Grading the Grammys
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The Grammys are the biggest night in music of the year. With incredible performances by prominent artists and awards commemorating achievements in music and production, the Grammys never fail to disappoint. We laughed, cried, and sang along to emotional ballads by Billie Eilish and Demi Lovato and electric songs by Lizzo and Ariana Grande. Despite the somber tone of the evening due to basketball legend Kobe Bryant’s death earlier that day, the Grammys paid their respects while showcasing this year’s phenomenal music. Hosted by Alicia Keys, here are some of the most memorable performances of the night.
Keys serenaded the crowd with a parody of Lewis Capaldi’s “Someone You Loved” on the piano. Her clever references to musicians like Cardi B, Ariana Grande, and Billie Eilish gave the Grammys a lighthearted and personal feel, highlighting warm personality and passion for music. Following her parody, Keys and the ‘90s band Boyz II Men performed a heartfelt acapella version of their song “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” in honor of Kobe Bryant.
As the opening performance, Lizzo started the night off with a bang. Winning two Grammys, she arranged an energetic mashup of her songs “Cuz I Love You” and “Truth Hurts,” performing with a live orchestra. In between the songs, ballet dancers came out in tutus and pointe shoes. During “Truth Hurts,” she featured her well-known instrument, “Sasha Flute.” Her powerful belt and rap conveyed timeless messages of feminism and self-confidence.
Ariana Grande gave a memorable performance by remixing her songs “Imagine,” “7 rings,” and “thank u, next.” Grande performed with a live orchestra for “Imagine” and an excerpt from the song “My Favorite Things” from the musical “Sound of Music” (1965) by Rodgers and Hammerstein, showing off her amazing range and incredible mix. Transitioning from a classic black stage to an adorned pink bedroom, Grande and her backup dancers were dressed in pink pajama sets for her performance of “7 rings.”
Rapper Tyler, the Creator’s electric performance shocked us all. He sang “EARFQUAKE” and “NEW MAGIC WAND” from his Grammy-winning album “Igor” (2019) alongside Charlie Wilson and Boyz II Men. His innovative backdrop (a neighborhood that eventually burst into CGI flames), erratic routine, and the vibrant suits and platinum blonde bowl cuts of the dancers added to the creativity and liveliness of this performance.
Billie Eilish, who won four Grammys (Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist) performed a stripped-back version of “when the party’s over” alongside her brother and producer Finneas O’Connell, singing with only a piano and background singers. Eilish showcased her melodic voice and captivated the audience with the intimate and raw ballad.
Lil Nas X performed his hit song of the summer “Old Town Road” with BTS, Diplo, Mason Ramsey, and Billy Ray Cyrus. The rotating set in the background featured a melting green skull, an urban city, Lil Nas X’s living room, and a pink and silver horse stable. Unfortunately, due to the diverse range of artists like BTS and Mason Ramsey featured, the blend of genres was random and disorganized, detracting from the performance.
Finally, Demi Lovato performed an intimate ballad titled “Anyone” that she wrote before her drug overdose and hospitalization back in 2018. Lovato even stopped and started over after tearing up, reflecting her struggle with self-love in her musical career. Her skillful vibrato and soulful voice expressed how powerless and alone she felt at the time, resonating with the audience.
Throughout the years, the Grammys have developed into a night that values musical talent, creativity, and diversity, even developing the categories to represent more artists. As the music business has grown, the Grammys have become an awards show for lovers of Country, Pop, Rock, Latin music and much more.