Grammys: What a beautiful mess
From beginning to end, “Music’s biggest night” was a beautiful mess.
I went into this award show thinking things were going to be different this year. Hosted by late night funny man James Corden, I thought it would have been funny and entertaining but, unfortunately, the show just fell flat.
Taking place on Sunday, Feb. 12 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, the 59th annual Grammys turned into just another award show. Plagued by poor pacing, technical issues and forgettable performances, the show really didn’t stand a chance.
The show started off on a weird note. Adele began the show performing her hit “Hello.” It was a strong performance, but it didn’t get me excited for the night’s show. Adele — who won the night’s two biggest awards, Record of the Year and Album of the Year — did an amazing job, but instead of being the first performer, she should have performed later in the show.
Next, Corden took the stage to perform a humorous rap that lasted too long. Later in the night, you can tell that the academy ended up rushing winners’ acceptance speeches to make time for Corden’s various bits, which were all mediocre.
For example, Chance the Rapper walked away with the Best New Artist title and, after a couple of words, he was played off the stage. However, Chance stood his ground and finished his acceptance speech.
A stand out of the night was the spontaneity of Twenty One Pilots who accepted their award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance in their underwear.
Lead singer Tyler Joseph explained that before the group made it big, they got together to watch the Grammys. While watching the show, they noticed that everyone was sitting in their underwear. The group made a deal that if they were to ever win a Grammy, they would accept it in their underwear.
Joseph went on to recite a meaningful speech that could inspire any aspiring musician watching.
“Anyone, from anywhere, can do anything,” Joseph said.
After a string of perfectly fine performances, it was time we were graced by Beyonce’s presence.
Beyonce delivered a beautiful and mesmerizing performance of “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles” — two songs that I didn’t care much for off of her “Lemonade” album until she brought them to life on Sunday.
Beyonce returned to the stage after her performance to accept the award for Best Urban Contemporary Album and delivered one of the best speeches of the night. She came prepared with a speech that talked about her intentions for the album and how she wants people to feel powerful from her work.
“This is something I want for every child of every race,” Beyonce said. “I feel it’s vital that we learn from the past and recognize our tendencies to repeat our mistakes.”
After Beyonce, the night surprisingly got a little better.
Bruno Mars, dressed as Prince, delivered an energetic and unforgettable rendition of “Let’s Go Crazy.” Best Rap Album winner, Chance the Rapper, didn’t disappoint with his joyful performance of “How Great” and “All We Got.”
However, the night belonged to Adele.
Adele’s multiple Grammy moments of the night didn’t leave a dry eye in the room. During Adele’s tribute to George Michael, she stopped the song a minute in, dropped an F-bomb and then asked if they can take it from the top because she wanted to get it right. During the second chance, I have never heard “Fastlove” sound so beautiful.
It was that moment that broke the boredom of the show. It was refreshing to see that this night that is portrayed to be flawless and untouchable was briefly interrupted by a real, human moment. It was a moment the writers couldn’t even have written.
Later, the “25” singer dedicated her Album of the Year award to Beyonce, eliciting tears from the woman herself. It was one of the moments of the show that showed outright passion. When the cameras were turned off, Adele ended up breaking her trophy to share it with her idol, Beyonce.
However, these highlights were the exception for what turned into a messy night. For the most part, the show seemed more concerned with the amount of performers than the actual premise of the night: giving out awards.
Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood’s duet of “The Fighter” was fine but nothing more. The confusing pair of Lady Gaga and Metallica took the stage and embarrassing microphone issues marred the performance. The unlikely pair of Alicia Keys and Maren Morris was surprisingly entertaining.
For the most part, the night was filled with performances that were either unremarkable or just complete misses.
If you tuned in for big political statements about our turbulent state of affairs, you were probably disappointed.
Laverne Cox and Paris Jackson made little stabs at current issues, but they mostly stuck to their scripts. Katy Perry projected the Constitution’s preamble onto the stage at the end of her “Chained to the Rhythm” performance, but it wasn’t asgrand as she may have expected it to be.
The night’s only politically charged moment came from A Tribe Called Quest, Anderson .Paak and Busta Rhymes, who teamed up for a moving performance that ended with various people of color joining them on stage. Their performance of “We The People,” felt like an act of defiance to not just the current presidential administration but to the Grammys event itself.
One of the most memorable moments would have to be Busta Rhymes shouting “President Agent Orange,” making it clear that he is here to make a statement on how he feels about our country’s current state.
Perhaps the lack of headline-grabbing political moments is due to what the Grammys has become. The producers are more worried about making a glorified concert than actually handing out awards.
Almost every winner was being rushed off the stage. For example, “Cranes in the Sky” drowned Adele’s writing partner, Greg Kurstin, out as Solange walked on stage to announce the next performer. This was met with booing from the audience.
I believe giving out more than eight awards during the telecast would be way more enjoyable than suffering through four hours of dragged-on performances.
Just imagine the speech Patton Oswalt would have given out for Best Comedy Album. Now, that’s a Grammy moment I would have loved to see.
Overall, Adele had an impressive night. She won all five Grammys she was nominated for. Beyonce was leading the nominations with nine, but walked away with just two. Grammy newcomers also had a good night. Chance the Rapper earned three awards and Twenty One Pilots earned one.
