It's that time — music's biggest night! For the first time in 15 years, the Grammys have returned to the Big Apple. From fashion statements and jaw-dropping performances to must-hear speeches, trending topics and, of course, all the antics and laughs that came courtesy of host James Corden, here are the highlights from the 60th Annual Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Jan. 28, 2018, starting with… Wow. JAY-Z started the night as the music star with more nominations than any other artist going into the 60th Annual Grammy Awards — and ended the night shut out of all eight categories in which he'd received nods. All the the rap categories in which Jay was nominated were taken by Kendrick Lamar, while Bruno Mars beat Jay for song of the year and album of the year. But as consolation, at least he had wife Beyonce and their 6-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, by his side during the ceremony to soften the blow. Keep reading for more on what had everyone buzzing at the 2018 Grammys…
How was that for an opening?! Talk about a mesh of talent! (albeit a somewhat expected combination of it!) The Grammys opened with Kendrick Lamar, Bono and The Edge from U2… and comedian Dave Chappelle. The show kicked off with Kendrick rapping while being surrounded by dancers in military garb. Then the performance segued into Bono and The Edge… then back to Kendrick. The music then stopped. Enter Dave, who suddenly said, "Hi, I'm Dave Chappelle and I just wanted to remind the audience that the only thing more frightening than watching an honest black man in America is being an honest black man in America." Then Kendrick continued the performance before Dave came back on — and the music stopped. "Is this on cable?" Dave mused. Then Kendrick went back to rapping. Strange way to open the show, but nonetheless, we're off and running…
Lady Gaga took her newest bauble out for a spin at the Grammys. Since November, there have been rumors that Gaga is an engaged lady. She's never confirmed that she's betrothed to her boyfriend of about a year, agent Christian Carino, but from the looks of that ring, maybe she doesn't have to. Gaga didn't shy away from showing off the enormous pink diamond sparkler she's had for a few months now. The pink center stone is surrounded by smaller white diamonds all set on a gold band. And yes, it's being worn on that ever-so-telling finger.
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Disrespect & drama
Oh Lorde, did the drama start early… in fact, it started before the Grammys even began. Lorde was MIA on the red carpet at the Grammys on Jan. 28 because she reportedly felt disrespected. Lorde — who's the only woman up for album of the year — won't be performing either. According to TMZ, the Kiwi star — who attended the ceremony with her little brother, Angelo Yelich-O'Connor — told the Grammys "thanks, but no thanks" after she was asked to perform as part of the Tom Petty tribute but was denied when she wanted to sing a song from her nominated album, the report said. TMZ also claimed that the four other album of the year nominees were invited to perform solo and that all except JAY-Z accepted the Recording Academy's offer. Lorde and the Grammys reportedly played a game of chicken and she didn't blink. To steal a line from Tom Petty, she didn't back down.
Best consolation prize ever
You get a puppy! You get a puppy! You get a puppy! In one of the cuter moments in awards show history, James Corden joked that those who didn't win a Grammy would be going home with a "consolation puppy." The camera then panned to comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who was handed the cutest four-legged friend ever. James jokingly warned Jerry that the pooch was a "bit of a biter." Comedian Jim Gaffigan was holding a puppy too, and James said his dog wasn't potty trained. Think the dogs didn't make an impact? Anna Kendrick tweeted, "One of consolation puppies just got walked past me so the night is pretty much downhill from here. #GRAMMYs."
Who's that kid?
Childish Gambino put on a fantastic performance at the Grammys (or, shall we say, a "Terrified" performance). The rapper (aka Emmy-winning actor Donald Glover) — who will play an adult Simba in Disney's upcoming live-action "Lion King" film — sang his track "Terrified" but was upstaged by a 10-year-old boy. JD McCrary, who's set to play Young Simba in the movie, joined the rapper on stage during his performance and was hitting some serious notes. Well done, young man, well done.
Support & solidarity
The women have spoken! Before Kesha's moving and powerful performance of "Praying," she was introduced by Janelle Monae. The actress-singer didn't hold back, saying, "We come in peace, but we mean business… I am proud to stand in solidarity… with my fellow sisters in this room who make up the music industry. To those who would dare try and silence us, we offer you two words: Time's up," she said. "We say time's up for pay inequality, discrimination or harassment of any kind and time's up for abuse of power. It's not just going on in Hollywood… it's right here in our industry." She later added, "Just as we have the power to shape culture, we also have the power to undo the culture that does not serve us." After Janelle stirred the crowd, Kesha was joined by Cyndi Lauper, Bebe Rexha, Camila Cabello, Julia Michaels, Andra Day and more on stage. The women essentially sang backup for Kesha. It was an absolute show of solidarity in the midst of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. In case you forgot, "Praying" was written following Kesha's devastating legal battle with producer Dr. Luke, whom she's accused of abuse and sexual misconduct (which he's long denied). After the performance, Kesha was seen tearing up. Audience members, many of whom were clearly emotional, gave her a standing ovation.
