This year’s Grammy Awards may not be remembered just for the usual presentations and performances. Rather, the 56th annual showcase of music’s finest will go down in the books for a stance on human rights, and a night where music forgot about its most controversial and focused on its most talented.
Producers filled the three-and-a-half hour plus broadcast with 20 performances. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr jamming on a new Macca tune, Imagine Dragons mixing it up with rapper Kendrick Lamar, and an all-star collaboration between Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers, and Stevie Wonder were surefire highlights of the evening.
Sure, there were some misses along the way; the superstar country jam session between Willie Nelson, Blake Shelton, and friends might have gone on a bit too long for a national audience. That performance, combined with slower tempo songs from Taylor Swift, John Legend, and Kacey Musgraves, may have lulled a person or two to sleep.
But make no mistake about it: the Grammys were intent on music’s biggest night focusing solely on the music. You didn’t hear a single person mention Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber – not a peep.
Of all people, it was Beyoncé who provided the shock factor of the show. She opened the broadcast in a leotard and wet hair. “Queen Bey” gyrated around a chair and later danced seductively with husband Jay Z during her performance of “Drunk in Love.”
But the power couple showed a softer side later in the broadcast. Jay told his daughter Blue Ivy during his acceptance speech for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration that she was the owner of a new gold sippy cup.
Speaking of winners, you could argue that the night belonged to the aforementioned Daft Punk. The French DJs/robots took home four awards, including the coveted Album and Record of the Year. “Random Access Memories” was far from critically acclaimed, but was still highly anticipated and commercially successful; it’s on the verge of selling a million copies in the U.S. alone. The album’s popularity was buoyed by the success of the single “Get Lucky.” Its featured artist, Pharrell Williams, also won Producer of the Year/Non-Classical.
Many jokes were also cracked at the expense of Skateboard P’s hat – which could be most likened to Smokey Bear and the Arby’s logo.
But perhaps the most poignant moment of the evening came courtesy of Seattle-based duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. The hip-hop artists left the ceremony with four Grammys, but it was a different ceremony that had the Staples Center in Los Angeles emotional. During their performance of the equality anthem “Same Love,” over 30 couples, both gay and straight, were married in a service officiated by Queen Latifah.
“It’s so beautiful, just the idea,” Mary Lambert said of the song in an interview before the Grammys on “The Ralphie Show.” Lambert wrote and sings the hook of the single.
“The culture has really taken to it, and that’s what I think is the most beautiful thing about it.”
And the newlyweds said, “I do,” and celebrities and strangers alike celebrated in the aisles, redefining what a Grammy moment is all about.
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