As anyone who watched them knows, the Grammy’s this year were weird. In an attempt to appease the people who felt alienated by last year’s performances, the show was an uncomfortable mashup of new and old that ended up working out about 30% of the time. For your convenience, we ranked the important ones and ignored the rest, because 3.5 hours is a long fucking award show.
Last year, Beyoncé and Jay-Z opened the Grammy's with an iconic performance of Drunk in Love that we still dream about sometimes. Seriously, wet hair hadn't looked that since good Fast Times at Ridgemont High. However, a lot of people (read: old people) thought it was racy and borderline offensive, probably because they themselves are boring and borderline racist. Anyways, to avoid a repeat situation, the Grammy's decided to open with….AC/DC. This would be a fantastic move if it were the 70's and AC/DC had released a song in the last 20 years. Alas, neither of those thing applied. It was yawn worthy until Highway to Hell started and people were like Oh yeah, these guys. My dad totally used to get stoned to them in high school. But it's nice to see that Lord Farquaad found work after Shrek, we didn't know he could play guitar. Rating: 1 star
Ari sang a song written by Harry Styles that no one had ever heard before, which was a bold move considering she had an entire album full of popular options up for nomination. She wasn't wearing her signature bedazzled leotard, so we almost didn't recognize her (thank God for the high pony). Her voice was flawless as per usual, but the performance as whole was kind of boring. However, she is one of the few performers who didn't get paired up with someone irrelevant, so she can clearly hold her own in the eyes of the academy. Rating: 3 stars
If you didn't have literal chills during this performance then I don't even know what to say to you other than GTFO. Kanye West singing from the perspective of his dead mother in a pitch black arena with one heavenly light shining beneath him is the definition of beauty. This was only the beginning of the MVP night Kanye was about to have. Rating: 5 stars made of my tears
In her ever raging battle for relevance, Madonna managed to pull out a moderately entertaining performance. She sang while large leather clad mean in bedazzled bull masks fought over her body. I realize she was going for a matador aesthetic, but it came across distinctly more S&M than Spanish. It was very reminiscent of American Horror Story: Coven, which is perfect because Madonna was probably in the same graduating class as Kathy Bates' character. The performance ended with her being sky lifted from the stage, presumably because her back gave out mid thrust. Rating: 3 stars of gray
It doesn't really matter that Ed gave almost an identical performance at the VS Fashion Show. He could perform this song at every award show or event for the rest of my life, and I would still sit and stare open mouthed at the TV for 3 minutes. But now we can listen to Ed AND look at the beauty that is John Mayer? Sold. The second half of the performance with the band that I've literally never heard of is irrelevant. Ed and John power duo forever. Rating: 3.5 gingery stars
I wish there was more to say about this performance other than the fact that they're both super hot. Adam and Gwen sang My Heart is Open off of Maroon 5's latest album V. They sounded good, but the performance in general wasn't all that memorable. Like, Blake Shelton probably wouldn't have turned his chair around for it. Rating: 2.5 stars
Hozier and Annie Lennox's dual performance of Take Me to Church and I Put a Spell on You is the exact soundtrack I would want playing if I were participating in some Wiccan bullshit in a cemetery a midnight. It was reverent, celestial and beautiful, with the added bonus of being the first time I've ever seen Hozier smile. Rating: 4.5 Spooky Graveyard Stars
Pharrell was dressed in his bellboy outfit from the Karl Lagerfeld music video, this time with no Cara Delevigne in sight (unfortunately). Thanks to Hans Zimmer, the intro to the song felt like a particularly intense scene from Inception, but it mellowed out once the first verse started. Between the orchestra, the crazy piano stylings of Lang Lang, and the not at all subtle hands up don't shoot thrown into the choreography (not the last time it'll come up tonight) Pharrell managed to pull out a pretty great performance despite the fact that everyone stopped listening to happy about 9 months ago. Rating: 4 stars
There was nothing about this that wasn't perfect. Androgynous lady suits? Check. Perfect harmonies? Check. Rihanna glaring into the camera like she just caught the audience talking mad shit on Barbados? Check. As tired as it is to say, the only way to truly describe her performance is fierce as fuck. RiRi and Kanye have so much natural chemistry on stage and watching it was probably as close as I'll ever come to having an actual religious experience. Paul McCartney reverse aged just by standing that close to them. Rating: 5 stars from wildin'
Just when you thought shit with Sia couldn't get any weirder, she proved you so very wrong. Kristen Wiig joined the girl from Dance Moms that has starred in Sia's last two videos, and together they ran around the stage in bleached blonde bobs and nude leotards while Sia stood in a corner and sang with her back to the audience. Their routine was full of all the crazy eyes and jerky choreography that we've come to expect from Sia. Weird as fuck? Definitely. Artistic? Maybe. Entertaining? Absolutely. Rating: 4 very confused stars
Right after her album of the year snub, Beyoncé reasserted her dominance and spit in the face of the academy by bringing down the house with a soulful rendition of Precious Lord, Take My Hand, a favorite hymn of Martin Luther King, Jr. Shroud in white and surrounded by a glowing (probably natural) light, she looked like an actual angel. Sorry Hozier, but Bey literally took us to church. Following Pharrel's lead, the hands up, don't shoot stance made it's way into this performance as well. Rating: 5 not trying to piss of the illuminati stars