The biggest event in music awards, the Grammys, took place Sunday night. The ceremony, which was hosted in Madison Square Garden, featured performances by acclaimed artists from various genres, as well as heartfelt acceptance speeches and a surprising prevalence of politics. The show opened with an explosive performance by rap artist Kendrick Lamar, who was nominated for 7 awards and received 5. Lamar’s opening act featured a mashup of many of his recent songs, including some from his album DAMN, which received various nominations including Album of the Year. Kendrick Lamar’s opening number set the bar high for the rest of the performers.
Following Lamar’s performance, Late Late Show host James Corden took to the stage to host the Grammy’s for his second consecutive year. Corden started out the show by cracking a few lighthearted jokes about the show’s return to New York. Afterwards, Lady Gaga took the spotlight for an intimate piano ballad.
Eventually, after more than a few commercial breaks, the first awards were handed out, and they show started to find its rhythm.
The 60th Grammy awards had one of the best ever list of nominees for both Rap and R&B. Some of the best performances in these genres included Kendrick Lamar’s previously mentioned dramatic opener, Childish Gambino’s (Donald Glover) performance of his song Terrified, and Best New Artist nominee SZA’s performance of her song Broken Clocks. Of the five albums nominated for Album of the Year across all genre’s, two were rap albums and one was an R&B album. Although Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic ended up winning the award, it was an interesting change to see such a prominence of urban contemporary music at the Grammys.
The most moving part of the ceremony was undoubtedly a performance by pop singer Kesha. In front of an estimated 25 million viewers, Kesha delivered an incredibly emotional and moving recital of her song Praying. The lyrics of Praying are most likely directed at Kesha’s former manager, who allegedly sexual and emotionally abused the artist. Kesha’s performance brought several audience members to tears and brought an outpouring of support on social media. Perhaps the most praiseworthy aspect of the Grammys this year was their encouragement of the empowerment of women, not only in music but in all aspects of life. Musician/actress Janelle Monáe delivered a speech encouraging women to stand up for their rights. “Times up” she repeated, referring to discrimination, harassment, and power abuse around the world. However, although the Grammys seemed to feature a lot of positive encouragement for women, men won more awards by a large margin in all categories. Since 2013, 91% of all Grammy nominees have been male, leaving only a shocking 9% of women nominees.
The show ended with one final performance by artist Logic, Khalid, and Alessia Cara performing their song 1-800-273-8255. The song, which promotes anti-suicide, was a great way to cap off the night. Logic used the final moments of the song to deliver his own speech about coming together as people around the world. “Together, we can build a world which is destined to be untied” the rapper said, ending the show.
The 60th Grammys were fairly typical as far as how the ceremonies usually go. They dragged on for too long, many of the awards given went against what the public would have expected, and the performances were mostly entertaining.
The 61st Grammys will probably carry much of the same, as did the 59th, 58th, and so on, but it does give a nice annual excuse to spend time with friends and discuss everything music.