Well, for better or worse, the Grammys happened last night.
Let’s take a run down of the biggest moments, shall we?
Taylor Swift started off the program with a safe, almost rehearsed to death performance of “Out of the Woods.” Had I flicked on the channel prior to hearing the Grammys were on, I would have thought it was a clip from her 1989 World Tour. Somehow, the singer cleaned up with 3 (undeserved) awards for Album of the Year, Best Music Video and Pop Vocal Album.
One of the best moments of the night: Tori Kelly reacting to Taylor winning Album of the Year:
1989 was a solid album that certainly delivered us with some memorable moments (“Shake It Off,” “Blank Space,” “Style” among them) but was far from the true definition of Album of the Year. Much like BEYONCÉ last year, To Pimp A Butterfly was robbed (but more on that later).
Not sure what was up with the sound during the telecast, because several of the performances, Sam Hunt & Carrie Underwood, The Weeknd and Justin Bieber sounded really awful. Adele, who is usually untouchable when it comes to her vocals, sounded extremely off-key during her performance of “All I Ask.” Rihanna completely opted out of her performance of “Kiss It Better” due to an illness, while Lauryn Hill didn’t show up citing that it was of the “last minute nature.” She was set to accompany The Weeknd.
The less said about Meghan Trainor… the better. Following an incredibly pitchy performance during her part in the Lionel Richie tribute, she collected Best New Artist. Thanks to a loophole in the awards rule, she was allowed to compete despite being nominated last year for “All About That Bass.” Tori Kelly was far and away the best nominee, and should have won. But Trainor’s Title spawned several hits, to our displeasure, while Kelly’s singles floundered on the charts despite a big push from her label.
The moment that everyone was talking about, and will continue to be talking about, was Kendrick Lamar’s performance. What is there to say that hasn’t already been said? Electric. Dynamic. Legendary. Though I find it insulting that CBS would censor the lyric concerning the police, Lamar topped his jaw dropping performance with Imagine Dragons from a few years ago. I’m sure many will come out in opposition against him, like they did with Beyoncé, and look all the more foolish for doing so.
I only wish he won for Album and Song of the year.. especially for the former. To Pimp A Butterfly was a massive achievement that blended several genres of music into one massive listening experience. It wasn’t just the best rap album, but the best album of the voting period. 1989 was not barrier breaking, nor was it revolutionary. Though touted as a “game-changer” for Swift as her first official pop album, it was more or less what we’ve come to expect from from her, with some sleak new production from Max Martin.
Similarly amazing was Lady Gaga, who performed a tribute to the late David Bowie.
Not sure what Gaga’s been drinking lately, but she has brought it to every single live performance since her Sound of Music tribute at the Oscars last year. Though the tribute was less cohesive and more spread out than Lamar’s, it was certainly a highlight, and one that I’m sure people will be talking about for awhile. Other performances highlights include The Alabama Shakes, Andra Day and Miguel.
Sadly, Beyoncé did not drop her album, but she did look incredible (no surprise), so at least she served us something, even if it was only a look.
Read the full list of winners below-
Album of the Year: Taylor Swift, 1989
Song of the Year: Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”
Record of the Year: Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
Best New Artist: Meghan Trainor
Best Pop Solo Performance: Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: Tony Bennett and Bill Charlap, The Silver Linings: The Songs of Jerome Kern
Best Pop Vocal Album: Taylor Swift, 1989
Best Dance Recording: Skrillex & Diplo, Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü
Best Rap Performance: Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: Kendrick Lamar feat. Bilal, Anna Wise & Thundercat, “These Walls”
Best Rap Song: Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Best Rap Album: Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterfly
Best Country Solo Performance: Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”
Best Country Duo/Group Performance: Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
Best Country Song: Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
Best Country Album: Chris Stapleton, Traveller
Best Rock Performance: Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”
Best Metal Performance: Ghost, “Cirice”
Best Rock Song: Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”
Best Rock Album: Muse, Drones
Best Alternative Album: Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color
Best R&B Performance: The Weeknd, “Earned It”
Best Traditional R&B Performance: Lalah Hathaway, “Little Ghetto Boy”
Best R&B Song: D’Angelo, “Really Love”
Best Urban Contemporary Album: The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness
Best R&B Album: D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
Best Score Written for Visual Media: Antonio Sanchez, Birdman
Best Song Written for Visual Media: Common & John Legend, “Glory”