Photo credit: Colby Sharp on Flickr
By Danielle Cruz
From unique artist collaborations and spectacular stage designs the 61st annual Grammys, hosted by Alicia Keys, was actually pretty interesting.
Albeit for me, this was probably the first time I have ever watched the Grammys from beginning to end so I can’t say if it was more enjoyable than other years but I definitely enjoyed the performances and speeches throughout the show.
Below you’ll find a list of some of the moments that stood out to me while watching this year’s Grammys.
BTS (Beyond The Scene) Steals the Show:
Alright so admittedly the only reason I watched the Grammys was to see BTS.
The South Korean boyband, whose album, Love Yourself: Tear, was nominated for the lesser known category of Best Recording Package, was set to attend the Grammys and present the award for Best R&B Album.
So I watched the award show from beginning to end (since they strategically made sure that BTS would be at the end so their fans, aka me, would watch till the very end to see the 10 seconds they were on stage to announce the winners). Nonetheless, if you weren’t a fan of BTS you would have thought that they were performing or were at least nominated for a big award with how much media coverage they were given for just presenting.
It was a big deal though. Though they weren’t up for a well known Grammy, this marked the first time a Korean artist was presenting at the Grammys. Many are looking at it as a sign that next year they will become the first Koreans to be nominated for one of the big awards and potentially become the first Korean artist to win an award.
If anything, presenting the award only served to make BTS more determined to be nominated for a Grammy with Kim Namjoon (RM), the leader of BTS, promising that next year they will be back and instead of presenting they’ll be sitting in the seats hearing “and the Grammy goes to BTS!”
Camila Cabello Opens the Show:
Okay when I heard that Camila Cabello was opening the show with her hit song Havana I was already thinking about not watching those first few minutes because I was so tired of hearing it on repeat all the time, but the thought of missing a glimpse of BTS was too powerful so I ended up watching her opening the show.
I have to say though that I was honestly pleasantly surprised by her performance. Maybe it was because I’ve only heard the song 100 times and have never seen it performed live but I thought it was a pretty solid and engaging opening number.
I actually even liked that she shared the stage with Young Thug, Ricky Martin, and J Balvin. At first, I thought it was going to sound too crowded. I thought she was just sort of going to give them a hasty line from Havana for them to sing, but when she incorporated their songs it actually flowed really well.
I thought the set design of recreating a Hispanic community, similar to a la plaza (it also kind of reminded me a bit of the set for the musical In the Heights), was a really nice touch and worked well to give the song that latino vibe it needed.
Dolly Parton Tribute:
Whether you like country music or not I think just about everyone starts singing Jolene whenever they hear it played.
I know a lot of people were saying that Katy Perry was trying to upstage Dolly Parton but I honestly didn’t even notice that I think this is just another case of people wanting to start fights between artist for no particular reason. That being said I did think it was a weird choice to have Katy Perry on stage since she’s not a country singer.
I think for me the best part of the tribute was when she sang Jolene with Miley Cyrus and when she sang Red Shoes with Little Big Town.
Now I know a lot of people were disappointed to say the least when they learned that Jennifer Lopez was going to be the one performing the Motown tribute.
I mean it is strange that they contacted J.Lo instead of someone like Jennifer Hudson to do the tribute, but I think they choose J. Lo because she can dance and they were going for a more energetic tribute.
Honestly, I think J.Lo’s vocals were pretty good, whether she had a little help from a back track is debatable, but I thought that her performance was pretty sold and having Smokey Robinson on stage definitely made it worthwhile to see.
The only issue I had with her performance was that the stage and costume designs didn’t say Motown to me. Don’t get me wrong I loved her costumes I just think that it wasn’t the right choice for a Motown tribute, I feel like she could have worn clothing from that time period instead of her signature glitter bodysuit.
Drakes Speech Gets Cut Off:
One of the most talked about moments was when Drake’s acceptance speech for Best Rap Song, for his song God’s Plan, was cut off.
As the rapper took to the stage he went on to say artists play in an “opinion based sport, not a factually based sport.” He went on to discredit the Grammys saying artists don’t even need the award because they have already won if their fans love their work and attend their shows.
While he was mid-speech talking about how the Grammys are basically meaningless, the music suddenly started playing as they cut quickly to commercial break leading many to believe that executives pulled the plug before Drake could discredit them anymore.
I’m kind of on the fence about this simply because I could see that they could cut it because they didn’t like Drake’s message but I also understand that artists are only allowed a certain amount of time to say their speech, so it could just be that he spoke for too long.
Her win of Best Rap Album, for her album Invasion of Privacy, marked the first time that solo female artist has won the award.
The rapper, who was visibly (and understandably) emotional made sure to thank her production team, the other artist featured on the album and her husband, Offset, and daughter, Kulture, for pushing her to make this album. She talked about the sleepless nights that she had while she was pregnant and making the album since she was trying to finish wrapping it up before she started showing.
I did feel bad though that she ended up getting a lot of hate because she won instead of the late Mac Miller, especially after people found out that the Grammys flew Miller’s family out to the award show with a promise that they had a tribute ready for him if he won Best Rap Album. The fact that she ended up getting hated on is baffling because it’s not like she decided if she won or not.
It’s the committee’s fault for getting Mac Miller’s family’s hopes up for no reason.
Overall, I really enjoyed watching the Grammys. Having Alicia Keys host the show was the right call. I felt like she has such a calming and charismatic presence that it really just allowed for the show to run rather smoothly.