Mars magic 

t2’s fave moments from the 60th Grammy Awards

  • Published 30.01.18

Full marks!

He certainly is feeling the 24K Magic. Bruno Mars, the R&B-funk star who many look up to for top-of-the-line danceable pop, took home six Grammys at the year’s biggest music event which took place at Madison Square Garden in New York on Sunday night. And he had six nominations! Despite stiff competition, he walked away with the golden gramophone for the album 24K Magic. 

Bruno Mars gave a rocking performance of Finesse with Cardi B

When the 32-year-old took the stage to receive the award from Bono and Edge, he thanked the other nominees in the category — Childish Gambino, Lorde, Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar: “You guys are the reason why I’m in the studio pulling my hair out, man, because I know you guys are only going to come with the top-shelf artistry.” He also shared a story about the people who inspired him to create the album: “So I’m 15 years old and I’m opening up a show in Hawaii called the Magic of Polynesia…. My job in that show was to entertain about 1,000 people, 1,000 tourists from all over the world. And I put together a set list like 10 to 12 songs and I will be honest, I was incredible at 15.... And later on in life, I found out that those songs that I was singing were written by either Baby Face, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis or Teddy Riley.” Among the big awards he won are Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

Politically charged

Rapper-songwriter Kendrick Lamar recruited U2’s Bono and Edge, and stand-up comedian Dave Chappelle to give the 60th annual Grammy Awards a striking and politically-charged opening. The 30-year-old rapper kicked off the show with his song XXX surrounded by phalanxes of soldiers in camouflage fatigues, while images of the American flag appeared on digital screens. Then flashed the words “This is a satire by Kendrick Lamar”, which marked the appearance of the U2 men and then Dave, who announced: “The only thing more frightening than watching a black man be honest in America is being an honest black man in America.” The rapper then moved to primeval verses from DNA and Jay Rock’s King’s Dead while a woman played a taiko drum. All this culminated in simulated gunshots firing while dancers fell to the ground.

Kesha (centre) performs with (from left) Bebe Rexha, Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, Andra Day and Julia Michaels

A #MeToo moment

Leading up to the awards, everyone wondered how the music industry would respond to the #MeToo movement. Kesha, who has been locked in a legal battle with her former producer Lukasz ‘Dr. Luke’ Gottwald on charges of abuse, showed her support as she performed Praying. Her voice broke as she sang You brought the flames and you put me through hell and When I’m finished, they won’t even know your name, surrounded by singers in all-white, including Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, Julia Michaels and Andra Day along with the Resistance Revival Chorus, a collective of women who sing protest songs. In a tweet on Saturday, Kesha wrote: “I just want to say that I needed this song in a very real way... and if you need it I hope this song finds you.” Janelle Monae introduced the performance with a nod to the Time’s Up movement that launched around the Golden Globes.

Wild and winning!

Rihanna took the stage for a seductive performance of Wild Thoughts alongside DJ Khaled and Bryson Tiller. “They said I would never perform at the Grammys. They played themselves,” Khaled started at the beginning of his Grammy stage debut. And then arrived the 29-year-old in a pink summery dress with sparkling rhinestones before being joined by a crew. Earlier in the evening, Rihanna accepted a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration with Kendrick Lamar sporting a brown trench coat. Tony Bennett and John Legend presented them the trophy.

Baby da boss!

Sorry Jay Z but thank you for turning up with Beyonce and daughter Blue Ivy! The rapper had eight nominations but had to return home with an empty bag. And Blue gave the media something to talk about. What?! The six-year-old seemed like ordering her famous parents to chill when they clapped enthusiastically at her side while Camila Cabello was on stage speaking. Of course, it was followed by a short chat with Jay Z!

Still standing tall

Elton John has already announced his retirement from touring. And that made his live appearance with Miley Cyrus extra special. The duo performed Tiny Dancer while a single white rose was kept on his piano as a nod to the Time’s Up movement. Miley appeared in a ball gown and remained faithful to this classic track.

