Grammy night opened with one of the most anticipated performances of the night: Adele singing “Hello” alone on a stripped-down stage, proving that the singer doesn’t need any bells and whistles to please the crowd. She closed the song by saying, “Hello, baby” to the Grammys audience.
Host James Corden hit a snag when he rose to the Grammys stage and got stuck, but he pulled himself out from his pl
atform — only to trip again and fall through before bumping against several dancers on stage with one missing shoe in a cleverly scripted bit.
“Stop! This is a disaster! We’ve rehearsed this!” he shouted. “We cannot allow these sort of mistakes. Can we? This is the Grammys, people. Isn’t it?” he sighed.
Corden then rapped a “Hamilton”-style monologue including verses like: “This room is insane, it’s filled with all gods. Some of the faces like Madame Tussaud’s; Beyonce performing, the queen is here. She’ll slay the whole stage with twins in her tummy.”
He joked that Google crashed from viewers searching for who Sturgill Simpson, and also said that people should enjoy the Grammys because: “With President Trump, we don’t know what comes next.”
Corden announced the first presenter, Jennifer Lopez.
Lopez talked about remembering her first Grammys night and how inspiring music is needed “in this particular time in history” more than ever. She quoted Toni Morrison and said, “‘There is not time for despair no place for self-pity, no need for silence and no room for fear,’” before presenting Best New Artist, which went to Chance the Rapper.
Chance’s acceptance speech was particularly spiritual.
“I claim this victory in the name of the lord. I want to thank God for my mother and my father who have supported me since I was young,” he said before also thanking “all of Chicago.” As the music played to encourage the rapper to leave the stage, he quipped, “You can play the music,” before reiterating that his prize was in the name of God.
Paris Jackson took the stage to present Daft Punk and The Weeknd, but not before getting political: “We can really use this excitement at a pipeline protest. Hashtag NoDAPL!”
Daft Punk appeared on stage first as “Starboy” started, toggling with futuristics synthesizers, but the soundtrack switched to “I Feel It Coming” as The Weeknd took the stage amidst a backdrop of ice formation and lasers.
John Travolta took the stage wearing several necklaces and he himself cracked, “I know what you’re thinking.’Damn, where did he get all that bling?’” He did not answer the question, but he did talk about how the font on his phone is so big that people make fun of him and so he would not be able to read the prompter.
“But you know what? I’m excited to be here,” he said and used his cards instead to introduce Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood in their spirited duet, “The Fighter,” against neon lights. Both received Grammy nominations this year.
Nick Jonas took the stage to present Best Pop Duo/Group Performance in a very flashy jacket covered in studs.
Twenty One Pilots won for “Stressed Out,” and they were perhaps even flashier than Jonas: They took their pants off before they got on stage and member Tyler Joseph talked about how before they were famous, they were sitting around in their underwear and made a promise to each other that they accept a Grammy in their underwear if they ever won. “You can do it,” he said, encouraging the audience.
Corden appeared on stage without pants on, claiming that he also promised himself he’d take the stage in his underwear if he ever got to host the Grammys. He introduced Ed Sheeran onto the stage, who sang and played the acoustic guitar.
Katharine McPhee and the Chainsmokers came together to present Best Rock Song, which went to “Blackstar” by David Bowie. The presenters accepted the award on his behalf, with McPhee saying, “His music is forever.”
Ryan Seacrest presented the Recording Academy’s Music Educator Award to Keith Hancock, choral music teacher at Tesoro High School in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, before introducing Kelsea Ballerini and Lukas Graham to sing a mashup of Ballerini’s “Peter Pan” and Graham’s “7 Years.”
Tina Knowles, mother of Solange and Beyonce Knowles, took the stage to introduce the latter. “With a mother’s pride, my daughter, Beyonce,” she said.
A video of Beyonce appeared on stage with the singer looking like a Hindu goddess, pregnant belly on full display as she wore a crown and gold bikini and flowing cape. The video and a live Beyonce switched back and forth while a track of her voice whispered, “You look nothing like your mother. You look everything like your mother … Your mother is a woman and women like her cannot be contained.”
