By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis
Usually Sunday is a day associated with the inevitable dread we feel in having to face another Monday, but not so last night. Instead audiences were treated to a star-studded cast at the 56th Grammy Awards show which aired at 8:00 p.m. EST.
And to ensure we’d forget the winter chill that has ransomed our cities, the opening act between power couple, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, was sizzling hot in their performance of their R&B collaboration, Drunk in Love, (with a side of a whole lot of sexy). It brought people to their feet to nod vigorously and clap their approval, because, hey, who doesn’t love a sexy performance that’s actually indicative of a real romance?
The show was off to a good start with Rapper/Actor, LL Cool J, holding the helm as sentimental and enthusiastic host.
And what better way to welcome the Grammys then to introduce the winner of New Artist?
In the company of James Blake, Kendrick Lamar, Kacey Musgraves, and Ed Sheeran (one of my favourites for the win), it was Macklemore & Ryan Lewis who brought the Grammy home.
And then to make it even more thrilling, a live performance of a wonderfully crooning singer and songwriter only 17-years-old who hails from Davenport, New Zealand, was Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor, better known for her stage name, Lorde. To look at her in her black, baggy pant legs, white sleeveless shirt, and eccentrically painted fingernails, which extended over to her fingers themselves (perhaps it was mehendi), she was as cool, stylish, and unruffled as her music. Her performance of her song, Royals, which has exploded like wildfire, was rich in tone and intoxicating to watch. It’s easy then to see why she won Best Pop Solo Performance and Song of the Year! I absolutely fell in love with Lorde and her song and congratulate her and her band in taking the spotlight from some of the more seasoned performers in the music circuit, those who, while being nominated for the same awards, could not snag the big prize: Sara Bareilles (Brave), Bruno Mars (When I Was Your Man), Katy Perry (Roar), Justin Timberlake (Mirrors); Just Give Me a Reason, Pink featuring Nate Ruess, Locked Out of Heaven, Bruno Mars, Roar, Katy Perry, and Same Love, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert.
Of course, a great delight in the show was also the appearance of two soon-to-be-famous robots of, Daft Punk, who weren’t afraid to alienate the audience with their dapper white tuxedos and sexy head-gear. If any two robots in the universe deserve a Grammy, it’s these guys, for Best Dressed. But, they did better than that. They won Best Record of the Year for Get Lucky featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers, beating out Radioactive by Imagine Dragons, Royals by Lorde, Locked Out of Heaven by Bruno Mars, and Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke.
But, Daft Punk, also snagged another impressive Grammy: Album of the Year for Random Access Memories, which for these guys, are out of this world. If I were them, I’d be applauding myself, too. Great job, guys!
Other performances included Katy Perry’s Dark Horse, which, while the title indicated a possible chance at winning a Grammy this year, it wasn’t dark enough to snag one. It looks like Katy Perry’s gonna need more than just magic to impress the Academy since she didn’t win any Grammys for Roar. But, hey, she’s got John Mayer, right? And she can certainly “roar” about that.
Robin Thicke kept it clean and slick with his performance of Blurred Lines—since we all know it isn’t right to cross them on the Grammys (even if they are blurred) with his collaboration with the classic and much beloved group, Chicago.
And even though I didn’t see Nicole Kidman in sight, Keith Urban played a pretty mean guitar in his performance with Gary Clark Jr.
What was especially great to see was John Legend’s piano performance of All of Me, which without the need of flashy lights, crazy costumes, and a crew of dancers, was played and sung in a very simple, genuine way.
What wasn’t great was the over-performance Taylor Swift made throughout the night in the audience. She “performed” more in the audience than she did when she was scheduled to sing All Too Well at the Grammys. And her performance itself wasn’t anything more than a crazy, hair-flipping mess. At least that was the height of her piano playing—the moment she flipped her hair like a person who was not only crazed, but perhaps demoniacally possessed.
But, her 5.8″-tall frame did not stop her from standing up from her seat and dancing, as always trying to bring more attention to herself. Well, here’s the thing—I think we’ve caught onto her vain gimmicks, Ms. Taylor Swift (whose name is more indicative of how quickly she moves from man to man in her very public relationships, I think), and have ignored them.
Because the Grammy Award show was not certainly her night, having lost for every nomination she received—except for maybe, Best Overacting-Attention-Seeking-Audience Dancer of the Night, that is. (Sorry, Taylor, but it’s time to sit down. Please.) And I’m not the only one online who seems to think so. Check out The A-List’s article, Taylor Swift lets loose dancing at the Grammys (and Twitter shudders).
Pink, on the other hand, showed-off her gymnastic skills in her performance of Try, since try, she did, which much resembled a short from the famous and limber show Cirque de Soleil. Perhaps the excitement of the Olympic Games in Sochi which are coming up inspired the twirling and tumbling? Regardless, Pink, showed us her physical and vocal strength, as well as her courage to hang from the ceiling at risk to her own life. (And did I mention her tough, rockin’ bod? Hello, workout.) As much as she did try, though, she wasn’t able to snag any Grammys this year. No matter, we all love Pink.
While the young pups blazed their way on the stage, the Grammys did a good job of honouring the old greats like Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, who need no mention. They shared their first public appearance together after three years, performing Queenie Eye, a song from McCartney’s album New.
Aside from McCartney’s win for Best Music Film for Concert Movie, Live Kisses, and Best Rock Song with Cut Me Some Slack, the two of the Beatles were presented with the Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented by Julia Roberts. Not bad for the original boy band whose iconic membership changed the course of music history.
But, they weren’t the only legends to be honoured on stage. Country music has its own icons, too. With a collaborative performance between Willie Nelson at age 80, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, and country’s favourite funny man and judge on America’s television singing contest, The Voice, Blake Shelton—country music got to kick up its cowboy boots with Highwayman, Okie From Muskogee, and Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.
And while I was largely disappointed that Filipino-Latino songwriter and musician, Bruno Mars, wasn’t on the Playbill to perform at the Grammys, he did score a huge win with Best Pop Vocal Album for Unorthodox Jukebox. If you’re smart enough to listen to Mars’ rich musical concoctions, you won’t be disappointed to realize that he is an original and gifted artist.
He gracefully acknowledged his father in the audience, his Puerto Rican girlfriend, Jessica Caban, and his mother who recently passed away from an aneurism in 2013.
As sad as it was for Bruno Mars not to perform at the Grammys this year, the audience was certainly not robbed with two, not one, of the best performances of the night!
The powerful rendition of Radioactive by Imagine Dragons and rapper Kendrick Lamar kept us all engrossed (and in regards to Taylor Swift’s dancing, a little “grossed” out).
And then the explosive performance by hard rock, heavy metal greats of the 80’s, Metallica, and China’s classical pianist, Lang-Lang. Heavy metal and classical piano, you ask?
Well, yes. The point being, and I think crucially so throughout the performances of the night, that music, regardless of our sometimes misguided presumptions, is indeed universal. It was a brilliant celebration of unexpected musical fusion.
For more details on the nominees and winners of the Grammys, please visit the official webpage of the Grammys.
What did you think of last night’s Grammys?
Which was your favourite performance of the night?
What was your favourite highlight of the evening?