Shower of claps

Here’s an artiste you should keep an eye on — Alessia Cara, who won the Best New Artiste Grammy. She created a YouTube page at age 13 and kicked off her singing career with covers of popular songs like Adele’s One and Only and Justin Timberlake’s Mirrors. Her first management deal came through at age 14! “Holy cow,” said the surprised 
21-year-old Canadian on receiving the trophy. “I’ve been pretend winning Grammys since I was a kid in my shower. You think I’d have the speech thing down, but I absolutely don’t. I just want to encourage everyone to support real music and real artistes. Everyone deserves the same shot,” she said to loud applause.

What was he thinking!

Sam Smith has long talked about his love of gospel, and at the ceremony he gave a reverent take on Pray, backed by a band and a gospel choir. Sadly, this can very well be among his under-the-weather performances. And the social media roasted his choice of attire. @Bossip tweeted: “Sam Smith dressed like he about to take out our appendix.”

The White Rose was there

A number of artistes, producers and executives accented their red-carpet looks with a white rose. Taking a page from the Time’s Up initiative against harassment and workplace inequality, which had its black-dress debut earlier this month at the Golden Globes, a separate organisation called Voices in Entertainment began an email campaign on Wednesday to spread the word about the accessory of choice. 

The white rose, the group said, “has historically stood for hope, peace, sympathy, and resistance”. Among the celebrities to sport flowers were Grammy host James Corden, country icon Reba McEntire, rapper Eve, pop singers Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson, Kesha, Miley Cyrus, Rita Ora, Alessia Cara, Sam Smith, Khalid, The Chainsmokers, Janelle Monae and Lana Del Rey, and actor Anna Kendrick. 

“I think it’s important to stand in solidarity with our sisters, our friends, mothers, daughters, women all over the world to raise awareness about what’s happening,” New Rules singer Dua Lipa told Time magazine at the Clive Davis Pre-Grammy gala on Saturday night. “We all want a brighter future, we all want equality, we all want to see us moving forward. We have to battle bit by bit, but it’s all worth it.”


Midway into the evening’s programme, several music stars and Hillary Clinton joined in a pre-recorded skit that mocked President Trump. Host James Corden announced: “We know that our current President does love winning awards, and the good news for him is he may just be the subject of next year’s winner. The question I’ve got is: Who will be the narrator?” The scene cuts to a fake audition of the spoken word version of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, a book that has infuriated Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton is seen on screen: “He had a longtime fear of being poisoned. One reason why he likes to eat at McDonald’s. Nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely pre-made.” Uh-oh!

The Winners

Record of the Year: 24K Magic — Bruno Mars
Album of the Year: 24K Magic — Bruno Mars
Song of the Year: That’s What I Like — Bruno Mars and his songwriters
Best New Artiste: Alessia Cara
Best Pop Solo Performance: Shape Of You — Ed Sheeran
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: Feel It Still — Portugal. The Man
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: Tony Bennett Celebrates 90 — Various Artistes
Best Pop Vocal Album: ÷ — Ed Sheeran
Best Dance Recording: Tonite — LCD Soundsystem
Best Dance/Electronic Album: 3-D The Catalogue — Kraftwerk
Best Rock Performance: You Want It Darker — Leonard Cohen
Best Metal Performance: Sultan’s Curse — Mastodon
Best Rock Song: Run — Foo Fighters
Best Rock Album: A Deeper Understanding — The War on Drugs
Best R&B Performance: That’s What I Like — Bruno Mars
Best R&B Song: That’s What I Like — Bruno Mars
Best Urban Contemporary Album: Starboy — The Weeknd
Best R&B Album: 24K Magic — Bruno Mars
Best Rap Performance: HUMBLE. — Kendrick Lamar
Best Rap/Sung Performance: LOYALTY. — Kendrick Lamar featuring Rihanna
Best Rap Song: HUMBLE. — Kendrick Lamar
Best Rap Album: DAMN. — Kendrick Lamar