By Karl Delossantos
Being an awards geek, I love predicting, watching and commenting on awards shows, and it is often a problem. However, I have a love-hate relationship with the Grammys.
The producers who schedule the performances often pair mismatched artists together. To make matters worse, despite having over 80 categories, they only present a mere 10 of them. This year was more of the same, but there were a few bright spots in an overall lackluster night.
The show started off with none other than the king and queen of music. A silhouette is sitting on the stage as “Drunk in Love” started to play. Then Beyoncé started to belt out her signature song from her new album. To be honest, the woman is flawless. She emits so much power, while giving a performance that reminds us why she is known as “Queen B.”
However, once Jay-Z joined the song, the energy began to fade. Not to take away from the Grammy award-winning rapper, but it looks like his best days of performing are behind him.
LL Cool J took the stage to give an opening monologue. The rapper-turned-actor has hosted these kudos for the past three years, and despite some small laughs, he was not able to overcome the heavily-scripted, forced humor of the writing.
The rightful winner of “Song of the Year,” Lorde, took the stage to sing her No.1 hit, “Royals.” She performed a stripped-down version of the song that brought her international flair complete with her trademark “twitch.”
After forgettable performances by the likes Katy Perry, Hunter Hayes and John Legend, we came to the queen of country herself: Taylor Swift. Her choice to perform the lesser known and slower “All Too Well” off her nominated album was a risky but smart move, for she performed the song with great emotion and passion.
As Bruno Mars made his introduction for Pink, there was anxiety. Her performance was being advertised as one that will go down in history. Then she descended from the ceiling riding on two silks and began an aerial performance to her song “Try.” It would have made history had she not done it at the Grammys just four years prior.
When fun. front man Nate Ruess joined the song to perform the nominated “Just Give Me a Reason,” the energy completely changed. He has such a powerful voice, as does Pink. However, in this performance, he absolutely out-sang her.
Shortly after, Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons began to sing a stripped-down version of their hit song “Radioactive,” then the stage exploded as the familiar tune of “M.A.A.D. City” began to blare out. The entire band bursted with life when Kendrick Lamar began spitting out the title track of his Grammy-nominated album.
The absolutely charming and slightly unknown Kacey Musgraves performed her song “Follow Your Arrow,” which leads me to believe that she may soon dethrone Taylor Swift as the queen of country music (she beat Swift out in the “Best Country Album” and “Best Country Song” categories).
Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams, Stevie Wonder and Nile Rogers took the stage to perform a medley of “Le Freak” from Nile Rogers, “Another Star” from Stevie Wonder and of course Daft Punk’s “Record of the Year” winning hit “Get Lucky.” To watch these legends on the stage was wonderful and entertaining, proving that great music is timeless.
The French electronic duo also dominated the rest of the night, winning four awards, including “Album and Record of the Year.” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were also big winners, taking in four awards including “Best New Artist” in addition to sweeping the rap categories, which should have gone to Compton native Kendrick Lamar.
Macklemore, along with Madonna, Mary Lambert and Queen Latifah, officiated a mass wedding with gay and straight couples set to their nominated song “Same Love.” While I appreciated the gesture, I found the event a bit gimmicky and frankly over the top, even by Grammys’ standards.
Despite the odd matches of performances, boring award choices and controversies, the Grammys were, as LL Cool J said it, “… a true celebration of the power of music to free us, to move us, to inspire us, to totally surprise us … music unleashes us.”