The Grammys are a strange kind of awards show. There are at least as many performances as awards, which gets old fast, and every fifth shot is just a cutaway to Yoko Ono swaying in the audience. This year also featured Katy Perry using a witch’s broom as a stripper pole, a fascinating hat choice from Pharrell Williams, and the ubiquitous “Blurred Lines” performance by Robin Thicke, this time a collaboration with Chicago.
There were several moments that captured the nation’s attention (and tweets). I must confess that I turned off the TV after Metallica’s performance of “One” with classical pianist Lang Lang. It was almost 11pm in California, an hour past bedtime and five more minutes of Metallica than I can usually handle.
I missed one of the night’s biggest moments, though, in Macklemore’s performance of the hit song “Same Love.” During the song, Queen Latifah officiated the weddings of 33 couples, straight and gay. “Whatever god you believe in, we come from the same one,” the song goes. The stage was set up like a chapel and the room was emotionally charged, but the weddings felt far more gimmicky and message-driven than sacred, and there was nothing personal about it. The ceremony lasted about 30 seconds, after which Madonna came out to sing “Open Your Heart.” Maybe I’m just cynical in my old age. You can check it out for yourself.
Lorde, that 17 year-old wunderkind from New Zealand, won both Song of the Year and Best Pop Song Performance for “Royals.” She performed a stripped-down version of the song last night in an outfit and makeup that made her look far older–which, to be fair, might have been what she was going for. But she looked like nothing so much to me as a more pale, less made-up sister of Kylie and Kendall Jenner. Don’t you see it?
The most talked-about moment in our household (translation: what I wouldn’t shut up about to my husband and dog) was the opening number. Beyoncé “gave a kitchen chair the time of its life” while performing “Drunk in Love,” a single from her latest (surprise) album. Midway through, a dapper Jay Z came onstage to play his part (he raps alongside Bey in the song) and the two of them, in the words of Alyssa Rosenberg, “did what conservatives have been dying for someone to do for ages: they made marriage look fun, and sexy, and a source of mutual professional fulfillment.”
The country was immensely worried about the state of Taylor Swift’s neck last night during her performance of “All Too Well,” about the time she left a scarf at Maggie Gyllenhaal’s house. (Seriously.) She had some great Farrah Fawcett hair and, as she sat at the piano and remembered all too well, she threw her head back behind her over and over and over again, in a motion that could have been rhythmically satisfying but couldn’t have been chiropractically helpful.
Other highlights: Nile Rodgers, Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams, and surprise guest Steve Wonder performing “Get Lucky” was one of the toe-tappingest moments of the night. Pink made every woman in America vow to get to the gym tomorrow in an acrobatic dance routine that defied gravity and the idea of women as weaker than men. And Todd Starnes, host of the radio show Fox News & Commentary, had this to say about the show. But he kept watching, so I guess that’s a win for intolerance, bigotry, and hatred?