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Grammys 2018: Winners & Highlights: U2, Kesha, Sting, Elton John, Trump Fire & Fury Audiobook
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The Grammys were held on Sunday night, January 28, 2018, and hosted for the second year in a row by late night talk-show host James Corden, this time at New York City’s Madison Square Garden with the live broadcast on CBS starting at 7:30pm EST (4:30pm PST).

Below are some of the highlights and clips from the broadcast of The 60th Annual Grammy Awards, along with the full list of Grammy winners at the end.

Here’s my usual official Grammys warning: I really really really do not like country music; I strongly dislike pop music in general, though I typically find myself presently surprised by maybe one artist or song per year; and I mostly have no idea about new music that’s not hard rock or heavy metal. I spend the majority of the broadcast asking, “Who’s this?” I can, though, be objective when talking about a performance when it happens to be really good. But note that when I say I’m writing about the “highlights,” 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 or now even the Best Rock Song winner.

Last year’s awards had something to entice me — Metallica’s team-up with Lady Gaga, which would have been pretty clue had there not been technical difficulties. This year, though, there was nothing similar compelling me to this broadcast. But, this year, like with other awards ceremonies lately, had powerful messages like the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, as well as problems with gun violence, police brutality, sexual abuse, and the Dreamers.

By the way, thanks to my faithful daily attendance at the gym, I actually knew a bunch of songs, since the gym pummels you with the same songs repeatedly.

So typically I start out by mentioning the Metal and Hard Rock categories that they don’t bother to televise. So I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I don’t even know the music of the nominees. Like, Metallica lost Best Rock Album to some band called The War On Drugs, and again, they are another one of those bands I heard at the gym. For Best Rock Song, Foo Fighters (who I love, but they are basically pop music at this point) won for “Run.” And disappointingly the late great Chris Cornell’s “The Promise” did NOT win Best Rock Performance. So Rock and Metal were a bust this year.

Kendrick Lamar, who went on to win Best Rap/Sung Performance for his song with Rihanna (“Loyalty”), as well as Best Rap Album, opened the night with a medley I wasn’t familiar with, but there was a clear powerful political message (which gets my support), helped by Dave Chappelle and U2‘s Bono and The Edge.

Next performance was an emotional one by Lady Gaga, accompanied by Mark Ronson, of “Joanne” and “Million Reasons.” As usually, she was great.

Then some country music, and weepy Sam Smith, and then Ed Sheeran won for that “Shape Of You” song, another gym torture chamber tune. Then out comes Sarah Silverman with football player Victor Cruz, and she says they are there to encourage everyone to vote, but quickly follows up with “Just kidding, do what you want to do, the world is basically over anyway.” That was the highlight of that moment, because the song they introduced was “Despacito” and then we had to hear it. Another tune that tortures me during workouts.

Next performance: Childish Gambino aka Donald Glover, whose acting I love (he’s playing a young Lando in Solo: A Star Wars Story), did “Terrified.” Sounded good, but just not my musical cup of tea.

Since the Grammys are in New York City this year, host James Corben took to the city’s subways with Sting and Shaggy to do a NYC Edition of his famous “Carpool Karaoke” called “Subway Car Karaoke.” If you’re a New Yorker (like me), then you know this isn’t going to go well. As the trio starts their singing, an MTA worker tells them to “knock it off.” When they try to explain it’s for the Grammys, he says “I don’t give a fuck, shut up.” As they move down the subway car, another ride wearing headphones tells them he doesn’t have any change, thinking them panhandlers. Then other rides tell them to shut up and move on, ending with the MTA worker punching out Corben. Welcome to New York, this is how it is here.

Best Comedy Album: Dave Chappelle, who is still awesome. “I’m honored to win an award finally,” he said.

Before introducing a performance from Sting (of “Englishman In New York” and his tune with Shaggy “Don’t Make Me Wait”), James Corben told the audience that the people who do not win a Grammy get a “Consolation Puppy” as a prize, and then we see attendees like Jerry Seinfeld and Jim Gaffigan getting the most adorable little puppies!!!! (Hoping these puppies get real homes after this.)

Some country people (Eric Church, Maren Morris, and Brothers Osborne) did a cover of “Tears In Heaven,” Eric Clapton’s song for his son who died. This is a great song that they did justice to and it was in tribute to all the victims lost last year to gun violence and terrorism at live music events.

