Music News: 2015 Grammys Wrap Up

The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Backstage & AudienceVia: Revolt.Tv
by  Danielle Cheesman
Though there didn’t appear to be anything unexpected or unusual about Pharrell winning the Best Pop Solo Performance Award for his omnipresent hit single “Happy”—since, let’s remember, it was nominated for an Academy Award, peaked at #1 in over 20 countries, and was the best-selling song of 2014 in both the United States and the UK—the super-producer still claimed during his acceptance speech that the win was “super awkward.” (He also completely bluffed on his promise that he’d moonwalk off the stage.) But Skateboard P’s most honorable moment came later in the show when during his performance of a re-worked “Happy,” he paused, stood alongside his hoodie-clad dancers, and raised his arms, channeling the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gesture that became popular during last year’s protests against the slew of tragic deaths of innocent Black men.
But Pharrell wasn’t the only one to use his appearance as a means to making social commentary. When Prince took the stage to present Album of the Year, equipped with an epic side-eye, he opened by reminding the audience of a movement, saying, “Albums, remember those? Albums still matter. Like books and Black lives, albums still matter. Tonight and always.” Unfortunately for us all, the moment was overshadowed by musician Beck who pulled a major upset by nabbing the award from the arguably more-deserving Beyoncé and/or Sam Smith. (Thankfully, the two singers did, at the very least, win other awards: Beyoncé for Best R&B Performance Award for “Drunk In Love,” for which she thanked her husband Jay Z with the hashtag-worthy “I love you deep,” and Sam who, with four trophies total, won pretty much everything else.)
Luckily for audience members and viewers everywhere, Kanye West provided some much-needed comic relief when he hopped on stage during Beck’s acceptance speech and—recalling that headline-making moment at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards that turned him into Taylor Swift’s worst enemy and media’s most hated villain—interrupted the singer. Well, almost. Having a moment of clarity and self-awareness, ‘Ye stopped himself and stepped off the stage. (Ironically, viewers would’ve probably supported his audacity this year.) No word on if the interruption was done in jest or genuinely.
Shockingly, however, that didn’t end up being ‘Ye’s standout moment. The night marked his return to the Grammys after six long years, making him worthy of two performances. During the Auto-Tuned ode to his daughter “Only One,” he spun and spit expressively over a single floor light and channeled the early ‘00s by donning a velour tracksuit. And, singing alongside Rihanna and Paul McCartney for “FourFiveSeconds,” he was strong but surprisingly subdued for a song that’s all about “wildin.’” But the trio was just one of many successful collaborations the Grammys put together.
Sia, still on her anti-fame kick, asked SNL veteran Kristen Wiig to dance interpretively to “Chandelier.” Hozier’s performance of “Take Me to Church” was equal parts upgraded and overshadowed once he was joined by Annie Lennox. Ed Sheeran’s guitar-driven ballad “Thinking Out Loud” was only made more romantic once John Mayer contributed his strumming, Herbie Hancock his keys, and Questlove his drums. Lady Gaga did away with her prosthetic cheek bones for her classic “Cheek to Cheek” duet with Tony Bennett. Sam Smith, who the night really belonged to, shared his major moment with Mary J. Blige for “Stay With Me.” And John Legend and Common closed the show backed by strings with the stirring and affecting “Glory.”
But the most unexpected moment of the evening came when President Obama appeared. Speaking on screen remotely, POTUS called on viewers, audience members, and artists themselves to support the “It’s On Us” campaign, an initiative that looks to end violence against women and girls. “All of us in our own lives have the power to set an example to create a culture where violence is intolerable and survivors are supported,” he said. What followed was an increasingly emotional performance by Katy Perry, of “By the Grace of God,” that challenged even her own Super Bowl medley.  It contributed to the show’s slowed and somber feel that, for viewers’ sake, was peppered with uplifting, deserving moments, even if few and far between

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