Best new artist Alessia Cara was the only woman to receive her own award during the telecast, and Lorde, the sole woman to earn an album of the year nomination, was not invited to perform her own music.
Monae also highlighted the huge year for women at the Grammys: Five of the eight album of the year nominees are women, and six of the eight best new artist contenders are female acts. Other performers include Brandi Carlile, Miley Cyrus, H.E.R., Janelle Monae, Kacey Musgraves, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Dan + Shay.
The three-and-a-half hour extravaganza will feature performances from nominees Chloe X Halle, Grammy-winner Lady Gaga (choosing this over the Bafta film awards), fellow victor Mark Ronson and Grammy nominee Travis Scott fresh off his performance at Super Bowl LIII.
"I've got nothing to say, I'm speechless", she said.
Alicia Keys is set to host the Grammys this year.More news: Franks scores 34 again, Washington State beats Arizona 69-55
Dave Chappelle and "Weird Al" Yankovic picked up early awards ahead of the live show, which was scheduled to kick off at 8 p.m.
This year's nominees mark a departure from the 2018 Grammys, where Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow was criticized when he said women need to "step up" when asked about the lack of women in the top categories.
Untouchable pop 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, suggested he was "lying" about her readiness.
"You can't assume someone will win just because their song or their album was incredibly popular".
Ehrlich told the AP that Grande "felt it was too late for her to pull something together". "I am such a misfit", she said.More news: Burn Injuries From Viral Boiling Water Challenge Sending People To The Hospital
"It was when my creativity & self-expression was stifled by you that i decided not to attend".
Grande is nominated for two awards and could miss the chance of giving a speech onstage if she wins. The nominations are dominated by Drake and Kendrick Lamar, with eight and seven nods, respectively. Taylor Swift, who was snubbed and scored one nomination, also won't be at the show.
Some complained that a black artist should be involved in the tribute, while others said stronger vocalists should perform over Lopez.
The Grammys are in even worse shape than the Oscars when it comes to figuring out ratings and appeal, and face a continued low-key boycott from music's biggest names on account of an ongoing problem with representation across nominations.
She vowed this year's performances would be the "sickest" yet and feature of-the-moment stars like Lady Gaga and Cardi B as well as icons like country legend Dolly Parton and disco icon Diana Ross, who will take the stage for a Motown tribute. Yolanda Adams, Fantasia and Andra Day will honor the late Aretha Franklin with a performance.More news: Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar expected to join 2020 Dem race