The 58th Grammys sparkled with a plethora of talent, some extremely fresh to the mainstream music industry in the past year. Taylor Swift opened the grandiose show; her blue bejeweled jumpsuit dazzled and complimented her cool-color rendition of “Out of the Woods” that showed off the pop star’s vocal range. Swift arrived at the red carpet with best friend Selena Gomez after Instagramming a video of the two getting ready for the show and excitedly screaming after they found out they won the Grammy for the “Bad Blood” music video. Quickly after her performance, Ice Cub and his son presented the award for Best Hip-Hop Album that rightfully belonged to Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. Lamar is breaking barriers with his racially relevant lyrics, and we at Roman’s Rap-Up agreed with the award, as Lamar was named our 2015 Album of the Year.
Sam Hunt and Carrie Underwood were the next highlight performance, singing a mash-up of “Take Your Time” and “Heartbeat.” Their country combo was strong and represented the genre well. Hunt is new to the scene and will continue to explode due to this unique combination of spoken and melody lyrics. Underwood has consistently given well-received music to the country fans – the Grammys couldn’t have picked a better duo to shoulder up their genre. The Weeknd also performed in the beginning of the show singing “Can’t Feel My Face” and “In the Night.” The male pop/R&B has dropped fire single after fire single; however, his live rendition is only a little above lukewarm in comparison to the other early Grammy powerhouse performers.
Lionel Richie’s tribute as he sat in the audience was filled to the brim with a range of musical favorites; John Legend, Demi Lovato, Luke Bryan, and Meghan Trainor are only a handful involved in the tribute. Legend’s piano skills and rich voice did not disappoint, and Demi Lovato’s fierce black and white pantsuit was overshadowed by her stellar range of Richie’s “Hello” that proved, once again, she’s grown past her shallow Disney Channel roots. Richie seemed to highly enjoy the performances from the audience and eventually joined the group onstage. Stevie Wonder and Penatonix performed a a-capella rendition that was absolutely breathtaking and created a standing ovation from the audience chock full of talent.
Ed Sheeran won Song of the Year for “Thinking Out Loud,” a beautiful love song about wanting to spend the rest of his life with his significant other and wanting to love her the same as when they were young. Sheeran has never won a Grammy until this year, and he is now the winner of multiple in one night including Best Pop Performance for “Thinking Out Loud.” In a parallel mood, Tori Kelly and James Bay performed a duo with a subtly beautiful tone that highlighted both of their unique tones. After, the Grammys panned to New York City to view a live performance of Hamilton, the musical that is using hip-hop in a unique way instead of the normal Broadway music. They proved why the musical is so hot right now; it’s so vastly different from the ‘typical’ play in so many ways.
Kendrick Lamar took the stage, and the performance level took to another level. It began in a jail with all African American men in a line chained together, referencing the movement of slaves. Lamar then switched to “Alright” with culturally dressed and painted dancers in front of a large fire. Lamar ended the performance solo with precise light and camera work that finished off a five-minute experience even from viewing on the couch at home. If viewers had any doubts of this rapper’s limit-pushing potential, they were squashed when the scenery altering, lyrically electrifying performance. If it wasn’t enough to hear Lamar, Adele followed up, coming out in a red, glittery dress that sparkled from head-to-toe. It was thrilling to hear her begin with a song other than “Hello;” the icon sang “All I Ask” with a simple pianist and guitar accompaniment. She was stunning in every way that a star in the music industry should be.
Justin Bieber began with an acoustic version of “Love Yourself” that quickly changed into a dramatic band version of “Where Are Ü Now?” It’s not that either of the performances was poor; more so that the combination of the acoustic with the changed-up version of “Where Are Ü Now?” was a lot to handle in the same performance. After Bieber, Meghan Trainor won New Artist of the Year, and she became really emotional onstage as she rocked her new brunette locks. Lady Gage followed up the award with the late David Bowie tribute that was the evolution of his musical career. It included a large- scale performance including intense lighting effects on her face as well as throughout the entire stage. Outfit changes also took pace onstage, and Gaga changed between multiple songs with rapidity.
B.B. King’s tribute exceeded expectations with a mix of old and new artists such as Bonnie Raitt and Chris Stapleton. Afterwards, Alabama Shakes made a solid indie rock performance in addition to Hollywood Vampires’ heavy metal performance with incorporated flames and intense face makeup. The Grammys did a lengthy tribute to those deceased over the past year per usual to an awards show.
Album of the Year went to Taylor Swift for 1989. Though the album is well done and a wonderful transition into the pop genre, Kendrick Lamar was short-changed with only the award for hip-hop album and not overall album. His music did something arguably more socially important than Swift’s transition. Record of the Year went to “Uptown Funk,” which became a huge dance classic over the past year with its groovy beat and fun lyrics. Pitbull closed the show with a fun, light performance featuring Sofia Vergara and Robin Thicke. It was confetti-bombed and brightly lit, creating a happy vibe to end the performance-packed night. The Grammys stage did not disappoint as another year of musical celebration comes to a close.