The night of the Grammy Awards Show has historically been one of elegance and unparalleled talent. Top musicians from around the world are gathered into one place, for one single evening, to be honored and to perform their most popular hits. Needless to say, they show up looking and sounding their very best.
For a general rundown of the major moments of the 2015 Grammy Awards:
The greatest shock of the night was when the dark horse Beck took the ‘Best Album of the Year’ title away from Beyonce Knowles. Not many people had heard of the band Beck before that night, and it was definitely an upset.
But what’s the big deal? After all, Beyonce had only surprise-dropped her own self-produced album, which completely modernized her sound and addressed major social issues. An album that flew off of the shelves, real and metaphorical, and revitalized Beyoncé’s fan base.
Rihanna got off to a rocky start by showing up looking like a bubblegum-scented loofah.
But when performing “FourFiveSeconds” with Paul McCartney and Kanye West, “Yeezus”, she most certainly made up for the fashion faux-pas with her power suit, slicked back hair-do, and statement diamond necklace; not to mention her vocal prowess.
Kanye performed at the Grammy Awards for the first time in six years. Almost as if to prove that there was more to him than when he ripped an award away from a teenaged Taylor Swift all those years ago, he sang “Only One” on a darkened stage. The song is from the point of view of his late mother and is dedicated to his only daughter, North. However, he did have the courage to mock his prior misdeeds by jokingly charging the stage when Beck won over Beyonce for ‘Best Album of the Year’.
Sia’s performance was awaited by the many avid fans of her hit song “Chandelier”, and shocked audiences by including Kristen Wiig in the dance routine. I’m still not completely sure why that happened. Is anyone?
Ed Sheeran performed his tender ballad “Thinking Out Loud” on-stage with John Mayer. The sobs of teenage girls were heard nationwide.
Madonna’s performance was just plain strange. She was the apparent matador of Satan’s hunky masked bulls, and gave off the distinct impression, to me at least, that she was trying way too hard to stay relevant.
Sam Smith stole the show by walking away with four Grammy awards and becoming the “male Adele”. He made a killer speech, which was reminiscent of Adele’s when he said, “I want to thank the man who this record is about. Thank you so much for breaking my heart because you got me four Grammys!”. Through that speech, he simultaneously cracked the audience up and turned the evening into a touchstone event for the LGBTQ community by publicly voicing his sexuality for the world to hear.
But this year, outside of the amazing couture and performances, the Grammy Awards had even more to offer. The Grammy Gods decided that they would use their diverse and well-respected platform to discuss topics such as domestic abuse and racial equality.
Obama introduced the topic of domestic violence via video.
This speech was then followed up by a slam poet and survivor of abuse, Brooke Axtell, who performed as a precursor to Katy Perry’s performance.
Now, some members of the audience might have been thinking sentiments along the lines of “Why is this necessary at an awards show? I just want to see what Madonna shows up in, get your social justice out of my face.”
The airtime dedicated to addressing a major issue in contemporary society was well worth the audience’s time. By choosing the Grammy Awards to discuss domestic violence, a wider and more diverse audience heard a message presented by the leader of the free world and an inspirational survivor. Having those two people speak on behalf of abuse victims was no accident, either. Obama was involved to make sure the message was taken seriously, and Brooke Axtell was there to convey that there was hope. Chris Brown must have been quaking in his boots.
Prince foreshadowed how the show would end with the quote, “Albums, like books and black lives, still matter”. Beyonce introduced the song “Glory” with her rendition of the song “Take My Hand, Precious Lord”. Both songs are in the movie Selma, a film about Martin Luther King Junior. The latter was supposedly one of MLKJ’s favorite songs, and is one of Beyonce’s as well (as fans could probably guess from her powerful performance).
“Glory” was then performed by John Legend and Common to close the show. During the song, Common lifted up his hands in reference to the Michael Brown tragedy down in Ferguson.
The two vocal acts combined resulted in a powerful acknowledgement of the recent plague of killings of unarmed black men by white police officers. Again, the Grammys used their platform to make sure that societal injustices would not go unaddressed.
The 2015 Grammy Awards Show was magnificent in all of the usual ways, but was made into a night to remember by the acknowledgement of far-reaching societal issues by major artists.