With unprecedented and dangerous storm activity in and around Southern California, the music industry mustered all of its “the show must go on” spirit to pull off the 66th Grammy Awards, live from Los Angeles.
And go on it did. And on. And on. But that’s award shows.
Thankfully, a few interesting and fun moments — bolstered, of course, by a fast car and a swift bit of news — helped the three-and-a-half-hour program feel like less of a slog than some years in the past. There were also some attention-getting gasps, like when Jay-Z chided the Recording Academy (i.e., the body responsible for putting on the Grammys).
Whether you missed the whole thing, pulled a Meryl by showing up a little late or just want to relive the action, here are some highlights:
News from the Taylor Swift department
In case you didn’t hear the collective Swiftie gasp heard ‘round the world, Taylor Swift has a new album coming out in April. Oh, you were expecting an announcement about “Reputation (Taylor’s Version)”? How cute.
No, Swift knows how to make a headline-making moment into a bigger headline-making moment, and that’s exactly what she did when she picked up her 13th Grammy — for best pop vocal album. Yes, 13 as in her favorite number. Which she made sure to point out in her speech.
“The Tortured Poets Department” was a surprise as Swift-lovers, Grammy viewers and everyone in between didn’t see coming. And those are the best kind of award show moments.
To top it all off, as she is known to do, Swift also picked up a 14th Grammy at the end of the night – a history-making album of the year win.
An unforgettable In Memoriam segment
The music world had what felt like an extraordinarily tough year, with the deaths of many legendary figures. Those indelible losses were highlighted in a 16-minute In Memoriam segment that was at times somber and at other times celebratory.
The latter, star of “The Color Purple,” was introduced by Oprah Winfrey for a celebration of Tina Turner that got the crowd on their feet and, likely, the heavens hip-shaking with joy.
Miley’s great night
Who was having more fun than Miley Cyrus on Sunday night?
First, she won her first-ever Grammy Award for best pop solo performance. Then, she received it from Mariah Carey. Then, she put on an energy-filled performance of “Flowers” that woke up a sometimes-tough-to-win-over audience.
“Why you acting like you don’t know this song?” she chided the audience at one point, mid-song.
Oh, we know it Miley. But it sounds so much better coming from you.
If that wasn’t enough, Cyrus picked up her second Grammy, for record of the year later in the night.
Rare performances rock the stage
In the notable department, Tracy Chapman, Joni Mitchell and Billy Joel aren’t artists you’d see performing on the Grammy stage every year.
Mitchell’s performance at age 80 on Sunday was her first-ever at the awards event. She performed seated alongside singer Brandi Carlile, who also introduced her.
And Chapman has only appeared as a performer on the ceremony three times prior to this year, the last in 1997. Chapman performed her hit “Fast Car” with country singer Luke Combs, whose country cover of the song gave it new life last year. It was their first time performing it together. Chapman, of course, did what she always does – sing like a storyteller who’s telling a tale both for the first and last time. What a moment.
Joel, meanwhile, took the stage Sunday night to perform “Turn the Lights Back On,” his first new pop single in 17 years. Making the most of his appearance, he performed again following the final award, which was presented by Celine Dion.
Dion’s appearance was, of course, a welcomed sight, as the singer has been open about her health issues.
Dion presented album of the year following a standing ovation that clearly moved the performer.
“I love you right back,” she said to the crowd.
The heart – like the show – indeed always goes on.
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