By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
This is it!
Tonight, some of the biggest stars in the music industry performed at the Staples Center for music’s biggest night.
Which artists soared to the top? Who took home the most awards?
Read on to find out…
(Editor’s Note: I have graded each performance)
Taylor Swift kicked off the evening with “Out of the Woods.” In all honesty, this is the best that she has ever sounded at the Grammys. Despite the music overpowering her vocals, Ms. Swift delivered a stellar performance that actually made me smile. B+
As Taylor exited the stage, host LL Cool J praised the artists for making the Grammys- “music’s biggest night.” He also declared that there will be no lip-syncing at this award show this evening. He also relieved some of Grammy’s greatest moments with Adele, Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga and Elton John and revealed that the show will go live to New York City to introduce the Cast of Hamilton the Musical.
After checking in with Stephen Colbert outside of the Richard Rodgers Theatre, LL Cool J introduced Ice Cube and his son, Shea Jackson, Jr. to introduced Best Rap Album to Kendrick Lamar for To Pimp A Butterfly. The Grammy crowd gave the rapper a standing ovation as Kendrick praised God, his family and the hip-hop artists that came before him.
Carrie Underwood and Sam Hunt delivered the first duet of the night with a medley of “Take Your Time” and “Heartbeat.” It was a very interesting combination to say the least. I was wondering if Carrie was going to sing Sam off the stage. I thought that Sam was out of his league singing with the American Idol winner. Where was Keith Urban, Steven Tyler or Brad Paisley? They would have complemented her! This was a train wreck. D
Ariana Grande introduced her “Love Me Harder” collaborator The Weeknd. After a bad pun and a brief a cappella rendition of “Earned It,” The Weeknd performed a fiery rendition of a medley of “I Can’t Feel My Face” and “In the Night.” Despite audio problems, his crowd-pleasing performance showcased superb dance moves and strong vocals. This was one of my favorite performances of the night. A
Selena Gomez introduced two incredible singer-songwriters: Andra Day and Ellie Goulding. Andra kicked off the segment with a beautiful rendition of “Rise Up” and introduced Ellie who joined her in a superb duet of “Love Me Like You Do.” The duo brilliantly blended their voices and tracks together that created a superb moment and took the Staples Center audience to church. A
Rising country star Cam and CSI: New York star Gary Sinise awarded Best Country Album to Chris Stapleton for Traveler. Chris thanked Taylor Swift (for glitter bombing him), his wife, fans and bandmates for their work that help him get this award. As the quartet left the stage, a diverse group of artists Demi Lovato, John Legend, Tyrese, Meghan Trainor and Luke Bryan joined forces to pay homage to MusiCares Person of the Year recipient Lionel Richie.
John Legend started the tribute with a stunning rendition of “Easy.” Demi Lovato joined John on stage to deliver her interpretation of “Hello.” Demi has grown leaps and bounds as a vocalist and I loved seeing Lionel raising his fists in delight. Luke Bryan added his country twang and presence to “Penny Lover.” A brunette Meghan Trainor joined the party with a jazzy cover of “You Are,” while Tyrese brought the funk with “Brick House.” While Luke Bryan and Tyrese dragged Lionel to the stage to perform “All Night Long.” This was one of my favorite Grammy collaborations of all-time! A+
As the group left the stage, the Eagles and Jackson Browne paid homage to their friend, Glenn Frey. While it was great to see these living legends perform “Take It Easy,” the Grammys SHOULD HAVE LET AMY WADGE speak! Back to the performance, it was an emotional performance, but it was a bad vocal. C-
After Anna Kendrick paid homage to Irving Azoff, the Pitch Perfect actress introduced Best New Artist Award Nominees Tori Kelly and James Bay. Their vocals were impeccable together and loved that their collaborations only featured guitars and no theatrics. Both artists have bright futures ahead of them. B+
Stephen Colbert and LL Cool J introduced Hamilton the Musical to the nationwide audience. The cast performed the opening number “Alexander Hamilton.” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s brilliant music and lyrics gave me chills and also showcased why he is one of the greatest lyricists of his generation. A-
Actor Don Cheadle introduced rapper Kendrick Lamar and praised him for blending hip-hop and jazz into To Pimp A Butterfly. For his set, he transported the audience into Alcatraz and a huge African bonfire where his explosive raps blended rock, rap and Latin together for one unforgettable performance. B+
As Kendrick Lamar left the stage, Seth MacFarlane awarded the Best Musical Theater Award to Hamilton, who accepted the award from the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York. Miguel joined longtime Michael Jackson keyboardist Greg Phillinganes on the King of Pop’s “She’s Out of My Life.” The performance was a promotion for the new Spike Lee documentary that focused on Off the Wall. After the performance, Miguel awarded Alabama Shakes with Best Rock Performance for “Don’t Wanna Fight.
While Alabama Shakes celebrated their Grammy win, Bruno Mars introduced Adele, who performed “All I Ask,” a song that the multi-Grammy winner co-wrote with the “Uptown Funk” front man. While Adele soared vocally, whoever was in charge of the audio needs to be fired because the glitches distracted me from the performance. (Adele=A+; sound guy= F)
Kaley Cuoco introduced Justin Bieber and Jack U (Skrillex and Diplo). I was glad that Justin actually went acoustic with “Love Yourself.” Because, number one…he proved that he doesn’t need auto-tune to sing and he is actually a good guitar player. I was also surprised that Skrillex and Diplo went to the acoustic route when they covered their hit with Justin: “Where Are U Now.” It was actually a pleasant treat to my ears. B
Last year’s Best New Artist winner Sam Smith debuted his new slim figure when he presented the award to Meghan Trainor (who rightfully deserved the award). Ed Sheeran introduced Lady Gaga and Nile Rodgers’ tribute to David Bowie. The Bowie tribute brilliantly mixed together “Changes,” “Ground Control to Major Tom,” “Ziggy Stardust,” “Rebel Rebel,” “Fashion,” “Fame” and so many more hits. This tribute was perfect because it brilliantly combined dance, music and technology together into one visual spectacular! A
LL Cool J introduced Alabama Shakes to the Grammy audience. The quartet performed their number one hit: “Don’t Wanna Fight.” I love this band! Brittany Howard’s impeccable voice, Zac Cockrell’s funky bass, Heath Fogg’s superb guitar playing, Steve Johnson’s amazing percussion and Ben Tanner’s awesome keyboard playing make this band one unstoppable force. I was so proud of their Grammy performance. A- Dave Grohl introduced America to the Hollywood Vampires (Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp and Joe Perry) who paid homage to Motorhead’s Lemmy. The newly formed supergroup’s pyrotechnic and strobe light performance was definitely a visual treat on the eyes. It was an also a plus to see Alice Cooper back in action. B
To handout the final awards of the night, the Recording Academy recruited two icons: Beyoncé & Earth, Wind and Fire! Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winners Earth, Wind and Fire awarded Taylor Swift’s 1989-Album of the Year, while Beyoncé awarded Bruno Mars & Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” with Record of the Year!