‘65th Annual Grammys’ Review: Beyoncé Is Done Both Right and Wrong, in a Show Sent Into Overdrive by Epic Hip-Hop Medley Most Popular Must Read Sign Up for Variety Newsletters More From Our Brands

How many classic hip-hop stars can dance to Pin’s head? We got something close to an answer to that question on the Grammy Awards telecast with a medley that featured nearly three dozen rap legends going through their paces over the course of 15 minutes that never flagged for a second. A class like this could fill in for a number of contemporary superstars missing in action, a major concern going into ’65.Th The annual telecast that no longer seemed like a deal killer after witnessing the ultimate hip-hop hooray.

Somewhere around this epic 50 timeTh In a hip-hop birthday party with Queen Latifah and Busta Rhymes giving way to Big Boi and Method Man, it felt like it wouldn’t matter if any of today’s Big Divas showed up later. With all due respect to Adele — rumors that she was taking a secret, last-minute slot were, as it turned out, false — sometimes it’s okay if what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Sunday night’s show in no way aspired to reinvent the Grammys wheel. It didn’t even represent that much of the tires spinning. What’s different about the Ken Ehrlich era at Fulwell 73 Productions is the end of most of the intergenerational “Grammy Moment” mashups. Consolidation of separate In Memoriam sections into one extended section. And the emphasis is on hitmakers performing their biggest song of the year, not an obscure track or cover. Also, you couldn’t say 65.Th The show didn’t go over well with many of the Grammys’ staples. Cooler heads have prevailed when it comes to any disturbing nods to forced virality that have been considered.

The choice to stay in the B section of the alphabet for the opening numbers made for a smart one-two punch, with an early performance of Bad Bunny being quickly followed by Brandi Carlyle. It’s almost like hitting all four quadrants in two fell swoops. Putting Bad Bunny up front was a way for the Grammys to acknowledge its moment in history, as it wasn’t going to win any of the genre’s categories (though the producers wisely chose the award for Best Musica Urbana Album). hit. pre-telecast on primetime, for the first time, and probably the last until he is nominated again). His band of invading dancers first has trouble getting the VIPs at the front tables to dance with them—except for Taylor Swift, who’s always cheered on the band at the high school dance. Becomes a live-in girl. The rest is very safe. (They Is Really cheer captain after all.)

Carlyle’s big TV moments so far have been sung with epic high notes — “The Joke” at the 2019 Grammys, “Right on Time” on last year’s show, the revival of “The Story” on “SNL” in December. So she was because of the rocker she chose for this year’s Grammys, “Broken Horses,” which won two rock trophies in the pre-telecast. And indeed, it has major notes too, except that they come at the beginning of various lines in the verses, not as the climax of the chorus. The a cappella moments allowed America to better develop the rasp and vibrato in her voice without all those guitars. Yet in a way, the triumph of the song was about the guitar. Because when was the last time the Grammys had a slightly chopped-up rock song on the show? Nowadays, Carlyle has to step out of Americana for a minute to get it. That on air.

The In Memoriam Triad was particularly well-executed, with Kacey Musgraves playing her own guitar on Loretta Lynn’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” followed by a more overtly appreciative turn, with Quavo taking off. saluted (and, frankly, the parade of the dead on the big screens) with a fresh song that has already touched millions, “Without You.” The segment’s closing song, Christine McVie’s “Songbird,” was the most adventurous, sung sweetly by Sheryl Crow and Bonnie Rhett but with an added percussion thump from Mick Fleetwood that added natural loveliness. Completed with something that felt a little off-putting, or at least calming. It felt interesting and authentic enough that you might not immediately take to Twitter to complain about who was left out of the video montage.

Some performances felt downright ordinary, a casualty of the era’s sensibility that an artist’s greatest songs should be performed, even if they’d killed them elsewhere, all hellfire and brimstone and storm and drag. For that was thrown at Sam Smith. And in Kim Petras’ performance of “Unclean,” the set piece never quite grew out of its devilish hokeyness — a stark contrast to the shocking costumes and production design that accompanied her performance on “SNL” just a few weeks earlier. . Madonna’s introduction certainly promised a performance that under-delivered on actual shock value… although it was nice to see the spiral persona of “The Ring” still working and some as a companion extra. Clone has come.

