The 58th Annual Grammy Awards weren’t as full as surprises or upsets as they have been in years past, but the event still managed to entertain and sometimes puzzle us. (Who was it that dressed Stevie Wonder and Beyonce?)
Kendrick Lamar, the favored win of the night — he had no less than 11 nominations — didn’t walk away with the coveted Best Album of the Year or Record of the Year awards (those went to Taylor Swift for 1989 and Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars for “Uptown Funk,” respectively), but he did take home five golden gramophones for his outstanding work on To Pimp a Butterfly. On top of that, his performance was, bar none, the best moment of the evening.
To find out who did what, and when, check out our play-by-play Grammy coverage.
8:26 pm: Pitbull shakes things up with “Taxi” and is quickly followed by Tay-Tay’s return to the stage, who closes the show.
8:24 pm: Queen Bey announces the winner of Record of the Year is… “Uptown Funk,”Mark Ronson (featuring Bruno Mars).
8:21 pm: And the winner for Best Album of the Year is… 1989, Taylor Swift. Clutching her gold-plated award, TSwift took the opportunity to make a swipe at Kanye West, imploring women to never give up — no matter who stands in your way.
8:14 pm: Video tribute to artists we lost — David Bowie, Lemmy, Natalie Cole, B.B. King and many, many more — shows just how much great talent left the planet in the past year.
8:11 pm: From the Los Angeles Times: Hollywood Vampires: 185 years of rock among them onstage
8:09 pm: Common introduces the Grammys youngest nominee, 12-year-old piano prodigy Joseph Alexander. The kid dazzles the crowd as his fingers fly across the keys.
7:55 pm: Dave Grohl, no rock slouch, introduced the Hollywood Vampires, the rockin’, black-clad outfit that features Alice Cooper, Joe Perry and Johnny Depp (joined by Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum). But not before he payed tribute to rock god Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead, and admitted Lemmy’s influence led him to get an “Ace of Spades” tattoo. While Lemmy was largely indifferent to the Grammys, he would have been proud of the Vampires tribute to his signature song.
7:50 pm: Alabama Shakes bring the esoteric rock of their Grammy-winning song “Don’t Wanna Fight,” to the stage. And you’ve got to love Brittany Howard’s opening scream to the song — now, that’s rock ‘n’ roll.
7:38 pm: Bonnie Raitt announces the Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Ruth Brown; she then introduces Chris Stapleton, who she joins along with Gary Clark Jr., for a tribute to B.B. King with “The Thrill Is Gone.”
7:25 pm: Lady Gaga‘s tribute to David Bowie kicked off with “Space Oddity,” and quickly segued into a medley that featured “Changes,” “Spiders From Mars,” “Suffragette City,” “Rebel Rebel,” “Fame,” and other hits from our beloved Starman.
7:20 pm: And the winner for Best New Artist is… Meghan Trainor. A teary Trainor seemed genuinely surprised to have won, although she was so choked up that it was hard to understand what she was saying in her acceptance speech.
7:10 pm: First-time Grammy-winner Justin Bieber took the stage for a heartfelt “Love Yourself” and then was joined by Skrillex and Diplo for “Where Are Ü Now.” Regardless of what you think of the Biebs, he delivered a strong performance that far outshone some of the evening’s previous acts.
6:59 pm: Hello! Adele is onstage. But my oh my, seemed like the British songstress was faltering there a bit. (Los Angeles Times later reported that her performance was plagued by technical issues.)
6:55 pm: And the winner for Best Rock Performance is… “Don’t Wanna Fight,” Alabama Shakes. The award makes this the first-time nominees third win.
6:47 pm: And the winner for Best Musical Theater Album is… Hamilton. And Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s rapping acceptance speech was the best of the night. Things are heating up. Finally.
6:39 pm: Actor Don Cheadle, who recently played Miles Davis in the documentary Miles Ahead, quoted the jazz master when introducing Grammy-winner Kendrick Lamar: “Sometimes you have to play a long time to play like yourself.”
Lamar and his troupe, shackled in chains and decked out in inmate uniforms (an apt follow to the cast of “Hamilton”), are nothing but themselves and delivered the best performance of the evening so far. They owned that stage, driving home why Lamar’s pointed narratives about our current life and times are so compelling.
6:29 pm: From NYC, the cast of the Broadway play “Hamilton” deliver the potent theme, “Alexander Hamilton.” The historical hip-hop account of Hamilton — adviser to George Washington, and a Founding Father who was shot and killed by his Vice President Aaron Burr — is incredibly compelling musical theater.
6:25 pm: Tori Kelly and James Bay perform a medley of “Let It Go” and “Hollow.” The performance is keeping with the rest of evening’s mellow performances. Betting Lady Gaga is going to change that.
