The 2017 Grammy Awards were a glimpse back at legends lost and a look forward to the young artists ready to dominate the music scene in years to come.
Bruno Mars played Prince’s twin, paying tribute to the king of funk. The salute began with The Time’s “Jungle Love.” The entire audience stood up to the dance from “Purple Rain” while the sparkling purple lights shone down. The regality of this tribute was highlighted by Mars’s astonishing swagger and metallic purple pantsuit, which encompassed all of Prince.
One of the finest male vocalists of his generation, George Michael, was another lost this year, yet Adele allowed us to bring him back for just a few minutes. Vulnerable, she stopped short after opening with “Fastlove” in her tribute to the esteemed pop icon. She asked to “restart” the song from the top saying, “I can’t mess this up for him.” She shares an emotional connection to Michael because of their mutual London roots. It was quite a night for the pop songstress herself. The powerhouse singer simply dominated, bringing home five Grammys for her third studio album, 25, in the show’s most sought-after categories: Song, Record and Album of the Year. The British songstress performed “Hello” in a geometric red and black dress with an accordion skirt, channeling her classic look with a new twist. The nostalgia in the room was uncanny, with the singer gushing, “The last time I was here was five years ago, and I was pregnant … I lost a lot of myself being a mother … it seems like I’ve gone full circle.”
Throughout her five wins, Adele decided to share her successes with an idol of hers, Beyoncé.
“I adore you, and I want you to be my mommy,” she exclaimed to Queen Bey. “The Lemonade album was so monumental … We got to see another side of you … We, as artists, adore you … You are our light.” Beyoncé stopped the show with her breathtaking performance centered around her latest studio album, Lemonade. Although she chose to perform less popular tracks, including “Love Drought,” and “Sandcastles,” she successfully won over the crowd. Even while pregnant with twins, she still owned it. Bey’s royalty radiated through her goddess-like costume.
The messages she instilled in us will stay: “Your mother is a woman, and women like her cannot be contained.” Queen Bey’s performance will go down in Grammys history.
Although there was no specific tribute dedicated to David Bowie, he won Best Rock Song with “Blackstar,” the title track from his 25th and final studio album, which was released on his 69th birthday.
Best New Artist recipient Chance the Rapper also took the night by storm.
“I claim this victory in the name of the Lord,” he exclaimed. “I know that people think independence means you do things by yourself, but independence means freedom.”
He referenced SoundCloud and “all the independent artists out there” throughout his speech and encouraged the audience to continue in their endeavors, big or small. Chance started as an independent artist himself with his first mixtape, 10 Day, and since then, he has made significant strides in the music world, winning his first Grammy with Coloring Book. His success shows that no matter how small an artist starts, they can reach the height of their craft.
After taking a break from the public since her father’s death in 2009, Paris Jackson finally made an appearance, presenting The Weeknd and Daft Punk. The trio began with a medley of “Starboy” that led into “I Feel It Coming.” The collaboration gave rise to an unusual yet intriguing set that channeled Hoth from “Star Wars.”
New York DJ duo Drew Taggart and Alex Pall, also known as the Chainsmokers, rocked the charts this past year. Tracks such as “Don’t Let Me Down,” “Closer” and “Roses” blasted through speakers on repeat, whether at a raging party, the gym or car radios. It’s no wonder that they won their first ever Grammy Award this year alongside Daya. Although Rihanna turned them down to be featured in the Grammy winning single, “Don’t Let Me Down,” they still seemed to reach success in the viral department.
Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun of Twenty One Pilots were definitely not “stressed out” about receiving their award for “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance” in nothing but their underpants.
“Josh turned to me … and he said, ‘If we ever win a Grammy, we should receive it just like this,’” Joseph said.
Ed Sheeran was loving our bodies, and we are loving his Grammy performance right back. Although he was a last-minute addition to the set list, he did not disappoint. Sheeran centered his performance around his latest single, “Shape of You.” He decided to play it casual and performed the song with nothing more than his acoustic guitar. His manner seemed like he was performing for a few of his closest friends, yet millions were watching all over the world. His all-black outfit — including a “HOAX” T-shirt, black jeans and kicks — contributed to the affinity of his performance.
Santa Barbara native Katy Perry took the stage with a new and improved look. With short blonde locks that frame her face and a new wardrobe, she surprised the audience as platinum Perry. She really was trapped in her “white picket fence” as she took the stage on a set emulating her opening line to her new hit single, “Chained To The Rhythm.” Perry came barreling out in a white, black-lined pantsuit and John Lennon-esque rose-colored glasses and white sneakers. She walked through blue and white clouds and turned the corner to find Skip Marley, grandson of Jamaican legend Bob Marley. The younger Marley channeled his grandfather’s eclectic reggae sound and wore a white army jacket and pants. Perry topped her performance off with an iconic “We the People” backdrop.
In a night with no shortage of political statements, Donald Trump was criticized by a number of performers. Neil Portnow, record producer and president of the Recording Academy, took a different approach, calling out to Washington to keep American music alive.
After quoting John F. Kennedy, he remarked, “The Recording Academy together with the music-makers call on the President and Congress to help keep the music playing by updating music laws, protecting music education and renewing America’s commitment to the arts.” Portnow concluded, “We have a collective responsibility to preserve what binds us and to ensure that the whole world continues to benefit from one of our most unique, economically and spiritually important assets and exports: American music.”