Ok, so Kesha, her stuff is just not my thing, but I’m listing her performance of “Praying” here because she was sending a powerful message, and a lot of women artists joined her on stage in solidarity. The song is to the man who sexually abused her and basically destroyed her career, of which she was fortunate enough to come back from. In it, she says to this man “When I’m finished, they won’t even know your name” and what was awesome is that she’s right! I know the story about the producer who did this to her, and I’ve already forgotten his name, yet I know who Keisha is, even after her forced hiatus.

U2, one of the biggest rock bands in the world, took to a stage on a barge on NY’s Hudson River to perform “Get Out Of Your Own Way” with the Statue Of Liberty in the background (apparently, it was pre-recorded). Another important message of the night, this time as a nod to the Dreamers and the immigrants to America.

In another nod to today’s political climate, Corden mentioned the past Presidents had won GRAMMYs for Spoken Word, which led to a taped segment of audiobook auditions for the controversial new book Fire & Fury, an insider’s look at Trump’s first year in office. Up for the part were John Legend, Cher, Snoop Dog, Cardi B, DJ Kalid, and lastly, Hillary Clinton!!!! HA HA HA! Loved this.

Next up: the great Sir Elton John, accompanied by Miley Cyrus, his classic song “Tiny Dancer.” Good stuff!!! Miley has come a long way from her stupid twerking act with Robin Thicke years ago.

Growing up in New York City, you learn to have an appreciate for Broadway musicals, regardless of the genre of music you prefer normally. That’s why it was so nice to see the Broadway tributes the greats Leonard Bernstein and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Patti LePone’s rendition of “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” from Evita was amazing.

The In Memoriam reel, which featured Chris Cornell, Malcolm Young, and Dolores O’Riordan, was intro’d by a cover of Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers” from Chris Stapleton and Emmylou Harris.

And that was pretty much the end of the “Highlights.” I’ll leave this off before the Winners list with my thoughts at the very end of the broadcast:

Winners

List via CBS.

Comedy album
“The Age of Spin & Deep in the Heart of Texas,” Dave Chappelle

Rap album
“DAMN.,” Kendrick Lamar

New artist
Alessia Cara

Rap/sung performance
“Loyalty,” Kendrick Lamar feat. Rihanna

Pop vocal album
“÷,” Ed Sheeran

Traditional pop vocal album
“Tony Bennett Celebrates 90,” various artists

Pop duo/group performance
“Feel It Still,” Portugal. The Man

Country song
“Broken Halos,” Chris Stapleton

Country solo performance
“Either Way,” Chris Stapleton

Country duo/group performance
“Better Man,” Little Big Town

Rap song
“HUMBLE.,” Kendrick Lamar

Rap performance (single or track)
“HUMBLE.,” Kendrick Lamar

R&B album
“24K Magic,” Bruno Mars

Urban contemporary album
“Starboy,” The Weeknd

R&B song
“That’s What I Like,” Bruno Mars

Traditional R&B performance
“Redbone,” Childish Gambino

R&B performance
“That’s What I Like,” Bruno Mars

Alternative music album
“Sleep Well Beast,” The National

Rock album
“A Deeper Understanding,” The War on Drugs

Rock song
“Run,” Foo Fighters

Metal performance
“Sultan’s Curse,” Mastodon

Rock performance (single or track)
“You Want It Darker,” Leonard Cohen

American roots song
“If We Were Vampires,” Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit

American roots performance
“Killer Diller Blues,” Alabama Shakes

Contemporary Christian album
“Chain Breaker,” Zach Williams

Gospel album
“Let Them Fall in Love,” CeCe Winans

Jazz instrumental album
“Rebirth,” Billy Childs

New age album
“Dancing on Water,” Peter Kater

Song written for visual media
“How Far I’ll Go (Moana),” Lin-Manuel Miranda

Score soundtrack for visual media
“La La Land”

Compilation soundtrack for visual media
“La La Land”

Musical theater album
“Dear Evan Hansen”

Spoken word album
“The Princess Diarist,” Carrie Fisher

Latin pop album
“El Dorado,” Shakira

Music film
“The Defiant Ones,” various artists

Music video
“HUMBLE.,” Kendrick Lamar

Contemporary instrumental album
“Prototype,” Jeff Lorber Fusion

Dance/electronic album
“3-D The Catalogue,” Kraftwerk

Dance recording
“Tonite,” LCD Soundsystem

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