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Billie Eilish’s Oscars Performance Included the Most Bittersweet Tribute to Kobe Bryant

Pop’s latest phenom has had a busy start to the new year: First, her night at the Grammys, and now, Billie Eilish’s Oscars 2020 performance can be added to her list of achievements too. Fans of the rising Los Angelino knew they could expect a performance right up Eilish’s loping, left-of-center alley—after all, it’s this very sound that set her apart to win a whopping five Grammys in one night late last month. While the L.A. talent only turned 18 a few months ago, it seems there’s nothing stopping her from stealing the show on film’s biggest night just as she did music’s biggest night. Tonight’s performance at the Oscars just goes to prove so.

Billie Eilish, who made Grammys history as the youngest artist nominated for every top category last month, took to the Dolby Theatre stage on Sunday, Feb. 9 to perform “Yesterday” by none other than The Beatles. Her gentle rendition showed off her raw vocals with little other than piano backing by her brother, Finneas. It was a bittersweet fit for the Oscars as she sang it during the In Memoriam section of the show. As expected, her performance included an homage to a Los Angeles legend gone too soon: Kobe Bryant.

The NBA star, 41, passed on Jan. 26 in a fatal helicopter crash, along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. The Oscars honored the basketball legend with a photo and quote as Billie performed on stage: “Life is too short to get bogged down and be discouraged. You have to keep moving. You have to keep going. Put one foot in front of the other, smile and just keep on rolling,” the quote read.

Billie broke the news of her tribute just ahead of tonight’s performance. “Honored to be performing during the in memoriam segment for the oscars tonight covering a song i’ve always loved,” she wrote on Instagram. Eilish also addressed the former Lakers star’s death on the red carpet ahead of last month’s Grammys, where she told Entertainment Tonight, “God, I mean, I don’t know how to put it. Thought it was fake because how can you not? It really makes you think about a lot of things.”

“It’s hard to talk about. It’s so sudden and so random and, like, his beautiful girl,” she continued. “I have no words. My condolences. I don’t know what to say.”

Billie Eilish & FINNEAS Oscars 2020


Meanwhile, on the Oscars red carpet, Eilish expressed her thoughts over another big performance: The latest Bond theme song. “It’s crazy dude, it’s a life goal for sure,” she said. The young star announced she would perform the theme song for the upcoming James Bond film, No Time to Die, only a few weeks ago.

And with that, she’s making history all over again: Eilish is officially the youngest person to ever write and perform the theme for the beloved franchise, which has seen past theme songs by the likes of Adele and Sam Smith (who later won Oscars for their songs, to boot.) Could Billboard’s woman of the year see an Oscar in her future then, too?

Billie Eilish & FINNEAS Oscars 2020


It’s likely. After all, Eilish was nominated for the Grammys’ “big four” awards and swept the night altogether. With a total of six nominations, Eilish ultimately secured five wins: When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? earned her awards for Best Pop Vocal Album and Album of the Year, whereas her lead single from the album, “Bad Guy,” took home Record of the Year and Song of the Year. All in all, she was also took home a golden gramophone for the emergent category of Best New Artist.

Billie Eilish & FINNEAS Oscars 2020

Rob Latour/Shutterstock.

Billie Eilish & FINNEAS Oscars 2020

Rob Latour/Shutterstock.

The 92nd Academy Awards are broadcasting live from Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre at 8:00 p.m. EST on ABC.


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