On Sunday, January 26th, the 62nd Grammy Awards was full of many moments that all music fans can enjoy. From a powerful performance by Demi Lovato detailing her recent overdose to blazing hot newcomer Billie Ellish winning the night by becoming the youngest to take home a Grammy, and taking home five Grammys including the coveted Album of the Year. The show featured performances by Lizzo, Camila Cabello, Ariana Grande and a mashup of “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X. For the second year in a row it was hosted by Alica Keys, who’s musical prowess always seems to amaze.
The show opened with Lizzo performing ‘Truth Hurts’ and ‘Cuz I Love You.’ She later won a Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance beating out the likes of veterans like Beyonce and Taylor Swift. After Lizzo performed Alica Keys and Boys II Men sang “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” as tribute to NBA legend Kobe Byrant, who passed hours before the show aired. The acapella rendition was the best the Grammys could do in such a short time, but it was enough with what they had at their disposal.
Keys went on to deliver her opening monologue, discussing unity through music, President Trump’s impeachment, and the long running joke about the Grammy’s length. Keys did a great job hosting by not forcing jokes but also not being stale and taking a back seat.
Performing at the Grammys is a feat that artists of any genre dream of so when one gets the chance to perform, they should make the most of it and that’s what Tyler The Creator did. Tyler performed “Earthquake” and “New Magic Wand” and the only way to describe his performance is bizarre, which is completely on brand for Tyler and yet it was one of the best and most memorable moments during the show.
Legacy acts Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C.’s performance was also memorable, but for all the wrong reasons. Everything was off. They all seemed to be on a different page resulting in a cringeworthy performance. I know we’re supposed to respect the legends who paved the way but we can be honest when they just don’t have it anymore. Steven Tyler’s scream singing is a staple of who he is, but when they performed “Walk This Way” it almost made me walk away from my TV screen. From a music nerd standpoint the performance was bad; some might say the nostalgia of seeing Rock and Hip Hop legends can make up for it, but not me. Just because they have contributed a lot to music culture that didn’t give them the right to be off beat and out of cadence.
Pop singers Billie Ellish, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato and Camila Cabello all performed beautifully, but R&B singer H.E.R. stood out above the rest. H.E.R. displayed her talents on the Grammys’ stage for the second year in a row. She performed a new song and her vocals were appreciated throughout the entire Staples Center, but she went above and beyond by not only showing her pianist skills, but her guitar skills as well. H.E.R. is here to stay in the music industry and this performance was just a reminder. This is not to say the other artists were bad, because Grande’s performance was also good, but it was just good not great. Furthermore, it’s not fair to compare Demi’s performance to others because there were other things surrounding her performance like her recent drug overdose and this being her first performance since. Her performance was powerful because it was bigger than just music.
Hip Hop has always had a love/hate relationship with the Grammys but this year they showed they cared by having a tribute to the late L.A rapper Nipsey Hussle. Meek Mill started the tribute with a performance of an unreleased song alongside Roddy Rich dedicated to Nipsey. From there it transitioned to DJ Khaled’s song “Higher” featuring Nipsey and John Legend. This song by itself is already powerful, so for it to be performed live with a choir, rapper YG, and Kirk Franklin, adds a bittersweet tone. At the end of the performance on the screen was an image of Nipsey Hussle and Kobe Byrant, two lost L.A. icons.
A year ago, no one knew who Lil Nas X was, but now he has the record for having the longest running number 1 record with “Old Town Road” on Billboard prompting a plethora of remixes to be made. Naturally, the Grammys had him perform some of these remixes. He was joined by K-Pop group BTS, Diplo, Mason Ramsey and Billy Ray Cyrus. He then performed his “Rodeo” and surprised fans with a feature from rapper Nas. While Lil Nas X’s performance was great, there was something missing because there was an empty room with a slime green skull that is associated with rapper Young Thug, who is featured on the remix of “Old Town Road”. It seems that he was set to perform, but when the time came all we saw was nothing.
The performances are great, but they aren’t the main attraction that brings millions of viewers to the show annually, it’s the award winners and snubs. When the Grammys are discussed there is always the argument of the politics that goes into the awards, and the thought that the awards may be rigged. It’s said that the academy will only give a Grammy to someone if they show up or they give someone undeserving a Grammy to spark controversy. Many artists still feel slighted when they don’t win, because they’re sensitive about their art which is understandable, but we shouldn’t give credence to awards that are rigged. The best music can’t be quantified by a single award but has a lasting impact and relevance that no award show can give.
There are many Grammys given out but only a select few are televised. The one televised Grammy we maybe didn’t need was Best Comedy Album which could have been replaced by either Best Rap Song or Best R&B Song because these are bigger genres that don’t get as much time to shine. Some notable winners that weren’t televised were “Ventura” by Anderson, “Paak” for Best R&B Album, “A Lot” by 21 Savage for Best Rap Song and “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. In future Grammys I would want to see more of a focus on Hip Hop, seeing as Hip Hop is the most popular genre in the world and it’s time the top award show acknowledge it as such.
The biggest awards of the night (Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year) were all won by eighteen-year-old artist Billie Eilish. At her very first Grammys the superstar walked away with five awards including the three aforementioned along with Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Album. She beat out the likes of Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and Lana Del Ray. I think that Eilish deserved almost every award she got, but Album of the Year should have gone to Ariana Grande, because it was better and more popular overall. I don’t think we should shame Eilish for winning, because she is just a teenager who made the best project she could and her hard work got her the most prestigious award a musician could receive. Grande and Del Ray were both notable snubs who walked away with nothing after having incredible years.
This year’s Grammys was one of the best in recent memories, but it was not without its faults. There will always be those who feel as if they got snubbed or overlooked, but the Grammys aren’t perfect, and they don’t get everything right but still we tune in every year to be happy if our favorite artist wins, or be disappointed.