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Crazy pairings, wacky outfits, soulful performances and even some awards (most of them going to Sam Smith): There was a lot to digest at this year's Grammy Awards. Here's a list of what wowed, who went home happy and who may be bummed out:
Surprise – No monologue!
The music-centric tone was set immediately as LL Cool J introduced AC/DC to kick off the show. The rock legends made their first Grammy appearance, and rocked Staples Center (favorite image: Dave Grohl shouting out every word to “Highway to Hell”). Host LL Cool J then returned and revealed he wouldn't be doing a monologue this year. No monologue? At an awards show? Is this Christmas in February?! Thank you, Grammys!
Snub – Taylor Goes Grammy-less
Taylor Swift was up for a couple awards for “Shake It Off.” She's currently the hottest-selling artist in the world, so it was a bit surprising to see her leave empty-handed. But fear not, Taylor fans: This time next year her album 1989 will be up for every award possible and a Swift Sweep seems very likely.
Surprise – Hey, it's Prince! Again!
Is Prince doing the award show circuit? First the Golden Globes and now a surprise appearance at the Grammys. Will he be at the Oscars… please?! He impressed with both what he wore – an outlandish number that was Oompa Loompa orange and made his-former-Purpleness look a bit like a Fruit Roll-Up… with a cane, of course – and what he said. “Albums, like books and black lives, still matter,” he said before handing the trophy to another Grammy surprise…
Surprise – Beck Wins Album of the Year
With all the Sam Smith love in the room (4 awards), he seemed like a lock for Album of the Year. But Beck, returning after a 6-year hiatus, was the surprise winner for some mellow gold of his own, the deeply moving, slow burn of a record Morning Phase. Considering some of the blunders the Academy have made with this award over the years, it was nice to see a great work get noticed. Another surprise: Album of the Year used to be the award, the biggie that ended the evening. Albums may still matter, but perhaps with streaming services like Spotify, individual songs now matter more.
Snub – Katy Perry is Becoming the Susan Lucci of Pop
She rocked the Super Bowl. She delivered a completely different kind of performance at the Grammys: subtle, touching. But when it comes to Grammy awards, Katy Perry is now 0 for 15. If she was a baseball player, she'd be benched. For some, this would be disheartening… but, uh, she performed at the Super Bowl and the Grammys in the same week. She'll be fine.
Surprise: Annie Lenox Steals the Show
Hozier was doing his Hozier thing, cruising along to his hit “Take Me to Church,” when he then introduced Annie Lenox. She came out, opened her mouth and blew the roof off of Staples. She sang “I Put a Spell on You” and, boy, was it apt. Welcome back, Annie.
Snub – Slim Shady Stands Up, Iggy Stays Seated
Much ink was spilled recently over whether Iggy Azalea deserved to become the first woman to win a Rap Grammy. Solid cases were made on both sides. In the end, her The New Classic lost Best Rap Album (and every other award she was nominated for). Worse for Iggy, she lost to Eminem. The two had beef recently over some of Slim Shady's less-than-admirable lyrics. This loss probably didn't sit well with the Australian rapper. To her fans, this was a snub. To the rest of the hip-hop world, it was probably a sigh of relief.
Snub – Awards Show or Concert?
There were 23 performances at the Grammys. There were 10 awards handed out. 73 other awards were handed out over 3 hours
prior to the televised event. Now, most people would rather watch a music show and see live music than awards handed out. Makes sense. But to basically scrap categories like Rap, Metal, Alternative, Americana, and most Country definitely is a bit of a thumb in the eye to artists in those genres. There should be a better balance.