The Grammy Awards are here and that can only mean one thing: LL Cool J will be emceeing a night of tributes to musical stars such as Beyoncé, Taylor Swift , Jay Z, Katy Perry, Lorde, Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams and more, plus performances by Paul McCartney, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Madonna, Metallica and Lang Lang and Dave Grohl and an army of heavy rockers.
So, will this be the year the Grammys run short and end early? Don’t bet on it, but there will be loads of music, speeches, upsets, marriages and more so read on for the night’s best, worst and most unforgettable moments.
Best Seat in the House: Beyoncé opened the show performing “Drunk in Love” with just a chair, a “surfboard” and then some sexy time with hubby Jay Z. Simple, sexy and such a better way to open the show than…
Worst Segue: Following that electrifying performance, LL Cool J slowly deflated the energy in the room with a flat monologue that namechecked a bunch of famous people in an effort to make a point about how important music is…instead of just having some music that did that.
Musical Hatmaker: Grammy winning-producer Pharrell not only makes hits, but now he makes hats, turning his gigantic Vivienne Westwood lid into one of the night’s most compelling presences. That guy can do anything.
Least Expected: Jay Z is many things–rapper, mogul, husband of Beyoncé—but we didn’t expect him to accept his award by telling his daughter Blue Ivy that she could use it for a “sippy cup.”
Biggest Flip Out: Taylor Swift sat down at the piano for an emotional “All Too Well,” and she gave her hair such a serious set of hair flips that, well, you just knew that she meant every word of it. That aside, she can really deliver a song.
Least Fab: We love Ringo Starr, but seeing him perform with a gigantic band that somehow didn’t include fellow Beatle Paul McCartney (who was in the audience, of course) was just a letdown. (Much More Fab? Ringo and McCartney did team up later so all was right in the world again.)
Most Instrumental: That would be the piano, which seemed to get an especially heavy workout over the course of the show as a number of stars sat down to tickle the ivories—including one of our favorite pairings, Carole King and Sara Bareilles.
Scary Perry: Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” duet with Juicy J was such a huge scary frightfest—featuring dancing horses, flaming circles and gyrating dancers—that we kind of wish Nicki Minaj‘s pope pal had been on hand to say some prayers afterward.
Best or Worst? John Legend, Lorde, Hunter Hayes and who else? Which performances did you love—and who fell flat?
Swift Seal of Approval: The Imagine Dragons drumtastic performance with Kendrick Lamar started off a little unsteady and then fell into an undeniable groove once the rapper started that really worked. And we know because Taylor Swift was totally out of her seat dancing.
Worst Surprise: Pink‘s incredible trapeze work is absolutely stunning, but it’s hard not to feel a little letdown about the act since she’s done it before, including on previous Grammys. Still, it was, and is, pretty amazing.
Most Unlikely Presenter? Sure, we’ve come to expect all the CBS talent that gets roped into presenting at the Grammys, but we had no idea why Julia Roberts and Jeremy Renner (not to mention Steve Coogan, who was funny as always) was there.
Worst Plan: Not sure who thought getting Black Sabbath, a band known for its sludgy sound and Ozzy Osbourne‘s famously indecipherable diction, to deliver an introduction.
Best About Face: Kacey Musgraves got a lot of attention for her facial expressions at the CMAs, but it was nice to see the country singer get some face time at the Grammys for a sweet performance. And then for a Grammy!
Best Costume Change: As much as some of the dresses were fab, you had to give it to Daft Punk for wearing their dress robot heads when winning Record of the Year.
Least of Both Worlds: As much as Lang Lang and Metallica are both individually awesome, the combination of the two was less than the sum of its parts. Especially coming somewhere near the third hour of Grammy ness.
Best Mashup: Adding Stevie Wonder to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” was just the right thing. Of course, adding Stevie Wonder to anything—songs, sandwiches, whatever—is always the right thing to do.
Worst Realization: This year’s Grammy mashup of TV and music had all the spontaneity of a scripted TV show and all the time-wasting drag of a music festival. It’s too long.
Best Realization: The show suddenly seemed fresh and brand-new while seeing all those folks getting married during the performance of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert‘s “Same Love,” with Madonna, Queen Latifah and Trombone Shorty. That was pretty damn sweet. Congratulations, everyone.
And Most Gracious: While speaking for the Daft Punk crew and their Album of the Year win, Paul Williams said he spoke for the French duo and praised Macklemore’s song and “the power of love” with all those who’d gotten married.
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