6:15 pm: Tribute to the Eagles‘ Glenn Frey with Jackson Browne on lead vocals for “Take It Easy.”
6:11 pm: And the winner for Song of the Year is… “Thinking Out Loud,” Ed Sheeran. In accepting the award, Sheeran thanked his parents for flying to L.A. for the past four years he’s been nominated and their relentless optimism in telling him, “Well, maybe next year.”
6:07 pm: Stevie Wonder and Pentatonix pay an a capella tribute to Earth, Wind & Fire‘s Maurice White.
6:02 pm: Ryan Seacrest introduces Little Big Town‘s performance of “Girl Crush” with the uplifting reminder, “Some songs fly to the top of the charts — this is not one of those songs.” The country act’s performance was top-notch, and the song’s delicately jaunty rhythms reveal exactly why this song did eventually make it to the top of the charts.
5:53 pm: Awesome shot: Dave Grohl grooving in his seat to “She’s a Brick House.”
5:49 pm: The medley tribute to Lionel Richie is nice and all, but it would have been great to let John Legend finish the Commodore’s “Easy Like Sunday Morning” because he was killing it.
5:41 pm: And the winner for Best Country Album is… Traveller, Chris Stapleton. Accepting the award, Stapleton first thanked Taylor Swift for glitter-bombing him before he thanked his wife (and co-singer) Morgane. What we really want to know is if there’s any plan to give us another performance like the one he and Justin Timberlake did at the Country Music Awards.
5:34 pm: Selena Gomez introduces Andra Day and Ellie Goulding. Day’s voice could melt the coldest heart.
5:28 pm: We all wish we could sing like The Weeknd. But why so low-key?
5:25 pm: Ariana Grande introduces The Weeknd, joking “he earned it,” before breaking into song echoing the sentiment. @karrieraspberry nailed it in her tweet: “I applaud
@ArianaGrande for owning that corny line some professional writer stuck her with.”
5:13 pm: Country stars Sam Hunt and Carrie Underwood perform “Take Your Time/Heartbeat.”
5:12 pm: And the winner for Best Rap Album is… To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar. “This is for hip-hop,” he said upon accepting the award. It’s no secret Butterfly eloquently addresses a number of social and political ills plaguing the country, and Lamar seems intent to carry on the real messaging that started with some of his Compton idols. Not a surprise win, but a deserved one.
5:10 pm: Host LL Cool J‘s opening monologue included shout outs to past performers (Adele, Lady Gaga, Elton John), a nod to David Bowie and a reminder that “with all that divides us today, our shared love of music unites us — all of us.”
5 pm: In front of a spooky backdrop and sporting a black sequined jumpsuit, Taylor Swift kicks off the 58th Annual Grammy Awards with “Out of the Woods.” Taking her seat after her performance, Swift got a warm hug from one of her BFFs, Selena Gomez.
4:55 pm: Host LL Cool J predicts that there will be plenty of chatter around Kendrick Lamar and that Lady Gaga‘s performance will be mind-altering.
4:50 pm: Andra Day gets mad props from CBS announcer on the red carpet. The soul songtress will perform in tonight’s telecast.
4:45 pm: The goodie bags are ready!
4:30 pm: The red carpet is heating up as nominees and other notables arrive at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. There’s been chatter about Tay-Tay’s new ‘do (a sassy bob) and crop top while Charlie Puth did a little beat boxing and Justin Bieber and James Corden were shown rolling down the road singing “Uptown Funk.”
Carrie Underwood flashed some big and beautiful bling her husband gave her for Valentine’s Day, Tori Kelly chatted about her upcoming performance with James Bay and Lionel Richie said he was on the prowl to find Adele. His first words to her? Well, “Hello,” of course.
3:40 pm: Talk about charm, Tony Bennett humbly accepts his 18th Grammy with a smile and a chuckle.
3:30 pm: This year, it seemed like the Grammys just couldn’t wait to start handing out awards, and a handful of nominees walked off with a gold-plated gramophone before the televised event began.
Those nominees included first-time winners Chris Stapleton (Best Country Solo Performance for “Traveller”) and Alabama Shakes (Best Alternative Music Album for Sound & Color” and Best Rock Song for “Don’t Wanna Fight”).
Other awards were passed out to D’Angelo for his comeback album, Black Messiah, Little Big Town‘s “Girl Crush” won for Best Country Song and it’s no surprise that Kendrick Lamar walked with an award for his track “Alright.”
Other pre-show winners include:
Best Pop Solo Performance: Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: Mark Ronson (featuring Bruno Mars), “Uptown Funk”
Best Pop Vocal Album: Taylor Swift, 1989
A complete list of nominees and winners is available on the Grammys website.
(Originally published at blog.napster.com)