For once, the 56th annual Grammy Awards ceremony, “Music’s Biggest Night,” actually turned out to be a great night for music. Daft Punk won big, the forces of metal and classical music met for a surprisingly epic performance and the show ended with a killer performance by current rock legends. Between Taylor Swift’s shock at losing record of the year and Pharrell Williams being Daft Punk’s interpreter for the evening (due to the group’s large helmets making it difficult to talk), the show was sure an entertaining one. Still, among the many highs, there were some unfortunate low points in the evening. We at the Clog share with you our recap of the best and worst moments of the night:
High: Beyonce and Jay-Z team up for “Drunk in Love”
Music’s biggest power couple set off the Grammys with her hit single “Drunk in Love” off the singer’s critically acclaimed self-titled album, which she dropped without notice late last year. Beyonce once again proved why she is the reigning diva queen, needing only her powerful pipes and her unstoppable swagger to set the bar for the night. While her husband Jay-Z, who was nominated for the most awards of the night at 11, popped up to deliver some impressive rhymes himself, it was Beyonce who did all the heavy lifting, reminding everyone that next year when her album is eligible to be nominated, it is going to be her, not her husband, who will be running the show.
Low: Lorde forgoes stage presence for black fingertips
Nominated for her smash hit, “Royals,” off last year’s Pure Heroin, Lorde chose to perform her antipop song on the Grammy stage by forgoing all the rules of a pop performance, mainly the enjoyability. Shifting around with her trademark T. rex dance moves, Lorde reminded everyone she is new to the industry, keeping her eyes shut for most of the performance and forcing us to do the same with ours. While her vocals were solid throughout, the whole thing was just way too creepy.
High: Dave Grohl being Dave Grohl
After deservedly winning the Grammy for Best Rock Song for his collaboration with Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl’s entire walk onto the stage and his speech reminded everyone why the Foo Fighters frontman is the coolest man in rock. Giving his wife a kiss before walking up to the stage with the former Beatle, Grohl used his speech to tell us he wouldn’t be the musician he is today if Paul and Ringo Starr and the rest of the Beatles hadn’t paved the way. He then reminded us what rock n’ roll is about: inviting your friends to jam and knocking out a killer song in a couple of hours.
High: John Legend
Leave it to the classiest man in the music business to remind everyone how a performance is supposed to be. No matter how many flexible dancers and pyrotechnics you employ (looking at you, Katy Perry), there is no substitute for talent. Singing “All of Me” off his fourth studio album, Love in the Future, Legend’s pipes stole the show, eliciting a standing ovation. Also, props to Taylor Swift for following in Legend’s footsteps and ditching her usual theatrics for a strong, low-key (for her standards) performance. Well, other than a few intense and uncomfortable-to-watch hair flips.
Low: Shameless commercial promotion
The commercials during the Grammys are to music fans what the ads during the Super Bowl are to most of the United States. It seemed like almost every advertisement featured a musician, which to some extent took away from the night’s theme of music for “the love of music.” Rather, musicians seemed to do it for the paycheck. After John Legend killed it on the piano, he left a larger impression trying to get me to buy a Chevy. Meanwhile, after Katy Perry brought the heat (literally) onstage with her performance of “Dark Horse,” she cashed in on a CoverGirl ad. The biggest offender of the night, Justin Timberlake, attempted to sell not only other people’s products (in what seemed like 40 MasterCard commercials) but also his own albums.
High: Pink’s athleticism
Even if Pink has continued to use the same awards show performance theme for the past couple of years, no one is saying she doesn’t bring it. She reminded us that she is not only a powerhouse vocalist, making up for the dismal performance of her duet partner, Nate Ruess of Fun, but also that she is just straight-up powerful. Her onstage dance was an impressive display of athleticism and proved she can carry an incredible amount of weight on her thighs.
High: Kendrick Lamar dominating his duet with Imagine Dragons
Kendrick brought the intensity to a performance with an act known for being “epic,” making Imagine Dragons seem like a soft-rock band in comparison. Lead singer Dan Reynolds did his best to match Lamar’s intensity with some cringeworthy dance moves, but nothing took our eyes off the rapper. Kendrick performed “m.A.A.d city” off of good kid, m.A.A.d city, nominated for Album of the Year, before going into an additional verse so incredible it was easily the most passionate performance of the night. Sorry, Kacey Musgraves.
High: Celebrity Twitter commentary
We at the Clog weren’t the only ones excited about this year’s Grammy Awards, as famous faces were there to give their two cents throughout the three-hour ceremony. An easy highlight was Kelly Clarkson and Anna Kendrick raving together about Jared Leto’s hair. Still, some of the best tweets didn’t even come from the celebrities as much as their apparel. Pharrell’s already famous headwear choice got its own Twitter account at the start of the ceremony and live-tweeted throughout the night, with highlights such as “robot helmets are so 2013, @Pharrellhat is now” and a suggestion that the new Arby’s logo be the hat. Some musicians didn’t even watch the awards but had good excuse. Bassist Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers tweeted that he was instead watching the UCLA game. And Aziz Ansari summed up our feelings on the Bay the best: “Thank goodness they delayed the Grammy’s on the west coast. Makes total sense. Can’t wait to see what happens!”
Low: Jamie Foxx’s awkward commentary about Beyonce
Yes, Beyonce was her usual beautiful self, but Jamie Foxx does not need to remind us every five seconds. He cut from announcing the award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration far too often to comment on Bey’s performance and looks, eliciting quite a few awkward smiles from Beyonce, which the cameras had to cut to almost an uncomfortable number of times.
Low: Kanye can’t get a break
It was already ridiculous enough that Kanye West’s latest career-defining work (it seems like every album he has one of those, doesn’t it?) Yeezus failed to be nominated for any of the major categories. But Yeezus losing out to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis for Best Rap Album is just a failure on the part of the Grammy voters. All this is nothing new for the award ceremony, which has almost completely shut West out of all the major awards since 808s & Heartbreak beyond the rap categories. This year, as in the past, the Grammys have proved themselves to be all about the performances, as the awards become more and more irrelevant each year.
High: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis host the biggest onstage wedding ever
One of the biggest winners of the night, Macklemore, performed his marriage rights anthem toward the end of the show with guests Mary Lambert and Trombone Shorty, as Queen Latifah officiated the wedding of 33 couples onstage. Madonna later joined in on the performance, furthering the bragging rights of the couples, who will no doubt all have the greatest wedding story among all their friends.
High: Beatles love
Receiving a long-overdue Lifetime Achievement Award by the Grammys, the Beatles were a large focus of the telecast. On Monday night, the band will receive a tribute by the recording academy as a celebration of its arrival to the United States half a century ago. That didn’t stop the Grammys from giving the surviving members of the legendary band a heavy amount of screen time, including separate performances by both Paul and Ringo, which was a welcome reminder of why they are heralded as musical geniuses in the first place.
Contact Pranav Trewn at [email protected]