The 59th Grammys: A Review

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LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: A detailed view of the GRAMMY awards in the press room at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Cullin Egge, Author

The 59th Grammys were nothing short of iconic, with a breathtaking performance by Beyoncé that left everyone watching across the nation teary-eyed, a powerful political performance by rap group A Tribe Called Quest, and emotional tributes to artists such as Prince and George Michael. Much loved English actor and comedian James Corden hosted the event.

The performances with a crowd pleaser: “Hello” by ten time Grammy winner Adele. She began the night with five nominations, with “Hello” itself up for three nominations, and her album 25 for two.

The most talked about performance of the night was that of the Queen herself, Beyoncé. Not two weeks after her pregnancy announcement on her Instagram platform, she gave a two-song presentation from her album Lemonade: “Sandcastles” and “Love Drought.” Adorned in a bedazzled dress and, fitting for a queen, a grandeur crown of jewels galore, Beyoncé gave quite the statement, although nobody expected anything less. A maternal-themed spectacular, she left the nation speechless, as well as emotional wrecks. Throughout the past when Beyoncé slays a performance such as this, the other performers universally accept a loss to the Queen. This year, however she had some competition.

Emerging artist Chance the Rapper solidified his presence in the industry with two wins, and a ground breaking, gospel-fueled performance of “All We Got” that moved the entire venue. British heartthrob Ed Sheeran performed his new single “Shape of You” as a one man band, and The Weeknd, joined by futuristic pals Daft Punk, won the hearts of many all over the nation with his performance of “I Feel It Coming.” The crowd was even treated to multiple cross-genre performances — Lady Gaga and Metallica, Maren Morris and Alicia Keys — to name a few.

The Grammys this year wouldn’t be as memorable without mentioning politics, especially in a year such as this. With a lengthy history of political statements, Katy Perry got the audience up and moving while performing her new pop-single “Chained to the Rhythm” symbolically behind a white-picket fence wearing a “Persist” armband. Later into evening, A Tribe Called Quest shattered all boundaries with a three-song set list of  “Award Tour”, “We The People,” and epic chant “Resist! Resist!,” as well as “President Agent Orange” performed by guest rapper Busta Rhymes. The group certainly went big, and would not go home without slamming the recent political season.

All of these performances rocked the house, but none amounted to the tear-jerking tributes to late Prince by Bruno Mars and George Michael by Adele. Although they both honored their respective artist , the two couldn’t have gotten any more different as far as performances go. Mars pulled out his shimmery purple six-string and, along with Prince-founded band The Time, rocked hit anthems “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Jungle Love,” and “The Bird.”

Adele, however, took a different route in honoring George Michael. She performed her own rendition of Michael’s “Fastlove,” and despite a restart, called by herself in front of thousands, delivered a performance that undoubtedly would have made Michael proud. Adele’s gutsy call to begin again shows her artistic rigor and respect for George. Her performance was a triumph, and so was her clean sweep of the biggest awards of the night.

Up against industry moguls such as Beyoncé, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Drake, Kelly Clarkson, and Ariana Grande, Adele won all five of her nominations. Record of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance were among her belt of wins, but none amounted to the turmoil that arose from her win of Album of the Year. If one moment were to be deemed most-talked-about at the 59th Grammys, it would be this. Prior to the show, social media was blazing with heat from the battle of the queens: Adele and Beyoncé. Who would be the big winner?

After Adele won Album of the Year, the biggest upset of the show, some eyebrows were raised, and none higher than those of the winner herself. In her acceptance speech, he praised Queen Bey, to the point of making herself, Beyoncé, and many in the audience tear up. Adele dedicated the award to her, saying “I can’t possibly accept this award,” and later, in the Grammys press room, “I felt like it was her time to win … what the fuck does she have to do to win Album of the Year?” Social media was and still is buzzing over the Academy’s choice, calling it “traditional” and “old news.”

Jam packed full of emotions, star-studded performances, and many political statements, the 2017 Grammys were one for the books. That is, if they have books for musical award shows? Who knows. What is for sure, however, is that this year’s Grammys has been powerful, and will continue to be talked about as the award show of the century, so far, that is. For a complete list of nominations and winner go to https://www.grammy.com/nominees.