The Grammys were amazing this year! Well, no. Actually, they were entirely on brand, just like last year: Boring and bloated. And, this time, you could add a third “B” to the mix: Ballad-heavy. Ballads everywhere! Either no one exchanges notes in the production studio, or they purposely wanted to have the audience nodding off in between awards. Ballads, ballads everywhere! Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani? Ballad. Beyonce? Ballad. Ariana Grande? Ballad. Kanye West? Ballad. Katy Perry? Ballad. Some were good. Some were awful. But everywhere you looked, there was another ballad. Yeesh.
On the plus side, there were some standout performances: Despite a shaky start, Madonna had us living for love with her minotaur-fighting duel, and Annie Lennox gave us surprise chills with her “I Put A Spell On You.” Even more of a surprise? Kristen Wiig swinging in for a spot-on take of “Chandelier” with Maddie Ziegler and Sia that was undeniably fascinating to watch. Sam Smith, the major winner of the night, supplied his usual classy performance of “Stay With Me,” while Mary J. Blige gave the song an added punch. And our favorite jazzy sweethearts, Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, delighted with a bit of classic Hollywood glamour and nostalgic delight while dancing cheek to cheek.
Madonna’s cameo during Macklemore‘s “Same Love” mass-marriage performance during last year’s ceremony was a bit like seeing your crazy aunt in grillz crash a wedding, so it was wonderful to see Madonna back in proper pop star mode in 2015. From the boob-baring outfit to the choreography to the oh-so-dramatic lift-off into the air, Madonna made a massive splash amid a sea of lifeless performances.
Pink Gal RiRi
Rihanna came to the event looking like a giant pink shower poof. And she did it well! Is there any look Rih can’t pull off? In fact, there is not. Not only did everyone’s favorite Navy commander dazzle on the red carpet, but she pulled off a highly emotive, effective and stripped-down performance of her lead single, “FourFiveSeconds” later that night. That Rihanna reign…
Now You Sia, Now You Don’t
Every performance from Sia’s 1000 Forms Of Fear campaign has been something worth talking about, and her Grammys performance was certainly no exception. Kristen Wiig?! A genius — and surprisingly serious — move that worked to shake things up with some wonderful weirdness during an otherwise dull ceremony.
That Sam Smith Reign
Yay for Sam Smith! Our Class Of ’14 breakout graduate certainly had the best night out of everyone, scooping up an armful (or two!) of awards for his In The Lonely Hour smash, “Stay With Me.” Nice to see great talent recognized!
That “Over It” Snippet
When Smash goddess Katherine McPhee walked out to present, they played a little bit of her (also smash) 2007 debut single, “Over It.” Everything felt briefly perfect in that moment, if only for a second.
The AC/DC Opening
What was that? Nothing screams relevancy in 2015 like AC/DC, right? Oh wait, no one? Alright, then. Just checking.
Bey Was Robbed, And Kanye And Kim Got Rude
Look, we were all pretty much pulling for Beyoncé (or possibly Sam Smith, sure) to win Album Of The Year, so it was shocking when Beck’s name was called as the winner. But this Yeezy/Kim K shade? Not a good look. Not only did Kanye jokingly attempt to storm the stage as an homage to his Taylor Swift “I’mma let you finish…” years ago, but he then went on a rant after the show about how Beck should have “respected artistry” and given his award to Bey. Doing the absolute most, Ye! And then Kim with that “This is the Beck won that award face?!?!?!” Instagram right after? Nope, nope, nope.
Sia’s written singles for everyone from Rihanna to Beyoncé to Britney Spears to Celine Dion, but she can’t snag a gilded gramophone of her own for the (highly deserved) “Chandelier”? Not even for the critically acclaimed video, which somehow lost out to Pharrell‘s “Happy”? There is no justice in this world.
Okay. How are you going to perform “Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart,” Miss Grande?! Especially with the vastly superior “One Last Time” on the way? And you too, Gwen? A massive comeback campaign and you’re duetting with Adam on a dreary ballad? Katy blew all her energy on the Super Bowl performance and gave us Prism as interpreted by shadow puppets. And while Bey took us all to church during the show’s grand finale, we can’t help but feel a bit bitter that we didn’t get even one hip thrust or holy twerk. Ah, well. After being snubbed for AOTY, she didn’t owe us anything, anyway.
That Sam Smith Reign
Okay! Enough already, Sam Smith! While we were just as glad to see Sam sweep the night with his worthy tune, it would have also been nice to see a few other nominees win in his categories. Ah, well…
The Other Grande
Did we really need to see his reaction after every performer? Blurgh.
What did you think of the show? Sound off in the comments below.