The 62nd annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles aired live this past Sunday, Jan. 27. As always, it was a night of victory, defeat, surprise and, of course, a few snubs. If you happened to miss the year’s biggest night in music, here is a look at of some of the event’s biggest moments…good and bad.
Best: Alicia Keys’ tribute to Kobe Bryant
Joined by R&B group Boyz ll Men, host Alicia Keys delivered a short, a-cappella performance of “It’s Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday,” commemorating late, long-standing NBA legend Kobe Bryant. The widely-praised Los Angeles Lakers alum tragically passed away Sunday in a helicopter crash alongside his daughter and several others. Keys’ message for the audience was one of love. Beautifully-spoken, it seemed to touch the hearts of many in attendance.
Worst: The constant bleeping
At one point in the show, it seemed as if there was not going to be a single performance or acceptance speech not riddled with the audible “*****.” From Lizzo to Billie Eilish to Ariana Grande, it seemed as if everyone was constantly under strict censorship. In the future, it would be nice (assuming they don’t already) if they warned artists to steer clear of profanity ahead of time, instead of bleeping out entire sections of performance due to one swear word.
Best: Tyler the Creator’s heartfelt acceptance speech
After winning his first Grammy for Best Rap Album for “IGOR,” the rapper delivered a heartfelt thank you speech. Usually outlandish and vulgar, the speech was pleasant as he kept things personal by thanking his mother– proudly standing next to him in tears– for “raising him right.” Later, he mentioned how much of an inspiration singer and producer Pharrell Williams has been to him, saying that Williams let him “be comfortable with himself and has opened up doors you cannot imagine.”
Best: Demi Lovato’s triumphant return
After a tough year and a half, Lovato returned to the Grammy’s Stage for her first televised performance since the heart-wrenching news of her overdose shocked fans in 2018. She struggled to sing through her tears at first, but ended up delivering an insanely moving and touching performance of her new single “Anyone,” receiving a standing ovation. The single addresses her hardships throughout her relapse. This graceful performance was definitely one of the greatest of the night.
Worst: Alicia Keys’ extremely awkward piano monologue
Shortly after Lizzo’s commanding opening performance, Keys took the stage in what seemed like an attempt to show love to the night’s biggest nominees. However, the act went a little south when the celebrities in attendance seemed confused as to what was happening; the moment felt like it lasted fifteen minutes. A for effort, though.
Best: Anything Ariana Grande
The reigning pop princess may have left empty-handed, but with the looks she served, she still stole the show. After shutting down the red carpet with the debut of a gorgeous new blonde hairdo and rocking three gorgeous, Cinderella-inspired gowns, the highly awarded performer killed a medley of hit songs from her past album. The smash performance was complete with a stunning costume reveal, a twist in the lyrics of “Thank U, Next” to honor her mom and dad in attendance, a gorgeous rendition of The Sound of Music’s “My Favorite Things” and even featured Grande in a full split that looked like something straight out of “Bring It On.” What a queen.
With a set that came off as a little too blaring and messy, the Aerosmith performance featuring Run-DMC was seriously underwhelming. The medley of songs from the iconic band did not seem to rile up the crowd or bring much energy to the lengthy show– the one exception being Lizzo, who was caught rocking out, earning her a shout out from Steven Tyler himself.
Best: Lil Nas X
Perhaps one of the biggest cultural moments of the 2019 was the success of smash hit “Old Town Road,” which snatched the record for longest-running number one in history from Mariah Carey. This “biggest song of all-time” clearly deserved its own performance, which Lil Nas X delivered while rotating through feature artists including BTS, Mason Ramsey, Billy Ray Cyrus and even hip-hop legend Nas himself. The rapper, singer and songwriter was also able to showcase his insane fashion sense on the red carpet in a bright pink outfit from Versace. It’s clear the 20-year-old is here to prove that he’s no one-hit-wonder, leaving the show with two coveted trophies.
Best: Moments of sisterhood
It is hard being a woman in such a male-dominated industry, but last night’s show proved that many of today’s female musicians are in it together. From the moment when Album of the Year winner Billie Eilish shouted out Ariana Grande for being another incredibly deserving nominee to when Lizzo was seen praying for her idol Beyonce to win, the 62nd Grammy Awards was dominated by women supporting women.
Worst: Lack of powerful Grammy’s veterans
It was a bit saddening to see that in almost every category of the night, there was someone who was not in attendance. Many of these nominees who did not attend were some of the most celebrated musicians of recent decades, such as Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Taylor Swift. It is unknown why a lot of these acclaimed performers opted not to attend, but the night was certainly not the same without them.
Best: FKA Twigs and Usher’s tribute to Prince
Though it was a bummer that critically-acclaimed R&B singer FKA Twigs never found herself behind a mic, this perfectly executed set was still blissful. With Twigs showcasing her impressive pole dancing ability and the hot tango between her and Usher, this performance was anything but boring.
It is safe to say that 2019 was Lizzo’s year, and she left the celebration with three trophies in-hand to prove so. She opened the show with an enticing performance of songs “Cuz I Love You” and “Truth Hurts.” The energetic R&B singer was also seen many times throughout the event cheering on every winner and performer. Lizzo is the type of energy we need in 2020.