THE BEST & WORST PERFORMANCES OF GRAMMYS 2016… According to Billboard, GuardianUK
The 2016 Grammys are in the books.
At times, the show was a somber occasion, as the Grammys paid tribute to the numerous musical icons we lost in the past year. Additionally, Rihanna was forced to cancel her performance and technical difficulties hampered Adele’s.
But there were highs, too. The sheer star power of the event assured there would be show-stopping performances, and artists like Kendrick Lamar and Alabama Shakes delivered.
Join us as we break down the best and worst moments of the night.
Kendrick Lamar Brings It
So yeah, Kendrick’s performance was incredible. A week after Beyoncé’s empowering performance at the Super Bowl, Lamar brought his interpretation of the black experience to another nationally televised stage. He came out bound in shackles, only to free himself bit by bit, as he and his backing crew tore through “The Blacker the Berry” and “Alright,” along with a new freestyle. The background shifted from jail to a bonfire to an image of Africa with “Compton” written across it. As soon as it ended, there was a palpable, distinct feeling Lamar’s performance would be impossible to top.
Hamilton Delivers Killer Performance, Then Wins Grammy
First, we got a taste of the Broadway musical. Filming live from the Richard Rodgers theater in New York City, the Hamilton stars wowed with the opening number from the hit musical, called (of course), “Alexander Hamilton.” And then, as if there was any doubt, Hamilton won the award for best musical theater album. Star Lin-Manuel Miranda rapped his own original acceptance speech to cap off a triumphant year for the show.
Alabama Shakes’ Big Night
The soul-rockers didn’t win album of the year, but that didn’t mean it was a down night for the ‘Bama natives. They took home three Grammys (for best rock song, best alternative music album and best engineered album) and wowed the audience with a spot-on rendition of “Don’t Wanna Fight.” Brittany Howard is a one-of-a-kind guitarist and vocalist, and a whole lot of new people now know it.
Gaga Does Bowie
So yeah, could anyone have done David Bowie’s legacy justice quite like Lady Gaga?
The Bieber, Skrillex and Diplo Show
Bieber and Skrillex on guitar? Sign us up.
Hot Takes That Left Us Cold
Kendrick’s performance was amazing, but this comparison… not so much.
Adele Isn’t Quite Herself
Adele performances are normally riveting, but this one was a little off from the start. The opening seconds of her “All I Ask” performance were muted due to apparent technical difficulties, and as the song wore on, it was clear that Adkins just wasn’t herself. Sound issues were partly to blame, as her voice is normally one of the best live forces out there. She did provide a charming ending, shouting out Kendrick (“You were amazing!”) as she walked offstage.
New Beyoncé Album Hoax? Don’t Do Us Like That
Many were hoping Beyoncé would surprise us with new music at some point during the night. Bey showed up briefly to present Record of the year to “Uptown Funk,” but aside from that, she had a relatively uneventful night. Then someone with a fake Tidal account decided to troll. In a since-deleted tweet, the impostor account promised a link to the new Beyoncé album, but sent us to Grimes’ 2015 album Art Angels on Tidal. Teasing us with Bey and turning Grimes’ great album into a Rick Roll? Not cool.
…AND FROM THE GUARDIAN:
Taylor Swift’s 1989 took the album of the year award at the 58th Grammy awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Monday night. Having opened the show with a version of her hit Out of the Woods, the singer made a defiant acceptance speech which seemed to allude to her argument with Kanye West earlier in the week. The rapper’s new song Famous, referring to Swift, claims: “I made that bitch famous.”
Swift pointed out in her speech that she is the first woman to win album of the year twice and added: “I want to say to all the young women out there – there are going to be people along the way who are going to try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame.”
Other famous women also had a testing night. Adele struggled through a performance of All I Ask which was bedevilled by technical difficulties in which her microphone cut out and an extra guitar – which some suggested was being played by Justin Bieber’s band warming up on the other stage – played over her song. The singer also sounded slightly out of tune at times…
Meanwhile, Lady Gaga’s tribute to David Bowie was a hectic mash-up of his most famous hits done in full glam rock regalia. The musical director was Nile Rodgers, who produced Bowie’s Let’s Dance album, but many thought Gaga had tried too hard, and even Bowie’s son Duncan Jones appeared to offer veiled criticism, tweeting: “overexcited or irrational, typically as a result of infatuation or excessive enthusiasm; mentally confused.” Damn it! What IS that word!?”
Kendrick Lamar won the most awards. The 28-year-old rap artist scooped five prizes: best rap song, best rap performance, best rap/sung collaboration, best music video and best rap album. He galvanized the event with a politically charged performance of The Blacker the Berry and Alright with a stage production that saw him coming on stage in chains, and finished with a map of Africa with the word “Compton” in the middle – his home city.
Lamar had received 11 nominations for this year’s Grammys, beating Eminem’s record as the rapper with the most nominations in a single night, and coming in second only to Michael Jackson for the most nominations ever. Taylor Swift and the Weeknd received seven nominations each. In other major categories, Meghan Trainor won best new artist, while Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk won record of the year and best pop duo/group performance.
After kicking off with the performance by a be-catsuited Swift, the biggest night in music was emceed by five-time host LL Cool J, who emphasized the diversity of the medium as a guiding light for a divided America looking to “celebrate the awesome power of music.”
What promised to be the night’s most high-octane performance – a set by Rihanna, who dropped a surprise album on unsuspecting ears last week – was canceled at the last minute. The Barbadian singer/songwriter was struck by a bout of bronchitis.