Whether you stayed up until the end or checked Twitter’s clogged feed this morning, last night’s Grammys will not be forgotten easily. James Corden did a wonderful job hosting the night, as none of his jokes seemed too awkward or forced like many hosts’ are. It was a great transition from LL Cool J’s long run as the Grammy host.
In regards to the music, human imperfection, in its most brilliant truth, shone stronger than untouchable celebrity status last night. Below is the breakdown of the Top 5 Best and Top 5 Worst Moments of the 59th Annual Grammy Awards. Summary: 25 bees and a President Agent Orange.
Top 5 Best Moments
5. Beyoncé and her relationship with fertility and motherhood
Beyoncé evidently could not Sasha Fierce in her pregnant state. Somehow, I thought she’d pull it off like the extra strain was nothing, but what viewers got instead was extraordinarily refreshing. Beyoncé’s last big performance was a Lemonade compilation at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards. She slayed, composing the intense, queenly demeanor into a 10-minute performance. It reached the pinnacle of live musical production.
However, the 2017 Grammys got a completely different side of Beyoncé but one that is still present in Lemonade. Lemonade‘s softer, recovering segments are overlooked by Queen Bey’s fierce nature and social messages also in the album. Last night, those tender messages found a place in music’s biggest night. “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles,” both about her family’s recovery since the infidelity, were the central points in her performance. Capes, bodysuits, and “Bow down” were replaced with colorful, flowing dresses adorned by elegant dancers, a golden-clad, mostly-sedentary Queen, and many poetic segments. Art truly took form onstage. Beyoncé’s message was about fertility and motherhood, in tough with the organic nature that is cast away when hearing Lemonade.
I would be lying if I said I like this side of her more than the VMAs’ Sasha Fierce mode. However, as her pregnancy was at the forefront, it seemed suiting. The most refreshing part is that, no matter if she’s glaring, snarling, “Don’t hurt yourself,” or slowly drifting through “Love Drought” smooth backbeats, her performance is art.
— The Beyonce World (@thebeyworldcom) February 13, 2017
4. Maren Morris and Alicia Keys’ powerhouse performance
The soulful power that came from this collaboration could shake walls. Maren Morris, a nominee for Best New Artist and Best Country Solo Performance winner (“My Church”), demonstrated why she flew onto the charts in 2016. Morris is unique because she brings a soul side to female country music that isn’t popular between all the pop country singles. She’s honest, she’s grounded. And all of these descriptors match Alicia Keys, as well.
Contrast Morris to a multi-Grammy winning soul/R&B artist Alicia Keys. Keys dropped Here in last 2016. It is a powerful, politically-charged yet loving album that might find its way into a nominee slot next year. They sang Morris’s ballad “Once, ” a slow, ember-red song. Morris adorned a black-jeweled bodysuit, and Key’s strutted out of the 80’s in a glittery jumpsuit and natural Afro. It was a spectacular intersection of their two completely different backgrounds, but the powerhouse of their duo soared. It demonstrated what the Grammys does right with unique collaborative efforts.
3. Bruno Mars’ surprisingly stellar Prince Tribute
Bruno Mars’s first Grammys performance was okay. He grooved and jived to his new single “That’s What I Like.” It wasn’t fantastic; it wasn’t bad; it was just Mars being Mars. However, he roared back later in the night with a Prince Tribute that gave full respect to the icon. Singing with The Time, Mars pounced into the tribute with Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy.” From his wardrobe to the Purple Rain mood lighting, Mars brought back that era of Prince with full impact. The resemblance was remarkable, and Mars truly demonstrated his preparation and performative skills through the rendition. This followed The Time’s “Jungle Love” that opened the tribute. Prince passed away in April 2016 at the age of 57.
2. Chance the Rapper’s gospel choir performance (God, hip-hop, and Chicago)
Chance the Rapper took home multiple Grammy awards last night. Not only is that historical, as his streaming-only music forced the Grammys to change its nomination rules, but it also opened the eyes of those still not familiar with his talent. Chance stumbled a bit through his acceptance speeches, repeatedly thanking his family and mostly God, which struck at his strong faith base.
However, Chance the Rapper’s peak moment was his performance late in the show. He brought out an entire gospel choir, very rooted in Coloring Book‘s jazzy, gospel beats. He performed a medley of “How Great” and “All We Got,” both songs off of Coloring Book. Kirk Franklin, Francis and the Lights, and Tamela Mann also joined him. Chance demonstrated his excellent rap skills, but gospel music truly grabbed attention an atypical manner for the Grammy stage. It was enlightening. He truly is meant to be pushing hip-hop’s boundaries.
