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Grammy organisers this year expanded the top four categories - album, record, song of the year, and best new artist - to eight nominees from five in a bid to diversify the contest.

Childish Gambino's searing "This is America" became the first hip-hop track to win a song of the year Grammy on Sunday, while Lady Gaga dominated the early awards and former US first lady Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance at the event.

Lady Gaga has had an emotional awards season for her film with Bradley Cooper, "A Star Is Born", and the tears began flowing early on Grammy night as the singer took to Twitter Sunday to celebrate both Grammy and BAFTA wins.

Fifteen-time Grammy Award victor Alicia Keys will host the ceremony at the Staples Center in Los Angeles as nominees wait to find out who will take home the win for popular awards like record of the year and album of the year.

Pop mega-star Ariana Grande - who dropped her highly anticipated album "Thank U, Next" just before the Grammys - slammed producer Ken Ehrlich over her decision not to perform, suggesting he was "lying" about her readiness.

Drake accepted his Grammy Award for Best Rap Song by essentially telling the audience at home that awards do not matter, particularly in an opinion-based industry. Her voice sounded absolutely incredible.

Carlile is the most nominated woman with six nominations, including bids for song and record of the year with "The Joke".

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So, he lied to Meghan. "And at the same time, because she's a daughter, she has a lot of sympathy for him", the friend said. The source added, "The next morning when the auto got there [to take him to the airport], he wouldn't get in".

Others set to perform Sunday included Cardi B, Dolly Parton, Lady Gaga, Travis Scott, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Diana Ross, Dan + Shay, H.E.R., Little Big Town, Post Malone and Chloe x Halle. "And I am not hung up on what happens or doesn't happen", she said.

"I'm especially excited for all the incredible women nominated this year!"

This year, 5 of the 8 Album of the Year nominations went to female artists: Cardi B, Carlile, Monae, R&B prodigy H.E.R. and country star Kacey Musgraves.

Unsurprisingly and well-deservedly, Childish Gambino was given best music video for "This Is America".

When asked about the lack of women in the top categories at the 2018 Grammys, Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow said women need to "step up". You've already won if you have people who are singing your songs word for word, if you are a hero in your hometown. He later acknowledged that it was a "poor choice of words", and it forced the academy to launch a new task force focused on inclusion and diversity.

There will also be a tribute to the late Aretha Franklin, who died last August.