Last night’s 57th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony was not one for the books for several reasons: mainly, the lack of awards presented in the entire three-and-a-half-hour broadcast – a paltry sum of NINE out of the 83 total categories!
So what happened in the other three hours that awards weren’t being broadcast? A bloated roster of performances across all genres, with only several memorable ones in between. A common theme throughout nearly all was the usage of a gospel choir.
1. AC/DC – “Highway to Hell”
The legendary Australian rock band with a storied 40+ year career – the type of longevity artists of today dream about – kicked off the show with “Highway to Hell.” It seemed like an odd choice to place AC/DC as the opener when they weren’t nominated for an award or being given a lifetime achievement, but all was forgotten when an explosion of flames capped off a performance of one of rock’s most iconic tracks.
2. Hozier w/ Annie Lennox – “Take Me to Church / I Put A Spell on You”
Sometimes less is more. Hozier took to the stage with just a guitar to sing his hauntingly beautiful single “Take Me to Church” before being joined by Britain’s most successful female artist and LGBT icon Annie Lenox to sing “I Put A Spell on You.” Lennox’s live version rivaled the unforgettable Nina Simone cover with her sheer vocal talent. Only at the Grammy’s would a moment like this happen.
3. Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga – “Cheek to Cheek”
If there was any question about Lady Gaga’s talent behind all of the makeup and costumes, this number dispelled them all. Her voice served as a perfect foil for Bennett’s as they exchanged verses in Irving Berlin’s 1935 jazz standard. Despite the 60-year age difference between the pair, the performance was a master showcase in vocal excellence, and it was only fitting that they took home the award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.
4. Sam Smith w/ Mary J. Blige – “Stay With Me”
In Smith’s first Grammy outing as a solo artist, he walked away with four awards out of his six nominations. The coveted Record of the Year and Song of the Year both went to “Stay With Me.” Backed by a large orchestra, Smith sang his breakthrough hit before being joined by Blige. There were no fussy visuals, no smoke and mirrors – just two people with immense vocal ability belting with enough emotion to melt hearts.
5. Sia – “Chandelier”
Perhaps the biggest snub of the evening was the fact this song won NOTHING. Maybe the Recording Academy doesn’t like how Sia refuses to show her face, but the jaw dropping performance featured a ceiling of low hanging light bulbs, a dirty hallway, Kristin Wiig dancing (!!) and the powerhouse chorus that’s been engrained in everyone’s head for months since its release.
Televised Awards List
After all is said and done, many talented artists walked away from the Staples Center with awards they rightfully deserved. It was a rather tame evening until Beck’s album received the highest honor of the year over Beyoncé, and Kanye West nearly repeated his 2009 MTV Video Music Award incident.
The order in which the awards were televised also deviated from years past, with Best New Artist being presented first and Album of the Year being presented third to last.
Best New Artist – Sam Smith
Best Pop Solo Performance – Pharrell Williams “Happy (Live)”
Best Pop Vocal Album – Sam Smith In the Lonely Hour
Best Rock Album – Beck Morning Phase
Best R&B Performance – Beyoncé “Drunk in Love”
Best Country Album – Miranda Lambert Platinum
Album of the Year – Beck Morning Phase
Song of the Year – Sam Smith “Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)”
Record of the Year – Sam Smith “Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)”
For a complete list of all 83 categories and their winners, click here.