The most emotional tribute of the night started with audio difficulties that thankfully were fixed just as the Brothers Osborne, Eric Church and Maren Morris launched into a beautiful, bittersweet rendition of "Tears in Heaven" to honor the victims of two music tragedies — the May terrorist bombing of England's Manchester Arena in England after Ariana Grande's concert, and the October mass shooting in Las Vegas during the Route 91 Harvest festival featuring country music's best — that killed more than 80 music fans. "The healing power of music will always provide," Eric somberly told viewers.
Political support for a rival
We know who Kendrick Lamar is voting for in 2020! While accepting his award for best rap album, the rapper gave the usual thanks (record label, fans, etc.). But at the end of his speech, he said, "Jay for president." The shout-out came after JAY-Z (whom he's competing against in multiple categories — and beating!) and President Donald Trump got into it. In an interview with CNN's "The Van Jones Show," Jay called Trump "the superbug." Trump, not one to take an insult, especially lately, then tweeted, "Somebody please inform Jay-Z that because of my policies, Black Unemployment has just been reported to be at the LOWEST RATE EVER RECORDED!"
The best pre-taped bits
"Subway Carpool Karaoke" just doesn't have the same cachet as regular old Carpool Karaoke. In a comedy bit midway through the show, host James Corden joined Sting and Shaggy to do his popular late-night show segment, Carpool Karaoke, with a New York City twist — they did it on the subway. The bit was funny, but staged. The trio started singing Sting and Shaggy's hits on a subway car but kept getting shut down by fellow passengers. James even got "punched" by one man. The whole thing was set up and the upset "passengers" were obviously actors. We just wish it had worked! A later pre-taped bit, however, went over much, much better. James had several music stars read excerpts of Michael Wolff's "Fire & Fury" — the best-selling, unflattering book about President Trump — in a spoof effort to see who might win the gig and, presumably, a spoken word Grammy next year. Along with John Legend, Cher, Snoop Dogg, Cardi B and others, none other than Hillary Clinton read an excerpt — drawing laughs and applause for the playful bit.
Tom Petty passed away on Oct. 2, and the Grammys made sure he was remembered. Chris Stapleton and Emmylou Harris played a somber acoustic version of Tom's song "Wildflowers" to honor his legacy. "You belong with your love on your arm / You belong somewhere you feel free," they sang. The tribute gracefully segued into the In Memoriam segment of the show. Those we lost this past year included several musical heavyweights like Chuck Berry, David Cassidy, Glen Campbell, Dolores O'Riordan, Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington, among others.
Awards and celebrations are great and all, but perhaps the most important moment of the show came from Logic, who performed his hit song "1-800-273-8255," which is the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. During the anti-suicide anthem, he was joined by Alessia Cara and Khalid. He was also joined by suicide attempt and loss survivors. The men and women donned shirts with either the phone number or the words "You are not alone." Toward the end of the song, he went rogue: "Black is beautiful. Hate is ugly. Women are as precious as they are stronger than any other man than I have met. And to them, I say stand tall and crush all predators under the weight of your heart that is full of the love they will never take away from you. Be not scared to use your voice, especially in instances like these when you have the opportunity. Stand and fight for those who are not weak but have yet to discover the strength that the evil of this world has done its best to conceal. To all the beautiful countries filled with culture and diversity and thousands of years of history you are not sh–hole countries. And lastly on the behalf of those who fight for equality in a world that is not equal, not just and not ready for the change we are here to bring I say up to you bring us your tired, your poor and any immigrant that seeks refuge for together we can build not just a better country but a word that is destined to be united."
When Pink takes the stage, it's usually must-see TV because of her over-the-top performances. This time, though, it was just the opposite. While belting out "Wild Hearts Can't be Broken," the singer donned a simple white off-the-shoulder shirt and jeans. A similarly dressed woman stood near her signing the song's lyrics in sign language. It was pretty. It was understated. It was perfect. It was just very un-Pink, considering her typical aerial performances.
Dave Chappelle was certainly one of the biggest stars of the night, perhaps unexpectedly. He opened the Grammys, presented an award (and gave a shout-out to A Tribe Called Quest, acknowledging their Grammys snub) and was on the mind of other comedians. Jim Gaffigan even said he was excited to lose an award to Dave. Jim was right. Dave then won best comedy album (for "The Age of Spin" and "Deep in the Heart of Texas"). During his speech, he thanked everyone from Netflix to his wife and her sisters and even their kids. "I am honored to win an award, finally," he said. With seemingly nothing left to say, he added, "See you on Monday."
The CBS censors were paying close attention during Bruno Mars and Cardi B's performance of "Finesse" — but their vigilance might have backfired. Viewers at home heard a pause during the spirited performance — a pause meant to occur during a raunchy lyric. But The Wrap reports that the censors started the pause too early and that it sounded like they lifted it before the offending lyric — the word "sh–" ("Blame it on your measurements / Shut that sh– down on sight / That's right") was sung. Oops! But the censors weren't done yet — they also got bleep-happy during SZA's performance later in the show.
