The 60th annual Grammy Awards took place in New York City on Sunday night, with returning host James Corden keeping the 3.5 hour showing running smoothly. As usual, the night was full of big awards and big performances, with the ceremony ranging in moments from good, to bad, to downright ugly.
Here are the highs and lows from the 2018 Grammy Awards.
Kendrick Lamar’s opening performance featured strong political messages, an army of incredible dancers, and comedian Dave Chappelle reminding viewers that “The only thing more frightening than watching a black be honest in America is being an honest black man in America.” Damn, indeed.
Jay Z may have walked home empty handed after 4:44 lost out in multiple categories, but his daughter Blue Ivy provided the GIF of the night when she instructed her parents to stop clapping so she could hear.
Not far behind Blue Ivy was Rihanna’s viral moment. The singer took the stage to perform “Wild Thoughts” with DJ Khaled and Bryson Tiller and lived her best life. Yas, Bad Gal.
Lady Gaga’s performance of “Joanne/A Million Reasons” with Mark Ronson was not only stunning because of the singer’s voice and gown, but we love that Mother Monster managed to slide a Time’s Up reference into her short performance.
Although not asked to perform, Lorde still made a statement during Sunday night’s show by wearing a the poem “The Apocalypse Will Blossom” by Jenny Holzer on her dress.
Alessia Cara was the only woman to take home an award in a major category, winning Best New Artist on Sunday night. The Brampton, ON native made history by becoming the first Canadian to ever win the highly sought-after award.
Camila Cabello spoke for all the Dreamers and immigrants in the U.S. who are currently living in fear under the Trump administration. Said Cabello, “I’m a proud Cuban-Mexican immigrant born in Eastern Havana, standing in front of you on the Grammy stage in New York City. And all I know is, just like dreams, these kids can’t be forgotten and are worth fighting for.”
Janelle Monae gave an impassioned speech while introducing Kesha, with the singer and actor saying “We come in peace, but we mean business. And to those who would dare try and silence us, we offer you two words: Time’s up. We say time’s up for pay inequality, time’s up for discrimination, time’s up for harassment of any kind, and time’s up for the abuse of power. Because, you see, it’s not just going on in Hollywood, it’s not just going on in Washington— it’s right here in our industry as well. And just as we have the power to shake culture, we also have the power to undo the culture that does not serve us well.”
The best performance of the night went to Kesha and her team of warriors. Joined on stage by Bebe Rexha, Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, Julia Michaels, Andra Day, and the Resistance Revival Chorus; the women wore all white to support the Time’s Up movement. It was a powerful image to go along with Kesha’s single “Praying,” which was written in response to years of alleged sexual and emotional assault inflicted on the musician by her former producer, Dr. Luke.
While most of the acts of solidarity on Sunday night were by women, Logic used his performance with Alessia Cara and Khalid to address immigration and women’s rights in the U.S. “To all the beautiful countries filled with culture, diversity and thousands of years of history: You are beautiful,” said Logic. “And lastly, on behalf of those who fight for equality in a world that is not equal, not just and not ready for the change we are here to bring: I say unto you, bring us your tired, your poor, and any immigrant who seeks refuge. For together we can build not just a better country, but a world that is destined to be united.”
“Despacito” was undoubtedly the biggest song of 2017, outselling Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” and breaking YouTube records. Although the song was nominated for three Grammys, Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee went home empty handed. If a Spanish song as big as “Despacito” can’t win a Grammy, what can?
Lorde was the only female artist nominated for Record of the Year and unlike her male counterparts, she was not offered a solo spot to perform a song from Melodrama. Instead, Lorde was asked to perform as part of the Tom Petty tribute, which she turned down. Lorde’s mother Sonja Yelich clapped back on Twitter with an article displaying how few women have received Grammy nominations through the years.
— Sonja Yelich (@sonjayelich1) January 26, 2018
Nothing against Shaggy and Sting’s performance, but why are we watching a performance from Shaggy and Sting?
Breakout artist SZA picked up five nominations this year, with Jay Z’s poignant 4:44 scoring eight nominations, yet both artists went home empty-handed. WHAT?!
Sunday night’s Grammy awards featured two Broadway performances and while we loved both, it seemed like the wrong venue. It also seemed like these were time slots that could have gone to female nominees, like Lorde and Alessia Cara.
Speaking of time that could have been better spent with performances, Grammy President Neil Portnow telling women they need to step up felt like a slap in the face after so few women won during Sunday’s show.