Grammys day started off as a somber occasion with the news of the sudden death of Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, sending shockwaves across the world. It seemed paradoxical that the Grammys would be celebrating a night of grand performances at the Staples Center, because hours earlier grieving fans swarmed around the arena to pay homage to Bryant in the same place he spent most of his career. It was an emotional night to get through but singer Alicia keys, who also hosted the Grammys, opened up the show with a heartfelt speech honoring Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna Maria. “We’re literally heartbroken here in the house Kobe Bryant built.” Keys said. Boyz II Men joined her on stage to sing “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday,” which moved the already saddened audience. In an attempt to push the energy in a positive direction before the show began, she made a point to remind the everyone that “music is the one language that we all speak, it doesn’t matter where it’s from,”.
Although no one could imagine that they would have to go on with the show on such a sad occasion, the musicians proved that often times it’s music that can heal the deepest of wounds. Here are some of the most notable moments from this years Grammy awards.
Lizzo’s kicks off the show
Lizzo opened the show with her own mini tribute to Kobe and then set the stage on fire with some of her album’s greatest hits. Her high energy set included a rousing full orchestra and whimsical ballerinas that perfectly matched the vivacity of her performance. Her infamous sidekick “Sasha Flute” descended onto the stage to join her in a riveting melody as her dancers swayed in the background. As usual, the viewers couldn’t get enough of her audacious in-your-face performance. Later in the night she won Grammys for Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Traditional R&B Performance and Best Urban Contemporary Album, all of which she graciously accepted. “This is unexpected, really, cool, but I want to say– this whole week, I could be lost in my problems, stressed out, and then in an instant, all of that can go away and your priorities really shift…” she said referencing the news of Kobe Bryant.
Usher, FKA Twigs and Sheila E. gave a powerful tribute to the late superstar Prince. They performed some of his best hits including “When Doves Cry” and “Kiss”. Some viewers felt the performance was underwhelming, especially in comparison to the electrifying Grammy tribute Bruno Mars and The Time did in 2017. On the other side, some viewers gave a standing ovation. Nonetheless, the tribute is one of the biggest moments of the night.
Ariana Grande’s sultry performance
Ariana Grande made a return to the Grammys this year, after boycotting the awards last year. She entered the awards with 5 nominations including Best Pop Vocal Album and Album of the Year. She gave a stellar performance that started with her song “Imagine” afterwards, moving to a sultry performance of The Sound of Music’s “My Favorite Things”. The stage was set as a modern version of the Vonn Trapp’s family bedroom as Ariana and her background dancers pranced around in pink and plush nightwear. She followed up this performance with “7 Rings” and concluded her set with a chilling vocal performance of “Thank U, Next”.
Tyler the creator wins best rap album
One of the most eye-popping performers of the night was Tyler The Creator who won his first Grammy ever for Best Rap Album. His set included “Earfquake” and “New Magic Wand”, some favorites from his latest album IGOR. He showed up on stage dressed in a blonde wig and pink suit, giving life to his alter ego, Igor. Boyz II Men and Charlie Wilson joined him on stage for a visually captivating and highly animated performance.
Nipsey Hussle Tribute
Meek Mill and Roddy Rich opened up the tear jerking Nipsey Hussle Tribute that featured some of the most respected players in Hip-Hop and Gospel. DJ Khaled, John Legend, Kirk Franklin all performed their song “Higher” that also featured verses from Nipsey Hussle. The tribute concluded with an image of both Nipsey Hussle and Kobe Bryant on the screen, two very influential stars not only around L.A. but around the world.
Billie Ellish sweeps the Grammys
One of the most glaring things about this year’s Grammys was Billie Ellish taking home 5 Grammys, the most won out of any other artist this year. Ellish, who gave performances throughout the night, seemed humbled but confused as to why she won so many categories. Awkwardly enough, each time she went up to the podium to accept, she restated she didn’t know why and rejected the notion that she deserved the awards over the many other nominees. She even stated that Ariana Grande deserved Best Pop Vocal Album of The Year over her. Nevertheless, it was a proud moment for Billie and her fans.
Lil Nas X’s Star-studded performance
My personal favorite performance from the entire show was seeing Lil Nas X and his a star-studded performance of “Old Town Road”. The stage was decorated as a living room with cartoons playing in the background and a Kobe Bryant jersey laid across one of the chairs. He sat on a couch with a guitar in his hand and started strumming along to the beginning lines of the song. He then jumped up giving more energy to his act, and the stage started to rotate revealing BTS was on the other side, ready for their part of the remix. As the performance moved on, the stage revealed other artists who remixed the song including Mason Ramsey, Diplo, the loveable Billy Ray Cyrus. The performance was upbeat and vibrant. Lil Nas X kept us on our toes with his gaudy costume changes as he moved through each scene in the set. Finally, viewers got one last surprise as Nas (the original rapper) joined Lil Nas X on stage. The genre-blending set was perfectly on-brand for the Grammys.
All-in-all the stars of the night pushed forward to bring a dynamic energy and amazing performances to keep us entertained. Although grief was heavy in the air, they proved once again that music is the driving force connecting us all to each other.
By: Mecca Fowler
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