Céline Dion presented Taylor Swift with the award for album of the year at the Grammys on Sunday.
People online criticized Swift for not acknowledging or greeting Dion when she accepted the award.
They were later photographed together, which one Hollywood pundit claims was "damage control."
Music's biggest night concluded with a surprise appearance from Céline Dion and a historic win for Taylor Swift. But the moment has been slightly overshadowed by online speculation of a rift between the two singers.
Dion and Swift were among the attendees at the 66th Grammy Awards, which took place on Sunday at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles and was hosted by Trevor Noah.
The musicians crossed paths onstage at the end of the show, in an interaction that some called awkward. Here's everything to know about what went down.
Céline Dion made a rare public appearance at the Grammys to present the award for album of the year
Dion won the same award in 1997 for "Falling Into You."
The legendary singer has mostly stayed out of the spotlight since announcing in December 2022 that she was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called stiff-person syndrome. Dion said the condition causes spasms, difficulty walking, and issues with her vocal cords. She also canceled the remaining dates of her Courage World Tour.
Her sister, Claudette Dion, provided an update in September, saying that the "All by Myself'" singer was "doing everything to recover."
Most recently, a Prime Video documentary about Dion's life and experience with stiff-person syndrome was announced, titled "I Am: Céline Dion."
As Dion walked onto the stage to present the final award of the night, while escorted by her son René-Charles Angélil, audience members applauded and gave her a standing ovation. The camera also cut to Swift, who was out of her seat clapping, dancing, and singing along to "The Power of Love."
The outpouring of support didn't go unnoticed by Dion.
"When I say, I'm happy to be here, I really mean it, from my heart," she said. "Those who have been blessed enough to be here at the Grammy Awards must never take for granted the tremendous love and joy that music brings to our lives and people all around the world."
Swift didn't acknowledge Dion when she accepted the award, resulting in backlash online
Swift's "Midnights" nabbed the Grammy for album of the year, marking her fourth win in the category — a record-breaking feat. She previously won album of the year for "Fearless," "1989," and "Folklore."
After Swift got to the stage to accept the award, she hugged the producer Jack Antonoff, her friend and fellow Grammy-nominee Lana Del Rey, and the sound engineer Laura Sisk. While taking the trophy from Dion, Swift's head was turned toward her collaborators in surprise over the win.
"I would love to tell you that this is the best moment in my life," she said. "But I feel this happy when I finish a song or when I 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 added: "For me, the award is the work. All I want to do is keep being able to do this. I love it so much. It makes me so happy."
She was likely overwhelmed and distracted by the win — but that didn't stop people from calling her "disrespectful" for not properly greeting Dion.
"Taylor Swift receives her Grammy from the GOAT Celine Dion and she doesn't even make eye contact with her. Disrespectful," @Knesix wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
"Taylor not even acknowledging Celine Dion is not sitting right with my spirit. Girl, that is CELINE DION," @blackboywrites said.
"I don't think Taylor meant it in a cruel way, but yes, it's awkward and not a good look for her. Celine is indeed Queen," @veganmoviesnob wrote.
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.
— Beverley Smith (@BevSmithWrites) February 5, 2024
not trying to be hater but being handed a Grammy by Celine Dion in her very triumphant first public appearance in a long time and barely making eye contact insane
— adam (@adamjmoussa) February 5, 2024
not only is celine a legend that should be acknowledged on ANY day, she also hasn’t been to an event in awhile because she has a debilitating disease… like ????? show some respect
— Kathleen Newman-Bremang (@KathleenNB) February 5, 2024
Swift's fans came to her defense and said that perhaps the "Karma" singer was trying to be sensitive to Dion's health condition. They also said that the singer was often unfairly judged and scrutinized.
"I think it's kinda crazy that despite going out of her way to clap and stand up for everyone, including Celine and everyone she lost to, Taylor has to be scolded for not doing the exact right thing in an overwhelming moment," @HuffleBoy wrote.
Did Taylor Swift disrespect or snub Celine Dion? No.
Was she clearly distracted by someone behind her at the exact moment Celine Dion handed her the award? 100000%.
Stop overanalyzing her every move looking for proof that she should be hated because you already don’t like her.
— Alex Goldschmidt (@alexandergold) February 5, 2024
The two were photographed together backstage afterwards, which one Hollywood pundit called 'damage control'
Swift and Dion were all smiles when the cameras captured them embracing after the biggest award of the night was given out, indicating no bad blood between the pop stars.
But, according to Hollywood pundit Matthew Belloni, the backstage photo was "damage control" for Swift's onstage blunder.
On an episode of the podcast "The Town with Matthew Belloni," released Monday morning, Belloni stated: "I talked to someone who was backstage, and the Taylor camp knew immediately it was a misstep."
He said Swift's team "were scrambling backstage to get a photo of Taylor with Céline Dion, which they promptly put out, and that was damage control for the Céline moment."
He continued: "Traditionally, the PR people will say when you go onstage, 'Make sure you acknowledge the person who is giving you the award.'"
"Taylor typically knows better than to grab the award and try to summon pals to celebrate their big win," he added.
Her misstep aside, Swift had plenty to celebrate at the Grammys. Midnights" landed her awards for album of the year and best pop vocal album. While accepting the latter award earlier in the show, Swift shocked fans by announcing her 11th studio album, "The Tortured Poets Department," which is set for release on April 19.
Representatives for Swift and Dion didn't immediately respond to requests for comment from Business Insider.
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