gaga's Joanne (Where Do You Think You're Goin'?)
Best R&B album: H.E.R. by H.E.R.
Best R&B song: Boo'd Up by Ella Mai, DJ Mustard, Larrance Dopson and Joelle James
Best R&B performance: Best Part by H.E.R. featuring Daniel Caesar
Producer of the year, non-classical: Pharrell Williams
Best rap performance: (tie) King's Dead by Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future and James Blake, and Bubblin by Anderson.Paak
Best rap/sung performance: Childish Gambino's This Is America
Best music video: Childish Gambino's This Is America
Best urban contemporary album: Everything Is Love by The Carters
Best traditional pop vocal album: Willie Nelson's My Way
Best rock song: Masseduction by St. Vincent
Best rock album: From the Fires by Greta Van Fleet
Best rock performance: When Bad Does Good by Chris Cornell
Best dance recording: Electricity by Silk City and Dua Lipa featuring Diplo and Mark Ronson
Best country song: Space Cowboy, Kacey Musgraves (Luke Laird, Shane McAnally and Kacey Musgraves)
Best reggae album: 44/876 by Sting & Shaggy
Best country solo performance: Kacey Musgraves' Butterflies
Best duo/group country performance: Dan + Shay's Tequila
Best jazz vocal album: The Window by Cecile McLorin Salvant
Best alternative music album: Colors, Beck
Best comedy album: Equanimity & the Bird Revelation, Dave Chappelle
Best Latin pop album: Claudia Brant's Sincera
Best spoken word album: Jimmy Carter's Faith — A Journey for All
Best folk album: Punch Brothers' All Ashore
Best contemporary Christian music album: Lauren Daigle's Look Up Child
Best musical theatre album: The Band's Visit
Best American roots song: Brandi Carlile's The Joke
Best American roots performance: Brandi Carlile's The Joke
Best Americana album: Brandi Carlile's By the Way, I Forgive You
Best gospel album: Tori Kelly's Hiding Place
Best contemporary Christian music performance/song: Lauren Daigle's You Say
Best world music album: Soweto Gospel Choir's Freedom
Best compilation soundtrack for visual media: The Greatest Showman
Best score soundtrack for visual media: Black Panther
Best song written for visual media: Shallow from A Star Is Born
Best traditional blues album: Buddy Guy's The Blues Is Alive and Well
Best music film: Quincy Jones' Quincy
Best boxed or special limited edition package: Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of 'Weird Al' Yankovic