The Grammys provide us with a night of passion, skill and, of course, music. Since the winners do not get selected by fan voting or success in the industry, the best part of the award show is, of course, the live performances. Thankfully the Grammys did it right this year with performance after performance and they were phenomenal.
To kick off the show was Grammy winner Taylor Swift. She performed a fierce version of “Out of the Woods” and while I’m not the biggest Swift fan, she did a stellar job. She later returned to the stage as winner of Album of the Year for 1989. I’m not sure if I enjoyed her performance or her acceptance speech more. She made a bold statement that may or may not have been direct at Kanye West about how other people do not deserve to take credit for your personal successes. She is a poised and intelligent young woman and used the stage to convey a positive message.
LL Cool J then takes the stage to really get us started. Without too much nonsense we dove into the awards. No surprise that Kendrick Lamar wins for the Best Rap Album. He later took the stage and performed an explosive version of a few of his more controversial songs and there is a lot of controversy in the depths of the lyrics he performed. We’ll see what type of backlash or discussion follows the performance in the upcoming days.
For those who may not be the biggest fan of hip hop or pop, fear not because the Grammys put on an extremely eclectic show. They go from pop to a rap award to a country music performance. Best new artist nominee, Sam Hunt, took the stage to perform a duet with Carrie Underwood who looked amazing. Although they didn’t sound like they were in perfect harmony and the performance is one of the least talked about of the night, it was still solid. Unfortunately for the country world, shortly after the Weeknd took the stage for his performance that took the live music to another level.
Speaking of taking the Grammys to another level, Chris Stapleton performed live with iconic Bonnie Raitt in tribute to B.B.King and he won Best Country Album. The Stapleton performance was the first of many tributes for the evening. Rock legends the Eagles and Jackson Browne did justice to the late Glen Frey.
To change directions a bit, the Grammys thought outside of the box and for the second time in history, had a broadway show perform live. In the past we heard a bit from Green Day’s American Idiot which seemed revolutionary but Hamilton has no ties to well known rock and roll bands. Lin Manuel Miranda’s creation has dumbfounded the musical world and is practically sold out through January 2017. After the opening number performance, the show has undoubtedly gained new fans but the most stunning moment was the cast’s acceptance speech for their award. Miranda rapped his acceptance. It may sound absurd and a bit like the world turned upside down but a hip hop musical about the life and death of Alexander Hamilton has taken over and impressed countless people.
I would love to go on and on about the performances by Justin Bieber, Adele, Little Big Town, Kendrick Lamar, and others but there were so many performances! It was great to see Alabama Shakes bring some southern rock to the stage after winning three Grammys and the Hollywood Vampires with Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp and Joe Perry rocking out. Although it wasn’t bad, the final performance by Pitbull, Travis Barker and Robin Thicke was very elaborate and almost over the top. Regardless of if you appreciate all of the musicians who performed, music was alive and well on that Grammy stage.
There was so much going on and so many live performances during the broadcast that it’s easy to miss the poignant moments that happened as well like Meghan Trainor breaking down in tears when she won Best New Artist, the tribute slide show of the many musical legends we lost this year, and the plea and thanks to musical fans for going to concerts and buying music so that music can become a viable career. There were a lot of layers crammed into the broadcast of the Grammys and many awards that didn’t make the live cut but no matter what, music took center stage for just a few hours on CBS and the world and audience were exposed to a plethora of performers and performances that they may never have had the opportunity to see perform and that alone makes the broadcast a resounding success.