Highlights From the 56th Annual Grammy Awards

Widely regarded as one of the most important events for mainstream music, the 56th Annual Grammy Awards were marked by memorable performances and ignited plenty of mixed opinions about the winners and the losers of the night.

Beyonce and Jay Z opened the show with a performance of the single “Drunk In Love”, burying any doubts that they are the reigning power couple in the entertainment industry. Jay Z, the artist with the most nominations of the night won Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “Holy Grail”, the first single off of his album Magna Carta Holy Grail, which features Justin Timberlake. He joked that daughter Blue Ivy will have a new gold sippy cup during his acceptance speech.

The evening’s big winner was Daft Punk for their album Random Access Memories and smash single “Get Lucky”. The duo donned their signature helmets for the evening, and collaborator Pharrell got in on the headgear theme, sporting an oversized brown hat that generated a plethora of internet memes and was certainly one of the most talked about fashion moments of the evening. Daft Punk gave a rare performance, made even more memorable when Stevie Wonder joined Pharrell for a rendition of “Get Lucky”.

It came as a shock when Macklemore & Ryan Lewis dominated in the rap categories, up against legends such as Jay Z and Kanye West, as well as notable newcomers. The duo sparked a lot of controversy in the music industry with their approach to tackling controversial subject matters, such as drug abuse and gay marriage. Macklemore has also been subject to strong criticism for his rap style, which is often regarded as gimmicky and for people who typically don’t like rap. Debates aside, it was an iconic moment when they performed their single “Same Love” with Madonna, as Queen Latifah officiated the marriages of 34 couples of a variety of orientations, ethnicities and ages in a mass-wedding ceremony.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ sweep was especially upsetting for fans of Kendrick Lamar, the favoured candidate whose debut album Good Kid M.A.A.D. City is regarded as one of the best rap albums of the decade. Lamar bounced back from this loss by performing “M.A.A.D. City” in a hybrid collaboration with Imagine Dragons. The performance was delivered with Lamar’s signature level of intensity, both reinforcing his nickname “King Kendrick” and reassuring fans that he will most likely be back to win in the future.

Not all performances, however, were delivered with the same energy as Lamar. Pink attempted yet another tired acrobatic routine, Robin Thicke delivered a cringe-worthy collaboration with Chicago and Taylor Swift looked like the subject of an exorcism, hair-flipping at the piano when performing her single “All Too Well”.

I ended the show entertained, but simultaneously feeling like I wasted multiple hours watching an award ceremony that has lost its sense of purpose. In addition to rewarding popularity over true talent, The Grammys are extremely outdated with respect to the categories they consider, which fail to serve the rapidly evolving music industry. In order to stay relevant, the show needs to make some major changes or face the possibility of being stuck in the past.

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