Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for NARAS
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for NARAS
Just when we thought we could rely on you to be reliably explosive from the start, you took a while to get going.
To be fair, the 58th Annual Grammy Awards had multiple forces working against it: The recent deaths of David Bowie, Glenn Frey and Maurice White (tributes are emotional, worthwhile musical events but still a solemn reminder that those revered artists are no longer among the living). Rihanna canceling at the last minute due to illness. A too-fresh burn directed at Taylor Swift from Kanye West that was still smarting. A technical difficulty during Adele's performance (of all the people it could've crapped out on).
So the celebration felt a little...rickety. But it still had its moments, of all shapes and sizes:
1. King Kendrick: Just when we were about to give the night to the oldies-but-goodies (The Eagles and Lionel Richie are legends for a reason, people), the Grammys really kicked off about an hour and a half into the show with Kendrick Lamar's literally incendiary medley of "Alright" and "The Blacker the Berry." Having been lulled into submission early on, we had reluctantly accepted that the Grammys had been operating at about a 6 before Lamar—already a five-time winner at that point—hit the stage with his amazing energy, ferocity and social message. We'd been waiting for that kind of a performance all night!
2. Hamilton Is So money: Speaking of an oldie…try 1776! Lady Gaga's quick-change tribute to David Bowie (we waited futilely for a surprise appearance by Mick Jagger but this ended up being a one-woman show) was a close second but we're pretty sure the most enthusiastic standing ovation of the night came in response to the performance by the cast of the smash-hit musical, later a winner for Best Musical Theater Album. Lin-Manuel Miranda even gave his speech in verse.
So, who's looking forward to the Tonys?!
3. All Day, Every Day: Can we just talk about The Weeknd for a minute? First of all, he had our hearts when he chose to not pull a Leo-Bradley and actually take his girlfriend to a major awards show. He and Bella Hadid were an absolute vision on that red carpet, truly stunning, but then when he took the stage... It turned out he was supposed to be aided by Lauryn Hill, who unapologetically did not show up, but The Weeknd's rendition of a regular-tempo "Can't Feel My Face" and then a stripped-down "In the Night" was pure early, classic Michael Jackson (he even threw in a few moves). But apparently we were listening through souped-up earbuds, because...
How you look after watching one of The Weeknd's live performances and someone says he is the next Michael Jackson pic.twitter.com/5xR1OzXHji— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) February 16, 2016
Let's just say, Twitter pounced on the performance. Maybe we liked it when Michael Jackson sounded fragile and shaky...? Ah well, the pop-R&B star still won two Grammys. Wy to go, Weeknd.
4. Water Under the Bridge: Who are we kidding? Adele not sounding perfect has to have been one of the more shocking moments during the broadcast for most people. There were only about 8 seconds of issues altogether, but such is the interminable nature of bum notes. A few bars into "All I Ask" the sound cut out on the telecast and then we heard Adele make noises we'd never heard her make before. "The piano mics fell on to the piano strings, that's what the guitar sound was," the British songbird tweeted after the show. "It made it sound out of tune. S--t happens." She added cheekily, "Because of it though…I'm treating myself to an In N Out. So maybe it was worth it."
As if it made any difference. Come back next year to watch her scoop up at least three Grammys for 29.
5. Taylor Gets the Last Word: Or she at least made that jerk sorry. Any indignation over "To Pimp a Butterfly's" loss in the Album of the Year category to 1989 was quickly put on the back burner when Swift—now the first female artist to have two Album of the Year Grammys—used the opportunity to stick it to Kanye West for his profane boast about making her famous in his new tune "Famous." "I want to say to all the young women out there, there are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame," she said pointedly in her acceptance speech. "But if you just focus on the work and you don't let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you're going, you'll look around and you'll know it was you, and the people who love you, who put you there. And that will be the greatest feeling in the world. Thank you for this moment."
Then "Uptown Funk" won Record of the Year and Pitbull performed, but that was the real finale of the night.