Similarly, when Harry Styles showed up to perform “As It Was” for the 15th time, you saw extras bouncing on and off the rotating platform in a fashion meant to inspire the song’s music video — But it never had a fresh spin. on rotation.

But if the title of Lizzo’s “Special” makes a big promise, he’s unable to deliver on it with any performance, including this one — all self-confidence and massive positivity at this point. Should be exhausting, yet it remains awkward. Inspiring, in a show-biz-meets-real-spirit kind of way.

Agreement with host Trevor Noah, here, that Lizzo may deserve best speech honors – although there were so many touches of genuine joy, not least from the aptly named Samara Joy, that it would be a contest. Lizzo and Samara may have to settle for runner-up with Bonnie Raitt, whose personal best-of-time honors were in the rearview mirror for three decades before voters made her repeat Grammy queen with two awards. Decide (on one of these pre-telecasts). Who would have guessed that song of the year would go to a tune about organ transplants that few people under the age of 65 had heard last year? It was either (transplanted) heartbreaking, or proof of the Grammys’ irrelevance in current culture. Can it be both, some may ask?

As far as not performing… well, this Is One problem is that any list of who could have given a truly stellar performance at the Grammys — which was actually nominated this year — would include Beyoncé, Swift, Adele, Kendrick Lamar and Duja Kate, all for whatever reason. He is sitting outside. (We can speculate: Beyoncé and Swift probably don’t want to steal their thunder before unveiling summer tours that require absolutely no extra sales effort.) Zach Bryan A decent addition to the audience. The piece might have panned out, but dropping one of the biggest albums of the year on a minor genre nod probably didn’t sit well with a guy who’s proven to have a problem with those things. Kendrick? Who knows if he was one of the many artists who showed up for their win but didn’t go the extra mile.

The absence of any Best New Artist nominees also feels like a huge oversight. Since the nominees in the category were expanded from five to 10, the easiest solution for producers has probably been an ignore-all policy, unless an instant magician like Olivia Rodrigo is involved. It makes sense to keep the show to a three-and-a-half-hour timeslot – or three hours and 50 minutes, but by the time it wraps up. But it still feels like a missed opportunity to give America a moment of discovery that would be much more talked about than the Sammy Vaughn remake of the “As It Was” music video. Trust us, if only Samara Joy had been given three or four minutes to make an impression on the audience will do are affected.

But at this year’s Grammys, Jay-Z had a five-minute verse (!) on DJ Khaled’s closed song, awkwardly pre-taped (probably) and a huge street party outside the Crypto.com Arena. Placed on the table. It will, obviously, take repeated viewing and listening to even begin to analyze. Was it amazing or meh? Can we even tell on the first take? But it was so Jay Z, To portray the Grammys as if it really is the biggest night in music, and as if to say, Come back, Drake, etc. – Water is fine. (Kanye, you can still stay home and flush Grammys down your toilet.)

As for the winners, the love was so widespread that it seemed… well, not so much that almost everyone involved got a participation trophy, but like the major categories were chosen by lottery, or in Balls with numbers in one of them may have been picked. Spinning Bowl Devices. If you agree with Styles’ acceptance speech, that there’s no such thing as “best” in music, there’s an advantage to not sweeping this year’s awards. This can be seen as a reflection of the true prevalence of excellence in music, rather than the idea that every prom should have a king and queen.

However, Beyoncé saved the day, at least for the world’s headliners, with her record-breaking win. Otherwise, instead of sweeping out that hip-hop medley or a single memorable performance, the headlines would have had to focus on a different angle: why they even now Between those 32 wins never won album or record of the year. Contemplating this enduring puzzler, versus Salt N’ Pipa, the joy of seeing Public Enemies and friends in the flesh, together, in one set’s all-timers—perhaps the glass is still more than half full. Sins of omission and all.

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