Now that the 57th Grammy Awards have sunk in, we give you the best and worst of the night. From performances (great and bad), to controversial calls, to pure WTF moments, here are the story lines that are likely to have people talking.
1. Rihanna, Kanye West, and Paul McCartney perform “FourFiveSeconds”: Let’s face it — seeing this improbable collaboration in person is the main reason many tuned in. There are so many ways three huge personas can get in the way, but Rihanna, ‘Ye, and Sir Paul knew how to bring this one to life. Rihanna’s expressive vocals lead the way, Kanye West’s Auto-Tuned glory added some Twitter age vigor, and Paul McCartney’s mere presence, albeit with some acoustic guitar and some faint backing vocals, guided the performance through decades of songcraft.
2. Beyoncé performs “Take My Hand, Precious Lord”: She was robbed of the album of the year award everyone thought she’d win, but no one will be chalking up her Grammy trip as a failure. Bey showed great vocal skill in her cover of the Thomas A. Dorsey gospel classic, saving her highest vocal registers for the perfect moments.
3. Obama speaks out against sexual violence: Barack Obama couldn’t be on hand, but he made a video cameo appearance for a very worthy cause. The chief executive echoed the beliefs of (hopefully) all the artists in attendance in talking about ending sexual violence against women. He shouted out the White House’s “It’s On Us” campaign, which raises awareness about preventing sexual assault on college campuses. Katy Perry followed with a great performance of her Prism ballad, “By the Grace of God.”
4. Annie Lennox joins Hozier for “Take Me to Church”: She might have upstaged the band in their own performance, but Lennox’s contribution left our jaws on the floor. There were plenty of big names at the Grammys, but watching Lennox join in on “Take Me to Church” — a great song as it is — was like watching an old pro show the kids how it’s done.
5. Everything Sam Smith: This just in — the Grammys love Sam Smith. The man with the voice of an angel won four awards at the 2015 Grammys (including three of the “big four,” best new artist, song of the year, and record of the year). But he also partnered with Mary J. Blige for a heart-melting performance of “Stay With Me,” which was reprised at the end of the show. The anthem for the 2015 Grammys? Pretty much.
1. Beck beats Beyoncé for album of the year: Beck seems like a pretty nice guy and Morning Phase is a pretty nice album, but the Grammys made an awkward, out-of-touch decision in denying Beyoncé the prize for one of the era’s most influential pop albums. Aside from the WTF randomness, the decision speaks volumes to the race and gender bias present in the recording industry. Here’s to hoping Beck doesn’t pull a Macklemore and write Beyoncé a humble-braggy, self-serving apology letter.
2. The comedic timing of the New England Patriots: We hate to pick on the jocks for bad comedic timing, but well, we are. Alongside Josh Duhamel, Julian Edelman and Malcolm Butler repped the recent Super Bowl champions in presenting best rock album. “Another interception by Butler” — really, Julian Edelman? That’s the best joke you let the writers come up with for you? That wasn’t much of a joke, but that’s okay, because Beck’s Morning Phase wasn’t much of a rock album.
3. Why AC/DC? We’re not hating on AC/DC’s influence or back catalog, but why, of all artists, were they selected to open the 2015 Grammys? This was their first Grammy performance, so perhaps this was payback for not having them on at a more appropriate time, like say, 1981? Their performance was immediately followed by Fall Out Boy in a Pepsi commercial; why not have Fall Out Boy (who just released a No. 1 album and have a Hot 100 hit) on the show instead of in a commercial?
4. Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani:
They both looked swell and sounded good, but unfortunately, their voices combined for “My Heart Is Open,” a big ol’ snoozer, was the least interesting song of the 2015 Grammys. The Grammys were on CBS, not NBC — why did we have to get a full-on Voice ad?