This year's best new artist is…
SZA might have been the most nominated female artist at the 2018 Grammy Awards with five nods, but she did not take home the coveted best new artist award (or any others for that matter, drawing Twitter's ire) — that honor went to Alessia Cara. The stunned 21-year-old Canadian singer — you know her from her hit song "Scars to Your Beautiful" as well as her featured vocals on Logic's anti-suicide anthem "1-800-273-8255" — admitted she was nervous as she took the stage inside Madison Square garden to accept the prize. "I've been, like, pretending-winning Grammys since I was kid, like in my shower," she said on stage, "so you'd think I'd have, like, the speech thing down, but I absolutely don't." But she quickly found her groove as she urged viewers to "support real music and real artists because everyone deserves the same shot. That goes for everyone. Not just those in the music industry." She also beat out Julia Michaels, Khalid and Lil Uzi Vert for the best new artist Grammy.
Princess Leia is still the princess of the Grammys. Carrie Fisher passed away more than a year ago, but she took home a posthumous Grammy Award for best spoken word album award for her book "The Princess Diarist." Her daughter, Billie Lourd, took to social media to recognize the moment. "Princess Diarist was the last profesh(ish) thing my momby and I got to do together," she captioned a throwback image of her and her mom on a red carpet together long ago. "I wish she was here to carry me down the red carpet in some bizarre floral ensemble but instead we'll celebrate in true Carrie style: in bed in front of the TV over cold Coca Colas and warm e cigs. I'm beyond proud."
While many of the women donned black, white or metallic looks on the 2018 Grammys red carpet, several men went in a different direction with colorful suits and jackets. DJ Khaled and his adorable son, Asahd, wore matching red velvet tuxedos. Sam Smith donned a double-breasted green suit atop a fine-knit red, navy and gray sweater. Elton John sparkled in a jacket embellished with blue, red and gold sequins. And Ne-Yo looked both luxe and playful in a velvet mustard yellow jacket.
It was a white-out at the 60th Annual Grammys. While black was the color of the night at the Golden Globes, white was the way the Grammys went. Many stars chose to wear white roses to honor the #MeToo and Time's Up movements, which strive to end sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace and in everyday culture. The idea was formed by a group called Voices in Entertainment. In a statement, the group said, "We choose the white rose because historically it stands for hope, peace, sympathy and resistance." Kelly Clarkson, who carried a white rose down the red carpet, told Ryan Seacrest that she embraced the meaning behind the bloom. "I thought those were very lovely things for every human to encompass and to also share with others… I thought it was a really, really cool thing." And she wasn't the only one: Clearly, many music artists — including Lady Gaga, seen here — were more than happy to stop and smell the white roses on Grammy night.
Less than a year after his death, Chris Cornell's presence was felt at the Grammys thanks to his family. Chris' widow, Vicky Cornell, and their daughter Toni, 13, as well as Chris's daughter Lily, 17 (left), from his first marriage, donned black and attended the ceremony together. They haven't walked a red carpet together since the Soundgarden frontman's tragic suicide in May 2017.
(In your best Chandler Bing voice) Could Lil Uzi Vert BE any less impressed on the Grammys red carpet? The rapper, up for best new artist, spoke to E!'s Giuliana Rancic during the pre-show and wasn't into it… at all. She asked if he was excited about the nomination. He said, "Uh, this is normal. This is my life, so it's whatever." She awkwardly continued to try to pull some enthusiasm out of him. But nope. He didn't win the best new artist award later on, but he had post-win plans in case he did. "If I win, I'm just going to think about everything I'm going to buy the next day," he told Giuliana. "You know I like to shop. So, shopping. Gucci just dropped a new collab with Burberry, and it's very nice. I got to get everything." His big plans tomorrow? "Wake up and eat Pop Tarts." #Goals
Sorry, you Jonas Brothers fans, but a reunion isn't happening… at least for now. Recent rumors have hinted that former Disney darlings the Jonas Brothers were gearing up for a reunion, sending millennials into a tailspin. While speaking to Ryan Seacrest on E!'s Grammys red carpet pre-show, Nick Jonas poured water on the idea that he's reconnecting with brothers Kevin Jonas and Joe Jonas professionally… kind of. The rumor was started after the family spent a weekend together. "There is no reunion planned," Nick said, "but never say never."
First to take a swipe
Sarah Silverman was the first to get political at the Grammys… Well, kind of. Before introducing Luis Fonsi and his red-hot performance of "Despacito" with Daddy Yankee, Sarah took the stage and told the audience that she and fellow presenter Victor Cruz were there to encourage people to vote. Victor told her that was not at all why they were there. The comedian, a frequent critic of President Trump, said, "Do what you want to do. The world is basically over anyway." Tell us how you really feel, Sarah! (Which we're sure you will!)