All the best (and worst) performances, ranked
Another Grammy Awards, another terrible upheaval.
After making history Sunday night as the most Grammy-winning artist of all time, Beyoncé was largely passed over for album of the year for “Renaissance” in favor of “Harry’s House” by Harry Styles. The snub has put a dark cloud over an otherwise happy occasion, as the Recording Academy spread the awards love between A-list artists Adele, Lizzo and Bonnie Raitt.
And with a few exceptions, the stacked performance lineup was also uniformly strong, even as the Trevor Noah-hosted telecast slipped around a fourth hour. Here are the best and worst musical moments from this year’s show:
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12. Luke Combs, “Go, Go, Disappear”
After the adrenaline rush of the all-star hip-hop tribute, Combs brought the Grammys back to earth with his tender rendition of his single “Growin’ Up,” delivering gritty vocals and evocative lyrics against the backdrop of the night sky. . It was a strong Grammys debut for the country artist, who unfortunately sat down with a third-hour time slot as viewers’ attention dried up.
11. Harry Styles, “As It Was”
Fresh off a win for Best Pop Vocal Album for “Harry’s House,” the British heartthrob creditably propelled her No. 1 hit “As It Was” onto the Grammys stage. Styles traded in her show-stopping red carpet jumpsuit for a frilly metallic ensemble, skipping and jumping on a giant turntable with her back-up dancers dressed in street clothes. The crooner looked understandably tired, given his rigorous touring schedule last year, and struggled even more with sound issues.
10. Sam Smith and Kim Petras, “Unholy”
After her historic Grammy win and an introduction from Madonna, Petras slipped onto the stage with Smith to perform their titillating track “Unholy.” Smith twirled downstage in a top hat adorned with a devil’s horn, but it was Petras who stole the show with a searing pyrotechnic display, assaulting the camera from inside a cage in steel.
9. DJ Khaled, ‘God Made’
If this is the last time we see Jay-Z at the Grammys, he certainly stepped out in style. The rap virtuoso closed the ceremony just minutes after his wife Beyoncé was once again up for album of the year, rapping DJ Khaled’s “God Did” alongside John Legend, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and Fridayy in a Last Supper-inspired setup. Even Jay knew he got away with the otherwise lukewarm performance, raising a glass at the end of his five-minute verse and saying, “You’re welcome!”
8. Brandi Carlile, “Broken Horses”
After a sweet introduction from his wife, Catherine Shepherd, and two daughters, the Americana singer gave an electrifying performance of her single “In These Silent Days.” With just strobe lights and a backing band, Carlile let her pulsating vocals do the heavy lifting – unleashing a truly incendiary guitar solo mid-song and earning a standing ovation from Taylor Swift.
7. Lizzo, ‘About Damn Time’ and ‘Special’
Lizzo continually brings top-notch showmanship to award show performances, and Sunday’s Grammys presentation was no exception. Wearing a short black dress and a jeweled cross necklace, the R&B/pop hitmaker made the Crypto.com Arena her church with a soulful gospel choir as she swept through her jam-packed “Special” songs. of assertions.
6. Quavo, Kacey Musgraves and Bonnie Raitt, In Memoriam
Musgraves kicked off the “In Memoriam” performance with a sleek, crystal-clear version of the late Loretta Lynn’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” strumming an acoustic guitar with a bed of flowers at her bare feet. Bonnie Raitt and Sheryl Crow also paid a haunting tribute to Christine McVie, harmonizing beautifully as Mick Fleetwood softly played the talking drum alongside them. But the most emotional moment came from Quavo and Maverick City Music, who honored Migos member Takeoff with a heartbreaking medley of “Without You” and “See You Again.” The memorial montage was not without its problems, however, as Twitter users complained that Aaron Carter and Gangsta Boo were omitted from the tribute.
5. Steve Lacy, “Bad Habit”
The TikTok sensation brought his funky, free-flowing viral hit “Bad Habit” to the Grammys telecast, exuding easy charm and a suave stage presence as Kendrick Lamar and Machine Gun Kelly spoke the words to the crowd.
4. Bad Bunny, ‘El Apagón,’ ‘Después de la Playa’
The Puerto Rican rapper proved why he’s one of the biggest stars in the world right now with his dynamic and infectious opening act. Bad Bunny paraded onto the stage flanked by dancers, brass players and giant puppets of Puerto Rican icons Tego Calderón and Andy Montañez. After a somewhat slow start, a red curtain rose and revealed a beautiful sunset backdrop, complete with palm trees and bongo drummers. The charismatic singer, dressed in a baseball cap and jeans, had the entire audience on their feet, with performers like Jack Harlow and Mary J. Blige dancing.
3. Mary J. Blige, “Hello Gorgeous”
The Queen of R&B looked and sounded flawless as she sang the lavish title track from her 14th studio album, performing vocal acrobatics as she stood atop a pyramid platform in a wide-brimmed hat edges and a dress studded with diamonds. During a night filled with massive sets, Blige proved that all you need to captivate a crowd is a stage, strings and a spectacular voice.
2. LL Cool J, Queen Latifah, Black Pansy and More, Hip Hop 50
Nearly three hours into an awards show, such a long, nostalgic production number shouldn’t perform as well as it did. But thanks to smooth transitions and the palpable excitement of more than two dozen performers on stage, the Grammys’ 50th anniversary hip-hop tribute was an undeniable moment. Headliners from the historic set included Salt-N-Pepa, LL Cool J, Black Thought, Queen Latifah and Busta Rhymes, whose lightning-fast “Look at Me Now” verse started trending on Twitter almost immediately after.
1. Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Wan Mor, Motown Medley
Leave it to the legendary Wonder to give the night’s performance not even an hour after the show starts. Performing a medley of Motown hits to honor Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy, Wonder kicked things off with the Temptations’ upbeat “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” swapping vocals with R&B group WanMor. He then dueted with Robinson on “The Tears of a Clown,” before blowing the roof off with his own “Higher Ground,” which featured blazing guitar riffs from country artist Chris Stapleton. The elated audience rose in ecstasy and danced from their seats, with the likes of Jay-Z singing along.
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