Arts and Entertainment

A look at this year’s Grammy performances

This year, the 58th Annual Grammy Awards, or the “biggest night in music,” brought new talent and sentimental tributes onto the big stage. From the Lionel Richie Tribute (which featured John Legend, Demi Lovato, Meghan Trainor and Luke Bryan) to Taylor Swift’s empowering speech, to Gwen Stefani’s live music video, this year’s show brought together…
<a href="" target="_self">Isabella Balandran</a>

Isabella Balandran

February 22, 2016

This year, the 58th Annual Grammy Awards, or the “biggest night in music,” brought new talent and sentimental tributes onto the big stage. From the Lionel Richie Tribute (which featured John Legend, Demi Lovato, Meghan Trainor and Luke Bryan) to Taylor Swift’s empowering speech, to Gwen Stefani’s live music video, this year’s show brought together unique facets of various music genres. Check out these highlights from the Grammys.

Kanye or Kan-‘nay?
On Sunday, Feb. 14, a day before the Grammys, Kanye West tweeted “I’m practicing my Grammy Speech. I’m not going to the Grammys unless they promise me the Album of the Year!!!” The Grammys had the perfect response to his rude remark with: “@kanyewest is your Recording Academy memberships still active? Make sure you vote!” Maybe next year, Kanye will learn a cocky attitude gets you nowhere, even if you are Yeezy.

Kendrick Lamar lights up the stage
Kendrick Lamar gave one of the night’s most stunning performances. The performance provided Lamar with a political platform to address the issue of African-American incarceration rates. Not only was his performance motivational, it was a display of pure artistry. The stage was transformed into different scenes including a jailhouse and massive bonfire. Lamar’s vocal delivery was close to perfection. His performance just might be enough to inspire viewers to start a dialogue about racial injustice.

Taylor Swift makes Grammy award history
Taylor Swift opened the night with a performance of “Out of the Woods.” Dressed in a glittering black jumpsuit, she took the stage and announced “Hello and welcome to the 2016 Grammys, but right now it’s 1989.” While the background music played softly in the background, Swift showed her true vocal talent through her big notes. Swift stayed true to her usual performance style, with an elaborate woodsy backdrop and a variety of dance moves.

Later in the night, Swift won a Grammy for Album of the Year, making her the first woman to win this award twice. It was in her acceptance speech that she not only took the opportunity to thank her fans and the people involved in her album but also to throw some underlying shade at Kanye West. In his new song, West recently took credit for Swift’s fame. Swift got back at him by telling women to not let others take credit for the work they have put into their accomplishments.

Tori Kelly and James Bay gives fans an “Unbreakable Smile”
One of the best moments of the night was the breathtaking duet between Tori Kelly and James Bay. Both of their personal songs, combined into one beautiful musical number, were a privilege to witness. Their acoustic performance was simple, with both artists accompanied by a microphone and guitar on stage. While a blue light illuminated them, Kelly and Bay then performed facing each other the entire time. Their simple, yet stunning performance showcased why Kelly and Bay are two artists on the rise.

Eagles’ tribute to Glenn Frey soars
2016 has been a rough year for the music industry, with paragons such as David Bowie, Ian Fraser Kilmister (Lemmy) of Motörhead and Glenn Frey of the Eagles all passing away within a few months of each other. Bowie and Lemmy’s tributes were fantastic in their own right but the best performance at the Grammys would have to go to the Eagles’ Glenn Frey tribute. Members Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit delivered a simple, elegant and memorable performance of the 1972 hit “Take It Easy.” Music icon Jackson Browne filled in for Glenn and made sure the Frey’s tribute was as close to the man as he could get it. Rather than a sad affair, the Eagles delivered an uplifting and memorable performance that greatly captured Frey’s role in the band. Frey altered “Take It Easy,” originally a Browne song, in the early 70s to make it the Eagles’ own. Hopefully Frey is taking it easy amongst the other great rockers who have passed.

Gwen Stefani hits the “Target” with her live music video
Gwen Stefani’s iconic performance was one for the books. Stefani was the first artist to record and perform a live music video at the Grammys, to promote her album coming out later this year. With the help of Target, Stefani pulled off costume and set changes, as well as impressive choreography and stunts, all within four minutes. The song “Make Me Like You” was an obvious shout-out to her boyfriend, Blake Shelton. A stunt double took over during the roller skating scene, while Stefani moved to the next set. However, many were surprised when the stunt double fell causing the other skaters to fall on her. Whether the fall was intentional or not, it provided comic relief and reminded the audience that it was indeed a live performance.

Adele’s In-N-Out Sound Troubles
Adele performed her song, “All I Ask,” and it’s debatable on whether the performance was a success or complete failure. During Adele’s performance, the piano microphone fell on the piano strings. In addition to that, it seemingly made Adele’s performance out of tune. On Twitter, she said she skipped the after-party by treating herself to an In-N-Out burger. “Because of it though … I’m treating myself to an In-N-Out,” Adele said. “So maybe it was worth it.” Adele surely turned tables with that performance.

The Weeknd’s lackluster solo performance
The Weeknd performed his hit songs, “In The Night” and “Can’t Feel My Face,” completely disappointing the audience with his lack of enthusiasm. This top iTunes artist typically performs with an excitement and intensity that enthralls the audience, however, his Grammy performance was slow and stale. His vocals were off the entire performance, making it unpleasant for the audience to bear. Overall, The Weeknd’s performance may have been the worst of the night.

Justin turns his fans into “non-Beliebers”

Following his comeback year of 2015, Justin Bieber has earned back the love of the American people. His Grammy performance was one that was looked forward to, but his shaky vocals disappointed many of those watching. Playing an acoustic rendition of his hit song “Love Yourself,” Justin ended the song by slamming his guitar on the ground and running to meet Diplo and Skrillex on the main stage to perform the hit dance song “Where Are Ü Now.” Sporting an animal print suit and bleached hair under a backward cap, Bieber’s performance resembled the flamboyance of his outfit choice. Although “Beliebers” will testify to Justin’s performance being amazing, questionable dance moves and the simplicity of the acoustic rendition that highlighted the voice crack, made the performance just a little unbelievable.

Beyoncé didn’t perform
No explanation necessary.

This article was collaboratively written by the staff of Mater Dei’s student news site, the Scarlet Scroll.

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