Finally, Beyonce appeared in a glittering gold gown and a crown, sitting on a throne, flanked by dozens of ethereal-looking dancers on their knees as she launched into “Love Drought.” Underneath Beyonce’s elevated platform on stage were countless rows of flowers that looked like those in her pregnancy photos. Beyonce walked down to the flowers as the dancers got on their knees again, surrounding her and bowing down the the singer.
She sat down, holding her belly, to sing “Sandcastles” as a golden spotlight shone on her.
As she closed the song, another voiceover played of Beyonce saying, “If we’re gonna heal, let it be glorious.”
Camilla Cabello and Thomas Rhett presented Best Country Solo Performance, which went to Maren Morris for “My Church.” Morris recounted going to Grammy Camp 11 years ago and talked about how much it inspired her.
Corden reappeared wearing a cardboard car to promote “Carpool Karaoke,” which he called “humiliating.” But soon he dragged over Neil Diamond, Jennifer Lopez, Faith Hill, John Legend and other stars — including Blue Ivy — to sing “Sweet Caroline” together.
Bruno Mars took the stage in a tracksuit, backed up by his singers and band mates — all wearing matching Nikes — to sing “That’s What I Like.”
Mars then walked into the audience saying to the women, “I see you in your new dresses, looking so beautiful — some of them still have tags on them,” before closing out his performance.
Little Big Town briefly covered Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” before introducing the singer on stage to sing her new song “Chained to the Rhythm.”
Perry opened the song behind a white picket fence in a white pantsuit and a glittery armband that said “Persist,” a reference to Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s silencing on the Senate floor when she read a letter by Coretta Scott King opposing Jeff Sessions. At the time, top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell said, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
Corden encouraged viewers to tweet about the Grammys, but looked embarrassed when tweets making fun of him appeared on the bottom of the Grammys screen.
Gary Clark Jr. and William Bell took the stage to play “Born Under a Bad Sign” and then presented Best Urban Contemporary Album, which went to Beyonce for “Lemonade.”
She accepted the award still in her beaded gold gown from her performance and said of her album. “It’s important to me to show images to my children that reflect their beauty so they can grow up in a world where they look in the mirror, first through their own families, as well as the news, the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the White House and the Grammys … it’s vital that we learn from the past and recognize our tendencies to repeat our mistakes,” she said from the stage.
Gina Rodriguez introduced Alicia Keys and Maren Morris onstage to perform “Once.”
Morris, who wore a sequined leotard and cape, appeared on a baroque set complete with giant chandeliers to start the song before Alicia Keys joined her in a similarly glittery jumpsuit to finish off the performance.
Corden reappeared to introduce a tribute to George Michael by Adele, who did a surprise cover of “Fast Love” by the late “Wham!” singer.
Adele sang against a backdrop of a slideshow of photos of Michael, backed up by an orchestra.
But a few seconds into the song she stopped and said, “I’m sorry for swearing and I’m sorry for starting again … I can’t mess this up for him” and started from the top. Adele finished the song without a hitch; she faced the crowd with tears in her eyes and received a standing ovation.
Taraji P. Henson took the stage in a dress embroidered with planets and stars — perfect considering her role in “Hidden Figures” — to present Best Rap Album, which went to Chance the Rapper for “Coloring Book.”
“I didn’t think we were going to get this one so I don’t have cool stuff to say this time,” he said. He thanked God and his family again and his colleagues, ending his speech with, “It’s another one baby!”
Corden announced that it was his parents’ 45th wedding anniversary, only to stumble upon his father with Heidi Klum in his lap in the audience.
“We have an understanding,” Corden’s father explained.
“Where’s mom?!” the “Late Late Show” host asked, but Corden’s mother was sitting arm-in-arm with Nick Jonas as the host proceeded to freak out.
“I’m going to sort this out right now,” said Corden.
Laverne Cox took the stage to introduce Lady Gaga and Metallica, but before that, she said, “Please Google Gavin Grimm. He’s going to the Supreme Court in March. Hashtag stand with Gavin,” before announcing the next act to the “ladies and gentlemen and all my gender nonbinary peeps watching tonight.”
Lady Gaga and Metallica’s performance opened with Gaga in a Metallica crop top, moshing onstage with other dancers.
