Rarely does an award show like the Grammys capture an audience’s attention for the sheer talent on stage. From fashion faux pas such as J.Lo’s see-through dress to flashy on stage performances from artists like Nicki Minaj and bizarre host tactics, the Grammy Award show has seen nearly every wild antic.
But, in its 58th year, the annual award show saw less publicity stunts and an increase in artistry. Typically fueled by "WTF" moments, Monday night’s Grammys showcased breathtaking performances by both new and old faces as those joining in on the event celebrated those who we’ve cherished within the last year.
Opening the night, Taylor Swift made little waves on stage as she performed her track "Out of the Woods." Swift’s night ended in success, with the star pop artist bringing home a Grammy for Album of the Year for her "1989" record. However, she did stand out after subtly addressing Kayne West’s recent bash on the young female star.
West and Swift have undoubtedly experienced beef in the past, but the hatchet was buried until the rapper bashed Swift on his new track "Famous" from his upcoming album, "The Life of Pablo." West’s lyrics, "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex, why? I made that bitch famous, God Damn, I made that bitch famous," addressed West’s 2009 MTV Music Award romp where the rapper stormed the stage exclaiming Swift mistakenly won an award he felt was rightfully Beyonce’s. After accepting her Grammy, Swift slyly addressed the lyrics, giving praise and support to women regardless of those who may try to sabotage their success.
"As the first woman to win Album of the Year at the Grammys twice, I wanna say to all the young women out there: There are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame," Swift said.
"But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going, you’ll look around and you’ll know that it was you and the people who love you that put you there, and that will be the greatest feeling in the world."
Swift’s declaration wasn’t the only passionate call to action exuded on the Grammy stage. Hip-hop Broadway group "Hamilton" brought high energy and rapid ballads on stage, which prepped the crowd for Kendrick Lamar’s emotional and soul-shaking performance. Taking the stage clad in prison attire, Lamar’s powerful performance of "The Blacker the Berry" and "Alright" combined lyrical artistry with political imagery after winning his well-deserved Grammy for Rap Album of The Year with his record "To Pimp A Butterfly." As a microphone for today’s generation, Lamar’s breathtaking performance was one of countless.
With R&B star Rihanna absent for the evening due to illness, Andrea Day filled in on stage with Ellie Goulding performing "Love Me Like You Do" and "Rise Up." The duet happened to be one of the unexpected highlights of the night, with Day stunning vocally. The breakout artist will surely see her fair share of Grammy performances in the near future. Duets from Carrie Underwood and Sam Hunt, as well as Tori Kelly and James Bay, also wowed audience members Monday night.
Celebrating the artists who have perished in the last year, the Grammys acted as one large tribute extravaganza: Bonnie Raitt, Chris Stapleton and Gary Clark Jr. paid tribute to B.B. King’s "The Thrill Is Gone" with rifting guitar solos and bluesy ballads, and Jackson Brown collaborated with Glenn Frey for an emotional "Take It Easy" in honor of The Eagles.
If eyes remained dry throughout the night’s tributes, Lady Gaga’s performance saluting David Bowie surely led viewers to shed a tear. In a high-fashion and typical eclectic Gaga style, Bowie’s legacy was remembered through a compilation of Bowie’s greatest hits. Donned in an orange wig, a Bowie-inspired Marc Jacobs coat-dress and blue jaw-dropping eye shadow, Gaga’s performance went where no other artist could’ve gone. Gaga’s near 10-minute showdown not only showcased Gaga’s unfiltered artistry, but her appreciation for the famed singer-songwriter.
"When I was 19 years old, I started to live my life like him," Lady Gaga said.
"I began to consume art and fashion and art history and a combination of those things, performance technique… and I only hung out with people that were artists and that was the way that he was and I learned that from him."