As always, the Grammy Awards boasted a 3½-hour telecast — with very few actual awards given out. But the show is all about performances anyway, so it doesn’t really matter. Here are 10 things you missed.
1. No one can top Taylor Swift.
Grammy prognosticators weren’t too sure about the forecast for the coveted album of the year prize when Swift lost out on a few early pop awards and Kendrick Lamar had all the momentum. But Swift ultimately remains invincible — her hugely successful “1989” album landed the top prize. And what a relief: As Swift told Grammy voters during a special recording academy event, she went home and cried after she lost in the category a few years ago.
Swift didn’t hesitate using her platform to call out Kanye West, who recently took credit for Swift’s superstardom, thanks to the time he crashed her VMA acceptance speech. In a not-so-subtle dig, Swift directed her comments to young women: “There are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame,” she said. “But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going, you’ll look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you who put you there.”
2. Adele sounds … terrible?!
The world braced itself for another stunning performance by songstress Adele, but things quickly went awry for the British powerhouse. There were strange sounds that sounded like an errant guitar, and her voice was oddly flat. What happened?! No need to panic: Later, Adele tweeted that piano mics fell on to the piano strings, which caused everything to be out of tune. And that she was planning to console herself with fast food. “S— happens,” she tweeted. Stars really are just like us.
3. Kendrick Lamar gives the performance of the night but misses out on the big awards.
You couldn’t tear your eyes away from the screen when Lamar performed “The Blacker the Berry” and “Alright,” a performance that opened with his hands in chains and his backup performers in prison cells before developing into a (literally) fiery background behind him. Though he picked up a televised award for best rap album for “To Pimp a Butterfly,” he lost out on song of the year to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” and album of the year to Swift.
4. Now you’ll really never be able to get tickets to “Hamilton.”
The Broadway cast of “Hamilton” performed the opening number from the show, injecting a much-needed shot of energy into a ceremony that was chock-full of very slow ballads. The soundtrack won best musical theater album, and if you were wondering why it made the televised ceremony, it was because Lin-Manuel Miranda rapped his acceptance speech. Combined, it ensured the smash musical will be sold out for at least the next three years.
5. So many tributes.
Lady Gaga paid tribute to the late David Bowie, so naturally she used a robot piano and had psychedelic colors crawling all over her face.
Eagles band members and Jackson Browne honored Glenn Frey with an emotional performance of “Take It Easy,” while Chris Stapleton, Gary Clark Jr. and Bonnie Raitt sang “The Thrill is Gone” as an ode to B.B. King. In one of the more random collaborations, Luke Bryan, John Legend, Demi Lovato and Meghan Trainor performed a Lionel Richie medley … with Lionel Richie jumping on stage at the end.
6. So many ballads.
From Little Big Town to Tori Kelly and James Bay to Sam Hunt and Carrie Underwood to Andra Day and Ellie Goulding, the Grammys had a very chill vibe this year. And by chill, we mean sleep-inducing.
7. Kanye West tried to upstage the show with tweets.
In the hours before the Grammys, West tweeted his criticisms of reviews of his new album. “To Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, New York Times, and any other white publication. Please do not comment on black music anymore,” he wrote, with myriad other thoughts.
8. “Uptown Funk” will never die.
The inescapable Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars dance anthem won the final prize, record of the year, beating out Swift (“Blank Space”); Sheeran (“Thinking Out Loud”); D’Angelo and the Vanguard (“Really Love”); and The Weeknd (“Can’t Feel My Face”).
9. Justin Bieber had a great night.
Not only did the Biebs win his first-ever Grammy (for best dance recording on Skrillex and Diplo’s “Where Are U Now”), but he also got to perform two songs. He stripped it down, figuratively this time, with an acoustic guitar version of his current hit “Love Yourself.”
10. Surprise guest Sofia Vergara.
Why, yes, that was the “Modern Family” actress performing with Pitbull in the grand finale, as the rapper sang his new single “Taxi.” No, no one was sure why she was there.