Daft Punk. Lorde. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Imagine Dragons.
What do these artists have in common? They all won at least one Grammy last Sunday, January 26. The televised award show, complete with performances by favorites Beyonce, Katy Perry, Kendrick Lamar, and more, aired on CBS to millions of excited viewers. Wheaton students scrambled to the Loft to catch the footage live or jumped on their Twitter accounts to receive the news in 140 characters or less. According to The Recording Academy, this year’s Grammy awards pulled in 34 million social media interactions on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter.
It’s no surprise that this year’s viewers were more vocal than ever. The performances ranged from heart-wrenching to head-scratching, and some wins seemed less well-deserved than others.
Beyonce and Jay Z opened the show with “Drunk in Love.” The power couple’s performance, however, was not as scandalous as everyone thought it would be. It just didn’t live up to the hype. Between the censor bleeps at every chorus, the over-used light and smoke effects, and the embrace during the song, it was hard to decide which part of the performance was most awkward. Still, Beyonce’s singing cut through clear; she certainlyoutsung Madonna, who sang “Open Your Heart” later in the show looking fatigued, sick, and old.
Katy Perry’s performance, on the other hand, was outsanding. Her spooky rendition of “Dark Horse” cast her as a witch, complete with a crystal orb and a dark forest full of trees that twitched to the beat. Eventually, Juicy Jae stepped in for his rap, and the performance ended with a human horse similar to an evil version of War Horse and a fiery stage.
Other solo performers included Taylor Swift, who sang an endless, head-bashing version of “All Too Well,” and John Legend, who sang a simple yet elegant version of “All of Me.”
As more and more winners were announced, the Grammys’ performances became duet-heavy. Collaborations between classic and new artists were rampant. Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive / M.A.A.D City” was in this viewer’s opinion the best performance of the night, as Lamar rapped his heart out, pounded on multiple drums, and sang with the chorus of “Radioactive” while Imagine Dragons proved they earned their Grammy for Best Rock Performance.
Sara Bareilles and Carol King’s “Beautiful / Brave” melody was also memorable, but in a different way. The singers, stripped of everything but a piano and their voices, were mesmerizing.
The most heartwarming performance of the night was Macklemore, Mary Lambert, Madonna, and Ryan Lewis’s version of “Same Love / Open Your Heart.” During the song, which advocates for love in all forms, Queen Latifah officiated a mass wedding that married 34 couples. They walked down the Grammy aisle to Mary Lambert singing the lyrics: “I can’t change, even if I tried, even if I wanted to.”
Other memorable performances were of Pink’s “Try,” in which she became an aerial acrobat, and her duet with Nate Reuss in “Just Give Me a Reason.” Daft Punk performed a Random Access Memories melody, marking their second performance on live television, with Nile Rogers, Pharrell Williams, and Stevie Wonder.
Memorable wins were Lorde for Best New Artist, “Same Trailer Different Park” by Kacey Musgraves for Best Country Album and Random Access Memories by Daft Punk for album of the year. The three-and-a-half hour show, as many award shows do, left viewers feeling drained by the end. This viewer, however, was satisfied overall with this year’s winners. See all winners here.
Also published in The Wheaton Wire.