Grammys: Music’s elite shine bright

The 2017 Grammys provided most of its drama in the last five minutes: Adele won Album of the Year. That’s right, for the second year in a row, a pop, lovesong album has beaten out a more deserving, ambitious and ground-breaking album.

If you rewind to last year’s Grammys, you may remember that Kendrick Lamar’s complex album, “To Pimp a Butterfly,” which was a combined social commentary and introspective work of art, lost Album of the Year to Taylor Swift’s 1989. It was an upset, and it’s disappointing to see the situation repeated this year.

Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” was a lyrically stunning masterpiece that transcended the typical album, as it was also released as a detailed visual album.

Adele’s “25” was a great follow up to her previous album after taking a break to raise her son, and her vocals shined all the way through. “Lemonade,” however, touched on feminism, police violence and racism: hot button topics relevant in our country.

Even Adele knows that the Grammy voters made the wrong choice. She praised Beyoncé in her acceptance speech, saying, “But, my artist of my life is Beyoncé, and this album for me, the ‘Lemonade’ album, was just so monumental.” It’s great to see artists supporting each other, rather than some of the Taylor Swift high school drama that has been the theme of past award shows.

The Grammys, however, had gone on for three and a half hours before we got to Album of the Year. What happened during that long duration of time? A multitude of performances, some great, some bad and some completely unnecessary, and very few actual awards.

Let’s start with the successful performances. Chance the Rapper, feeling triumphant after winning two Grammys, rapped a medley from his album “Coloring Book.” He somehow made his performance both highly energetic and solemnly religious, even bringing up a Christian choir as back up. Chance made Grammy history, becoming the first artist without a label to win.

Bruno Mars never fails to deliver during an awards show performance. He has impeccable showmanship and makes his choreography look effortless. Not only were we treated to one performance from Mars, but two!

He first gave a low-key performance of his latest single, “That’s What I Like.” When I heard that he was coming back to perform a tribute to Prince, I knew it was the perfect choice. Mars didn’t disappoint, singing one of Prince’s hits and wearing an iconic purple suit. He managed to honor the late musician without feeling too gimmicky.

Another notable performance was from Katy Perry, singing her new single “Chained to the Rhythm” for the first time. The staging was interesting and Perry’s dance moves seemed spontaneous and sweet, like she was genuinely enjoying performing her song.

The Weeknd and Daft Punk performed together, which was anticipated since Daft Punk has been semi-quiet since their Grammys performance in 2014. The Weeknd’s vocals were perfect, but it seemed like a rather lackluster showing considering all the hype it received beforehand.

A complaint that I have with the Grammys is that it seems the producers forget it is an awards show and try to cram as many performances as possible into their time slot. The problem with this is that the audience gets stuck watching unnecessary and irrelevant performances instead of seeing artists win actual awards.

For example, Pentatonix, a talented and popular a cappella group, performed “ABC” by the Jackson 5. It was completely out of nowhere and seemed like something I could have watched on YouTube instead. The Grammys has also been pushing mash-ups in recent years, and this year we were treated to many.

The worst was Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban. I know that country artists must be spotlighted, but their performance lacked sparks and was too upbeat for Carrie’s beautiful voice. Another head-scratcher was Lukas Forchhammer (known as Lukas Graham) and Kelsea Ballerini. Their songs didn’t mesh together at all, which makes sense since they’re from two completely different genres.

If I could make a suggestion to the Grammys producers, it would be to cut out most of the mash-ups, and focus on a few longer, more intricate performances (Beyoncé’s nine-minute performance is a great example).

They should also work on televising more awards, so more artists are recognized for their work in front of their peers. If anything, give Album of the Year to the artist who deserves it next year.


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