The Grammys were last night, for those of you unaware. While there were plenty of awards to be handed out, the night’s biggest draw, as always, was the sheer magnitude of the number of performances. From Katy Perry and Juicy J to Macklemore and Madonna, Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons to Beyoncé and Jay Z, the performances ranged from conventional to compelling, sometimes all within one performance.
Here’s a look back at the night’s biggest winners, and losers, calculated with a highly complex algorithm.*
WINNER Kendrick Lamar
The previews that hyped this year’s Grammy Awards announced hip-hop wunderkind Kendrick Lamar would be teaming up with the breathing chemical guys (they like to be called Imagine Dragons, mind you), and the hip-hop world sighed. How could the most promising rapper in ages be marginalized to the point where he has to share the stage with Imagine freakin’ Dragons? Well, if Kendrick didn’t convince you he’s at the top of the conversation of best current-day rappers with his “Control (HOF)” verse, he certainly did with his Grammy mashup of the Imagine Dragons inescapable hit “Radioactive” and his good kid, m.A.A.d. city track “m.A.A.d. city.” One of the most adrenaline fueled tracks on his major-label debut, “city” hit overdrive on the Grammy stage. He performed with a tenacity and intensity impossible to not be affected by. And giving credit where credit’s due, Imagine Dragons played their bit-part ceremoniously, largely standing in the background to allow Lamar the space he deserves. When leading singer joined in with a chorus of their hit song, he delivered an inspired take, no doubt impacted by Lamar’s Grammy stage-shattering showcase.
She didn’t have to do much, mainly just sitting in a chair on a rotating platform, while belting her latest hit single “Drunk In Love,” but somehow Bey made it all look transcendent. With a short, soaking wet bob, and a revealing outfit, Bey kicked off the night in style. Of course, being America, people are up-in-arms over what they perceived to be a salacious and controversial performance, with some questioning why Bey gets a free pass while the Miley Cyruses of the world do not. Well, it certainly helps when the performance is predicated on much more than a head-turning wardrobe choice.
LOSER Grammy Producers
Yeah, I know I just praised Kendrick Lamar’s debut Grammy performance, but it is safe to say that Grammy producers botched his moment by making him perform with Imagine Dragons. What could have been a performance that highlighted all the young, up-and-coming MCs currently taking over hip-hop was turned into an act of assimilation. The YouTube covers that rang in the various nominees in the lesser categories was also a tragic addition, a sorely missed opportunity for the Grammy’s to resonate with a younger generation.
WINNER Macklemore + Ryan Lewis
I correctly predicted Macklemore + Ryan Lewis would take home the trophies for Best New Artist as well as Best Rap Album while losing in the Song of the Year and Album of the Year categories. What I didn’t foresee was the instantly iconic performance they put on, with help from Queen Latifah and Madonna. Mary Lambert joined as well, to deliver the hook of their nominated-single “Same Love,” while couples of varying walks of life tied the knot. It was a moving moment, and one that even Madonna’s turn as Colonel Sanders couldn’t thwart.
LOSER Justin Timberlake
He took over the stage during last year’s Grammy ceremony, without having a single nomination. This year, after his The 20/20 Experience took the world by storm, JT was notably absent from the festivities. His only win came when Jay Z accepted the award for Best Rap Collaboration (for “Holy Grail”), and he went largely unthanked during the acceptance speech. But hey, at least he helped get Blue Ivy a new sippy cup, so there’s that.
It’s not their fault, really, that Grammy organizers asked Metallica to perform “One” right after Jared Leto’s bizarre Lou Reed tribute. But they could have said no, right? The last thing people should remember Reed by is his collaboration with Metallica, yet their performance was a vivid reminder of their poorly planned conceptual album Lulu.
WINNER Daft Punk
The night’s biggest winner was none other than a pair of French robots who just a year ago would never be considered frontrunners for the night’s biggest awards. And while I predicted they would take home the trophy for Album of the Year, their win for “Get Lucky” surprised me, seeing as how Pharrell was competing against himself with “Blurred Lines.” But not only did “Get Lucky” and Random Access Memories take home the night’s two biggest prizes, their performance with the legendary Stevie Wonder was an undeniable highlight, and without a doubt the most entertaining moment of the night.