Gaga and Metallica frontman James Hetfield sang “Moth Into Flame” on an appropriately flaming stage, but Hetfield’s microphone cut out, prompting him to lean in and share Gaga’s mic until his worked again.
Gaga jumped into the audience to briefly crowdsurf before returning to the stage.
Singer-songwriter Dwight Yoakam took the stage to talk about the two kinds of music out there: “Good music and the other kind,” as Duke Ellington said. Yoakam said, “Sharon Jones made good music with the Dap-Kings that will never be forgotten.” The Dap-Kings band and Sturgill Simpson paid tribute to Jones, who died in November, and performed “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth.”
DNCE — with guest member James Corden — took the stage to introduce Demi Lovato, who performed a tribute to the Bee Gees, starting with “Stayin’ Alive.” Tori Kelly then took over to sing “Tragedy” before Little Big Town came together to perform the Bee Gees classic “How Deep Is Your Love” as surviving member Barry Gibb nodded along in the audience.
Andra Day performed “Night Fever” before she was joined by Little Big Town, Kelly and Lovato to wrap up the tribute with more “Stayin’ Alive.”
Before presenting Song of the Year, Celine Dion said, “I will never forget sitting with my husband Rene when ‘My Heart Will Go On’ received the award for Song of the Year 18 years ago tonight. Let’s see which of these memorable songs wins this unforgettable honor.” The award went to Adele for “Hello.”
“Sorry if I offended anyone,” the singer said of cursing earlier. She introduced her producer Greg Kurstin to the audience and thanked him for helping her create her “favorite song.”
Solange introduced a performance by Busta Rhymes, Anderson .Paak and A Tribe Called Quest. The musicians paid tribute to late Tribe member Phife Dawg and performed “Can I Kick It” and “Movin Backwards.” They derided President Trump, calling him President Agent Orange.
Rhymes said, “I want to thank President Agent Orange for your unsuccessful attempt at the Muslim ban” before performing “We the People,” which they closed by repeating, “Resist. Resist. Resist,” to the audience.
Corden introduced the tribute to Prince, which started with Morris Day and The Time, who performed “Jungle Love” and then “The Bird.” The stage turned into the symbol Prince used when he was called The Artist Formerly Known as Prince before Bruno Mars and his band took the stage. Mars transformed into Prince with a purple sequined jacket and a ruffled white shirt and eyeliner to sing “Let’s Go Crazy.”
The Pentatonix honored seven-time Grammy winner Al Jarreau, who passed away on Sunday, before singing an a cappella version of “ABC” by the Jackson 5.
Halsey and Jason Derulo announced that BET CEO Debra L. Lee had won the President’s Merit Award before introducing Chance the Rapper, Kirk Franklin and Tamela Mann to perform “How Great,” accompanied by a gospel choir.
Corden introduced the next presenter, who he said was also known as “Yeezus” and daddy to North and Saint — but it was a false alarm. “I always get these two mixed up,” Corden admitted as he introduced the president of the Recording Academy, Neil Portnow.
“We will always be one people from sea to shining sea … We turn to music to remind us that everything will be OK,” said Portnow.
John Legend sat at the piano, playing and singing “God Only Knows” with Cynthia Erivo to introduce the Grammy Awards’ In Memoriam segment, which included clips of late musicians like Leonard Cohen, Merle Haggard, Juan Gabriel, George Michael and Debbie Reynolds.
Husband and wife country duo Tim McGraw and Faith Hill presented Record of the Year, which went to Adele for “Hello.”
Adele thanked her manager and said, “I love you like my dad. I don’t love my dad — that’s the thing, but like I would!”
Adele gave Beyonce a shoutout and said, “I adore you, you move my soul … and I want you to be my mommy,” as Beyonce teared up.
McGraw and Hill presented Album of the Year, which went to Adele for “25.”
The teary, trembling singer accepted the award and said the last time she won the award, she was unwittingly pregnant.
“Winning this, it really feels full circle but I can’t possilby accept this award,” she said. “My life is Beyonce and the ‘Lemonade’ album, Beyonce was so monumental and so well thought-out and beautiful and soul-baring … the way you made me and my friends feel, the way you make my black friends feel is empowering.”
The camera panned to Beyonce, who cried and nodded, before Corden returned to the stage to close out the show.
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