1. Hello, it’s Adele.
Adele stole the show with her talent and personality. During the George Michael tribute, she swore and stopped the song to start over because it was off key. It was the balliest move of the night, as she went on to perform an incredibly beautiful tribute. It was the ballsiest move until she did something even ballsier. Adele swept the top fields with Song of the Year (“Hello”), Record of the Year (“Hello”), and Album of the Year (25). She apologized profusely for swearing before restarting the tribute when she accepted Song of the Year. When Adele got up to accept Record of the Year, she let her songwriter speak first because the Grammys cut him off for the Song of the Year speech. But not before calling out the Grammys for doing so.
Finally, when she got up onstage for Album of the Year, her entire speech disregarded her accomplishments and became an ode to Beyoncé’s Lemonade. Though both albums were magnificent, I believe Lemonade deserved the win due to its historical relevance and pinpoint-accurate visuals. Adele went as far as to say she cannot accept the win, and then she broke the trophy in two parts to give to Beyoncé. It was a Mean-Girls-Cady-Heron-breaking-her-Spring-Fling-crown moment. It was an Adele moment, and for better or for worse, both Adele and Beyoncé are queens in their own rights.
Underrated Best Moment: President Agent Orange
Top 5 Worst Moments
5. Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood’s lukewarm collaborative performance
Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood performed early in the night. It wasn’t that either of them sounded bad or that their performance was awful. It’s just… that… nothing spectacular arose from it. Both are mega-icons in the country music scene. I expected more from a Grammys performance to show the strength of country. Lukewarm.
4. Katy Perry’s political message stronger than her new single
Katy Perry strutted around in a fantastic, all-white set to perform her new single “Chained to the Rhythm.” Her “Persist” arm band drew a lot of attention, as Perry is an outspoken liberal who supported Clinton during her campaign. We love Perry for her activism and stance. However, her actual new music falls flat. There’s nothing unique about the pop radio hit with a twist of reggae (i.e. Meghan Trainor’s “Better”). I hope the rest of Perry’s album soars or meets her outspokenness. We love Katy for Katy, but I want to love her for an “I Kissed A Girl” in 2017. Maybe it’s time she brings an explicitly political song to her listeners. Seems like a good compromise, right?
— CNN (@CNN) February 13, 2017
3. Metallica and Lady Gaga’s technical issues: “The Hot Mess Performance of the Night” Award
Lady Gaga showed us she can rock out like a bad ass chick during the Metallica performance. That wasn’t the issue. Unfortunately, none of this collaboration’s issues were really the musicians’ faults. Metallica’s mic wasn’t working during the set, causing a scramble and shared-mic solution during the performance. Then, Gaga sort of stumbled and recovered during her rock-out dancing. That was okay on its own, but as an addition to the technical difficulties, it seemed like the rehearsal rather than the Grammys. It’s too bad because both artists fell to the bad side of luck.
Both Metallica and Lady Gaga are touring in the upcoming months. Metallica begins their “WorldWired 2017 North American Tour” with Avenged Sevenfold this May, and Lady Gaga begins her “Joanne World Tour” in August.
2. Pentatonix’s Motown Tribute
Pentatonix performed The Jackson 5’s “ABC” for their a cappella Grammys moment. Pentatonix are a fantastically talented group, but the Motown rendition made no sense for their wheelhouse. It seemed forced. They placed the group near the end of the night, so the timing was off. Nothing on Pentatonix, but much like Metallica, luck was not cooperating.
1. Yep, it’s still Adele.
This was a tough one. It’s not that Adele did anything to put her in the “Worst Moment of the Night” slot. However, it’s unfortunate that a singer as talented as Adele feels the need to use her speech to dote on someone else. After years of hidden, quiet life out of the spotlight, Adele resurged with a strength that beat 21. She will most likely go back to her shelter for years to come, so this could arguably be the last we see of her for awhile.
Though I don’t disagree with anything Adele said (Lemonade was my clear winner), 25 was a fabulous album. It’s tough to think we live in a state where the Album of the Year winner feels the need to praise another’s work in a non-acceptance acceptance speech. I applaud Adele for understanding Lemonade‘s importance, but I’m not sure how many more Taylor-Swift-beats-Kendrick-Lamar moments we can have at this show.
See her performance of the hit “Hello” below:
Underrated Worst Moment: Song of the Year speech
The Grammys cut off Adele’s composer Greg Kurstin as she stepped aside to let him speak for Song of the Year. Just as the man behind Adele’s genius started to speak, the Grammys didn’t even just start playing the background music. THEY MUTED HIS MICROPHONE AND USHERED THEM OFFSTAGE. The behind-the-scenes players are vital, too. Unnecessary and poor judgement.
Note: Song of the Year Award goes specifically to the composers, not just the mega-famous singer. Check out the moment below: