Adele Says "Hello"
Adele opened this year’s installment in the best possible way: With a powerhouse rendition of her three-time nominated smash “Hello.” And, a year after sound issues plagued her Grammys performance, her 2017 moment on the Grammys stage was nothing short of pristine.
The Weeknd and Daft Punk Channel Sci-Fi Vibes
Grammys performance or unearthed Star Wars scene? Amid craggy, ice-like set pieces and pulsating green lasers, The Weeknd and Daft Punk teleported in from space to deliver cosmic renditions of their two 2016 collaborations, “Starboy” and “I Feel It Coming,” setting a high bar for the rest of the evening.
Twenty One Pilots Accept Their Award in Their Underpants
The Columbus, Ohio duo took Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for their ubiquitous hit “Stressed Out” — and while their fans were undoubtedly thrilled, it was when members Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun peeled off their pants that endeared them to rest of the world. “This story, it starts in Columbus, Ohio, before Josh and I were able to make money playing music,” Joseph began. He invited Dun over to watch the Grammys with friends and, as he recalled, “As we were watching, we realized everyone was in their underwear. Josh said to me, if we ever go to the Grammys, if we ever win a Grammy, we should accept it just like this.” Even Rihanna, whose Drake-featuring “Work” had just lost in the category, couldn’t hide her smile.
Beyoncé Invents Motherhood
It started with Beyoncé, draped in sequins and adorned with a gold halo of a crown and the weight of two growing children, performing amid an all-female, Last Supper aesthetic of dancers. The words of Warsan Shire’s poetry rang out, as they did on Lemonade, breaking as she cut to “Love Drought.” After, she paused, stared down her crowd, and offered a tender trip through “Sandcastles.” It ended with sage advice. “If we’re gonna heal, let it be glorious.” For ten minutes, it was.
Katy Perry Makes a Statement
During 2016’s presidential campaign, Katy Perry was among Hillary Clinton’s most committed celebrity boosters. Though her candidate lost, Perry brought plenty of political spirit on Sunday, debuting her provocative new single “Chained to the Rhythm,” wearing a “RESIST” armband, and concluding her performance in front of massive screens projecting the Constitution.
Sturgill Simpson and The Dap-Kings Perform “All Around You”
The Metallica-Lady Gaga team up left a bit to be desired, but Sturgill Simpson quickly righted the wrong. He and the Dap-Kings, Sharon Jones’ fabled backing band, took the stage to perform “All Around You,” off Simpson’s Best Country Album of the Year-winning A Sailor’s Guide to Earth. When the 38-year-old enlisted the brass legends for his third LP, their bandleader was still alive, so while it may have been unforeseen, the stellar outing felt like a tribute nonetheless. As Dwight Yoakam said introducing the performance, Sharon Jones made the good kind of music; any such reminder is welcome.
A Tribe Called Quest Condemns "President Agent Orange"
Longtime Tribe affiliate Busta Rhymes introduced the final song of the rap royalty’s mini-set at the Grammys, 2016’s “We the People,” with a condemnation of “President Agent Orange” and “all of the evil you’ve been perpetuating throughout the United States.” It was among the night’s most poignant political moments — and capped a medley that featured Anderson .Paak on drums and vocals and also ran through “Award Tour,” “Can I Kick It?,” and “Movin Backwards.”
Bruno Mars Shreds on "Purple Rain"
The Recording Academy enlisted Prince’s Purple Rain rivals The Time for its tribute to the late legend — but things heated up when Bruno Mars stepped onstage to channel the Purple One’s boundless charisma and musicality with a faithful cover of 1984’s “Let’s Go Crazy.” Dressed in Prince’s signature purple suit and frilled white shirt, the pop powerhouse grooved to the Purple Rain opener and pulled out all the stops for a face-melting guitar solo.
Chance the Rapper Cements His Status
On the heels of a massive night where he took home Best New Artist and Best Rap Album, the 23-year-old Chicago MC delivered a magnetic medley of “How Great” and “All We Got.” Considering that rap titans and fellow nominees Kanye West and Drake weren’t even in attendance Sunday, the performance confirmed Chance’s rapid ascent to hip-hop’s top tier is complete.