The 59th Grammy Awards were this past Sunday, and the annual award show was definitely one that will be remembered. Whether it was Cee Lo Green’s head-to-toe golden outfit or Katy Perry’s jabs at Britney Spears, it was a ceremony full of showdowns, tributes and memes.
While the Grammys signify music’s biggest awards ceremony of the year, it’s also an unforgettable night of concerts, performances, friendships and celebrations.
One thing that makes the Grammys stand out among many other award shows are the performances, both good and bad, that grace their way onto the stage. From the showmanship and talent of Beyoncé to the melodic performance from newcomer, Grammy winner and UNT alumna Maren Morris, the Grammys showed that, despite all the political and societal tensions throughout the country, music still stands strong.
Here’s a list of some of the finest Grammy performances because, despite bumps, slip ups and challenges, the performances pushed through and left an impression on so many people.
7. The Bee Gees Tribute – Although I’m not a die-hard Bee Gees fan, the performance from Demi Lovato, Tori Kelly, Andra Day and Little Big Town really showcased the nostalgia that comes with the Bee Gees. Although four different songs were performed during the tribute, they all merged together extremely well, showcasing how talented this group of singers is. The voices of these talented female and male performers really showed a new twist on some classics that so many people know and love.
6. Maren Morris and Alicia Keys – In this unexpected but really amazing performance, UNT alumna Maren Morris and veteran musician Alicia Keys sang a soulful duet of Morris’ song “Once.” The performance brought about a certain sense of difference, bringing together an R&B legend with a country newcomer. But Key’s soulful vibe surprisingly meshed really well with Morris’ smooth country voice, which brought a great change of pace among all of the other upbeat, fast songs at the Grammys. This performance was definitely the surprise of the night, as it was something that I never thought I would want to hear, but one that I have gone back to listen to multiple times.
5. Katy Perry – The performance of her new single, “Chained to the Rhythm,” was definitely one of the most politically charged performances of the night. Perry used her song and props, including mirrors and a large “We the People” projection, to bring a spark of politics to the award show. Her ability to express her opinions through her musical talent really brought a twist to the performances throughout the ceremony. In a show full of lively performances, costumes and high notes, Katy Perry did what Katy Perry does best: bring a change to the normal pace.
4. Chance the Rapper – As someone who had never really listened to Chance before the Grammys, as soon as his performance was over on Sunday night, I went and downloaded every one of his songs that I could on Spotify. In both his acceptance speeches and performance of “How Great” and “All We Got,” the passion he portrayed for what he does in music could be seen through his face and his actions. Through his performance, Chance, the winner of Best Rap Performance, Best New Artist and Best Rap Album, showed the audience “all he got.” Mixing together gospel and rap would normally be a hard task, but for Chance, it’s second nature. The artist not only barred his musical soul out, but also shared his religious beliefs and ideals with those listening.
3. Beyoncé – While I’m not the biggest Beyoncé fan, there’s no doubt that her performance dropped jaws and pulled people in. After announcing her pregnancy through Instagram, her performance really showcased the love and beauty that comes with being a woman. While Beyoncé didn’t receive Album of the Year at this year’s award show, her ability to draw the crowd in and make them feel something special really set her apart from all the other performers that night. The singer, who has received world wide recognition for her “Lemonade” album, has been a public figure for many, and this performance really emphasized her ability to empower people everywhere.
2. Ed Sheeran – Although some people may not have paid much attention to Ed Sheeran’s solo performance of his new single “Shape of You,” the performance really shed a light on how absolutely talented this 25-year-old singer is. Sheeran utilized his talents with loop pedals to create all the instrumentals and sounds right there, live, on stage. His ability to create every aspect of a song in the few minutes he had on stage really showcased his ability to perform great music in a style that not many artists could utilize on the Grammy stage.
1. The Prince and George Michael Tributes – These two performances kind of go hand and hand, both bringing emotions and remembrance deeply rooted in two talented and impactful late singers that made their mark on music history. However, both performances provided different, unique ways to remember these great musicians.
The Prince tribute, which started out with the Time’s performance of “Jungle Love” and ended with Bruno Mars’ rendition of “Let’s Go Crazy,” was right on par with what the “artist formerly known as himself” would have wanted. From The Time’s infectious and catchy performance to Bruno Mars’ bright “Purple Rain” inspired outfits, the energy portrayed through the singers almost mirrored the energy Prince brought to every one of his performances.
While the memory of Prince weighed heavy on the audience as the performance went on, the songs and Bruno Mars’ guitar solo really allowed the audience to, just for a second, feel as though Prince was right up on stage.
Adele’s slowed down rendition of George Michael’s “Fastlove” was a sharp juxtaposition from the Prince tribute, but rightly so. About a minute into Adele’s song, she abruptly stopped, asking to restart the song so she could make George proud.
While Twitter fired off with instant opinions, Adele’s actions showed something deeper than an artist feeling as though she messed up a song. In a way, she showed that it’s okay to not be perfect and that it’s okay to feel hurt. Adele, who is a huge fan of George Michael, allowed her emotions to be laid out on the table, even though millions of people were watching.
It’s hard when someone so many people look up to passes away, but Adele, Bruno Mars and The Time all showed the audience that the legacies of both men will live on. And one sentence from Adele really summed up the importance of these tributes: “I can’t mess this up for him.”
Featured Image: Adele performed at the 59th Grammy Awards, taking home awards for Song, Record and Album of the Year as well as Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Pop Vocal Album. Wikimedia Commons.