The other big Grammy winner was late British singer, David Bowie, who won all five of the nominations he had for his last album, “Blackstar.”
The winners are listed below:
Record of the Year: “Hello” by Adele
Album of the Year: “25” by Adele
Song of the Year: “Hello” by Adele
Best New Artist: Chance the Rapper
Best Pop Solo Performance: “Hello” by Adele
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: “Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: “Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin” by Willie Nelson
Best Pop Vocal Album: “25” by Adele
Best Dance Recording: “Don’t Let Me Down” by The Chainsmokers feat. Daya
Best Dance/Electronic Album: “Skin” by Flume
Best Contemporary Instrumental Album: “Culcha Vulcha” by Snarky Puppy
Best Rock Performance: “Blackstar” by David Bowie
Best Metal Performance: “Dystopia” by Megadeth
Best Rock Song: “Blackstar” by David Bowie
Best Rock Album: “Tell Me I’m Pretty” by Cage the Elephant
Best Alternative Music Album: “Blackstar” by David Bowie
Best R&B Performance: “Angel” by Lalah Hathaway
Best Traditional R&B Performance: “Cranes in the Sky” by Solange
Best R&B Song: “Lake by the Ocean” by Maxwell
Best Urban Contemporary Album: “Lemonade” by Beyonce
Best R&B Album: “Lalah Hathaway Live” by Lalah Hathaway
Best Rap Performance: “No Problem” by Chance the Rapper
Best Rap/Sung Performance: “Hotline Bling” by Drake
Best Rap Song: “Hotline Bling” by Drake
Best Rap Album: “Coloring Book” by Chance the Rapper
Best Country Solo Performance: “My Church” by Maren Morris
Best Country Duo/Group Performance: “Jolene” by Pentatonix feat. Dolly Parton
Best Country Song: “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw
Best Country Album: “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” by Sturgill Simpson
Best New Age Album: “White Sun II” by White Sun
Best Improvised Jazz Solo: “I’m So Lonsesome I Could Cry” by John Scofield
Best Jazz Vocal Album: “Take Me to the Alley” by Gregory Porter
Best Jazz Instrumental Album: “Country for Old Men” by John Scofield
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album: “Presidential Suite: Eight Variations on Freedom” by Ted Nash Big Band
Best Latin Jazz Album: “Tribute to Irakere: Live in Marciac” by Chuco Valdes
Best Gospel Performance/Song: “God Provides” by Tamela Mann
Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song: “Thy Will” by Hillary Scott & The Scott Family
Best Gospel Award: “Losing My Religion” by Kirk Franklin
Best Contemporary Christian Music Album:
Best Roots Gospel Album: “Hymns” by Joey+Rory
Best Latin Pop Album: “Un Besito Mas” by Jesse & Joy
Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album: “Ilevitable” by ile
Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano): “Un Azteca en el Azteca, Vol. 1 (En Vivo)” by Vicente Fernandez
Best Tropical Latin Album: “Donde Están?” by Jose Lugo & Guasabara Combo
Best American Roots Performance: “House of Mercy” by Sarah Jarosz
Best American Roots Song: “Kid Sister” by The Time Jumpers
Best Americana Album: “This is Where I Live” by William Bell
Best Bluegrass Album: “Coming Home” by O’Connor Band with Mark O’Connor
Best Blues Album: “Porcupine Meat” by Bobby Rush
Best Folk Album: “Undercurrent” by Sarah Jarosz
Best Regional Roots Music Album: “E Walea” by Kalani Pe’a
Best Reggae Album: “Ziggy Marley” by Ziggy Marley
Best World Music Album: “Sing Me Home” by Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble
Best Children’s Album: “Infinity Plus One” by Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling): “In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fin in the Sandbox” by Carol Burnett
Best Musical Theater Album: “The Color Purple”
Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media: “Miles Ahead” by Miles Davis & Various Artist
Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
Best Song Written for Visual Media: “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” from “Trolls”
Best Instrumental Composition: “Spoken at Midnight” by Ted Nash Big Band
Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella: “You and I” from “In My Room”
Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals: “Flintstones” from “In My Room”
Best Recording Package: “Blackstar” by David Bowie
Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package: “Edith Piaf 19-15-2015” by Edith Piaf
Best Album Notes: “Sissle And Blake Sing Shuffle Along” by Eubie Blake & Noble Sissle
Best Historical Album: “The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 12” by Bob Dylan
Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical: “Blackstar” by David Bowie
Producer of the Year, Non-Classical: Greg Kurstin
Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical: “Tearing Me Up (RAC Remix)” by Bob Moses
Best Engineered Album, Classical: “Corigliano: The Ghosts of Versailles”
Producer of the Year, Classical: David Frost
Best Orchestral Performance: “Shostakovich: Under Stalin’s Shadow – Symphonies Nos. 5, 8 & 9” by Boston Symphony Orchestra
Best Opera Recording: “Corigliano: The Ghosts of Versailles”
Best Choral Performance: “Penderecki Conducts Penderecki, Volume 1”
Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance: “Steven Reich” by Third Coast Percussion
Best Music Video: “Formation” by Beyonce
Best Music Film: “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week The Touring Years”
Best Comedy Album: “Talking for Clapping” by Patton Oswalt