The Grammys were held on Sunday night, February 12, 2017, and hosted by James Corden at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, with the live broadcast on CBS starting at 8pm EST (5pm PST).
Below are some of the highlights and clips from the broadcast of The 59th Annual Grammy Awards, along with the full list of Grammy winners at the end.
Here’s my usual official Grammys warning: I hate country music, I strongly dislike pop music, and I mostly have no idea about new music that’s not hard rock or heavy metal. I can, though, be objective when talking about a performance when it happens to be really good. With that, when I say I’m writing about the “highlights,” well, it’s the highlights according to me, a metalhead who watched the Grammys, a show that doesn’t even bother to televise the Heavy Metal category. With all of the deaths in the music world in 2016, I was sure that there’d be a lot of tributes, and I was intrigued by the tease of the Metallica and Lady Gaga team-up. Turns out, this year was mostly a snooze-fest, but there were some energetic performances that made up for everything else.
Before the broadcast began, the official GRAMMYS Twitter account posted some winners. Not surprising was composer John Williams‘ win for Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He is the master, after all.
Congrats Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" John Williams, composer #GRAMMYs
And while the band members came up to accept the award, the live band Metallica’s “Master Of Puppets” played. Doh!!!
The show opened with Adele singing her hit “Hello,” and as always she did a good job, if uneventful. (Don’t worry, she makes waves later on in the broadcast.)
Then host James Corden did the opening bit, and while I love James Corden, this opening was just not funny, unfortunately.
After JoLo presented the Best New Artist award to Chance the Rapper, Paris Jackson, daughter of the late great Michael Jackson, came out on stage to “The Girl Is Mine,” her dad’s duet with Paul McCartney. As the crowd cheered, the young Jackson said, “We can use this kind of excitement at a Pipeline protest #NoDAPL” (WTG, Paris!), before going on to introducing The Weeknd performing with Daft Punk.
John Travolta introduced a duet between Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood, whose song sounded like it could be one of Rick Springfield’s.
21 Pilots, who I’ve never heard of, won Best Pop Duo for “Stressed Out” and took their pants off before accepting their award, and went on to tell the story about why they were accepting in this pantless state.
Over an hour into the broadcast, James Corben said that CBS was worried that people wouldn’t really know the Late Late Show host because of its late hour. That’s why the gave him a cardboard car so he could do his famous “Carpool Karaoke” with some of the celebrity audience members. He then rounded up Neil Diamond, JoLo, The Weeknd, John Legend, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, and others to do a rendition of Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” Apparently, some of these guys did not know the words.
Katy Perry took the stage in a white pantsuit (likely a nod to Hillary Clinton) with an armband that read “Persist,” which is likely a reference to #ShePersisted. This hastag was born after Sen. Elizabeth Warren was silenced on the Senate floor when she tried to read a letter from Coretta Scott King. In an explanation as to why Warren was silenced, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” At the end of the song (“Chained to the Rhythm”), the U.S. Constitution was projected in the background.
This was followed up by a duet between Alicia Keys and Maren Morris.
Adele returned to the stage, this time garbed all in black and backed by an orchestra, to give a tribute to the late George Michael with a new arrangement to his song “Fastlove” as videos of the late singer displayed in the background. Adele sounded off-key, perhaps not being able to hear the music, which was a surprise, and actually stopped the live show, cursing as she asked if they could restart the song. And when they did, she was on point. She teared up as the crowd gave her a standing ovation at the song’s end.
In a highly anticipated performance, heavy metal titans Metallica took the stage for a duet with pop sensation Lady Gaga duet of the band’s new song “Moth Into Flame.” Note – I don’t think they were even introduced!
The stage was set with headbanging dancers, and Gaga draped in a cut-up Metallica t-shirt, short-shorts, and heavy metal accessories, as she herself headbanged. All was going great and the energy was high… but then James Hetfield’s mic was dead, turning this duet into a Gaga solo. For the chorus, Hetfield make his way over to Gaga to share her mic, and thankfully after that his own mike began working. Still, the energy remained high, with Gaga interacting with all the Metallica band members, traipsing around the stage like a heavy metal go-go dancer, and even doing a stage dive during the guitar solo.
When the song was over, an understandably frustrated Hetfield kicked his mic stand down. Not counting the technical glitch, this performance was tops and was definitely my favorite of the night. Here’s the entire performance:
At this point, I’m like, I can change the channel to AMC for The Walking Dead, right? But then I realized that I’m on assignment and I have to keep watching.
Ok, on to the Bee-Gee’s and the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Fever tribute, which was nice and all, but kind of uninspired.
Celion Dion, who mentioned her recently deceased husband, then announced the Song of the Year for Adele’s “Hello.”
Time to wake up again because a A Tribe Called Quest just did a new song “We The People” which has lyrics like “Shout out to President Agent Orange” ends it by changing “RESIST.” I’d love to see people try to tell A Tribe Called Quest to “shut up and sing” and not be political. HA HA HA HA.
And now for some more awesomeness (I guess they saved all the good stuff for near the end of the show)… The Time, who played their song “Jungle Love” from Prince‘s Purple Rain movie soundtrack. See people in the audience do the “Time” dance, including Stephen Hill and AJ Calloway. They definitely got everyone on their feet… including Paul Williams!
And got everyone warmed up for Bruno Mars‘ tribute to the late great Prince. Mars came out in full purple and white ruffled Prince attire for “Let’s Go Crazy,” complete with Mars doing the solo! Ok, Mars just jumped up a few notches in my book.
So, again, I was like, can I watch The Walking Dead now? But, no, my job is not over yet! I don’t know who was up next, so I didn’t really take notes on it, but then it was time for the In Memoriam, which always makes me cry. This one was particularly hard, since so many musicians passed away in 2016. For this John Legend and Cynthia Erivo performed The Beach Boys’ song “God Only Knows.”
The night ended with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill then presented Record of the Year to Adele for “Hello” and the Album of the Year to Adele for 25 in what was clearly an “upset,” since these were up against Beyonce.
In her acceptance speech at the end, Adele cried that Beyonce was an inspiration to her, and that Beyonce’s Lemonade (which was up for the album of the year) was empowering. When she told Beyonce she loved her, Queen Bey returned the sentiment.