Electrifying performances ignite music’s biggest night

As expected, music’s biggest night was chick full of crowd pleasers.

Ashly E. Smith

As expected, music’s biggest night was chick full of crowd pleasers. Once again hosted by James Corden, the 60th Annual Grammy Awards was broadcast the show live from Madison Square Garden in New York City. Kendrick Lamar kicked the evening off with his usual mind-blowing intellect and lyrical prowess. Backed by dancers clad in Army fatigues, as images of the American flag graced the big screen, Lamar exploded into a politically charged medley of hits, with interludes performed by comedy king Dave Chappelle. With extreme intensity, Lamar delivered “XXX”during which rock icons Bono and the Edge appeared to add their additional lyrics and instrumental accompaniment. Soon, the lights faded, as “This is a satire by Kendrick Lamar” flashed across the big screen.

As the crowed roared with excitement, Dave Chappelle emerged for a delivery of his classic sarcasm: “Hi, I’m Dave Chappelle,”and I just wanted to remind the audience that the only thing more frightening than watching a black man be honest in America, is being an honest black man in America. “Sorry for the interruption.” As the crowd erupted into laughter, Lamar then morphed into an even more electrically charged mash up of his hit “DNA” and Jay Rock’s “King’s Dead,” as the army fatigued dancers were suddenly clad in red, and a braided woman played a drum. The enthralling performance concluded as the sound of gunshots rang out, with the dancers individually collapsing to the floor.

As a result, his standing ovation was no surprise.  Lamar took home four of the seven Grammys that he was nominated for including Best Rap Album for DAMN. In other epic moments, Bruno Mars brought Cardi B along to set the stage, and the world on fire yet again. Dressed in matching 90s Cross Colors attire, music’s “it” duo glided across the stage performing Bruno’s hit “Finesse” remix. The performance was nothing less than exciting, as Cardi, got the crowd hyped with her opening verse, and disappeared as Bruno and company emerged seconds later.

Cardi B and Bruno Mars perform their hit, “Finesse” Photo credit: GQ.com

Backed by a robustly colored stage, which included an enlarged version of the word “Finesse”, Bruno quickly got his gears in motion. Equipped with his fancy footwork and vocal prowess, the Honolulu Hawaii dynamo delivered just like we knew that he would. Enter Cardi B.  With her second verse, being as explosive as the first, the Bronx bombshell burst back onstage with an impromptu version of her new hit “Bariter Cardi”, before going back to Bruno’s original format. Basically, she created her own remix of a remix, as Bruno effortlessly did the moonwalk. As their performance ended, they sealed the moment with a friendly hug, while smiling at the audience.

A dynamic duo indeed. Released on January 4, 2018, “Finesse’s” bold, colorful, 90s inspired video pays homage to In Living Color, the popular 90s sketch comedy series In Living Color. Taken from his double platinum smash 24K Magic, the uptempo hit was co-written by Mars himself and the Stereotypes, and also produced by The Stereotypes along with Shampoo Press & Curl. Cardi B earned two nominations for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance for her mega-banger “Bodak Yellow”, while Bruno was a huge winner for the night, taking home all six of the Grammys that he was nominated for, including Album of the Year, for his mega hit, 24K Magic. The shining moments continued as Kesha took the stage.

Kesha performs her hit, “Praying” with Cyndi Lauper, Camilla Cabello, Andra Day, Julia Michaels, and Bebe Rexha. Photo credit: TV Guide.com

Introduced by the always eloquent Janelle Monae, Kesha took the stage for a dramatic performance her comeback song “Praying”. Taken from Rainbow, her first album in five years which released in August of 2017, “Praying” is inspired by personal struggles that Kesha has experienced including an eating disorder, and sexual abuse. After Monae’s inspiring speech regarding to the “Time’s Up” movement, Kesha graced the stage along with Cyndi Lauper, Camilla Cabello, Andra Day, Julia Michaels, and Bebe Rexha. With the ladies clad in white, the performance started with Lauper, Cabello, Day, Michaels, and Rexha delivering an impromptu version of the song acappella, before Kesha stepped in for the full performance. The performance ended with a tearful Kesha hugging her fellow vocalists, as the crowd gave her a standing ovation. Kesha earned two nominations for this year’s ceremony including Best Pop Vocal album. With so much excitement, one can only wonder what next year’s ceremony will bring!