From the Cee Lo Green’s alleged alter-ego Gnarly Davidson dressed in shocking resemblance to Ferrero Rocher gold wrappers to Adele’s tear-jerking monologue confession of love addressed to Beyonce for her acceptance of Best Record of the Year, the 59th annual Grammys was an emotional ride of monumental victories, performances, tributes, quirky humor, and tenderness, all bound by the united force of artists seeking to utilize the power of music to express the emotion behind recent turmoil in American politics.
As soon as Adele finished sending chills down our spine with an always-breathtaking opening performance of Hello, this year’s host, James Corden, jumped on stage and broke out in an impressive rap number, chanting to the celebrities in the audience, Wishes came true, we celebrate you. / You gotta be thankful that this what you do. / Live it all up, because this is the best, / and with President Trump, we don’t know what comes next!
The instantaneous outburst of positive cheer from the audience full of artists made it clear: this Grammys was more than just the conventional awards show. The musicians were using their platform to assert their political voices.
“At this particular point in history our voices are needed more than ever,” Jennifer Lopez told the crowd while presenting Best New Artist, quoting author Toni Morrison’s plea “this is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self pity, no need for silence and no room for fear. We do language, that is how civilizations heal.”
This Grammys was more than just the conventional awards show. The musicians were using their platform to assert their political voices.
Maybe some performances fell flatter than expected, and maybe Adele stopped a quarter through her George Michael tribute to start over (just making her all the more lovable), but the warm, fuzzy sensation of togetherness amidst the crowd, announcers, and performers gave this sense like they were all on the same team. It was the equivalent to watching a slumber party full of teenage girls bonding over their mutual hatred of a certain abominable person—except the slumber party attenders were all famous and successful and this bonding event happen to be over the President of the United States airing on live television for millions of people to tune in to. This united sentiment gave the show a refreshing joy that often lacks among the tension of celebrities in waiting for a their gold-plated gramophone awards; real evidence that perhaps, among the chaos, some sort of healing was actually happening.
The highlights of the night were some of the sweetest moments. Adele can deservingly deem herself the Mother of the Grammys now after slaying two performances and taking home an armful of Grammys. She won in the all the biggest categories: Best pop vocal performance went to Hello, Best pop vocal album went to ‘25’, Song of the Year went to Hello, and taking it over Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’, was her album ‘25’ for Album of the Year. The best part was her speech completely disregarding herself to thank Beyonce for bestowing on all of us the power that is ‘Lemonade.’ One couldn’t help but tear up a little watching the humble moment between the two successful women as the admiration was exchanged.
Another big winner was Chicago’s Chance the Rapper, who took home three Grammys for Best New Artist, Best Rap album, and Best Rap Performance, over even Drake and Kanye. He was not only the first African American hip-hop artist to win the award in nearly two decades, but also the first-ever person to receive a Grammy for a streaming-only record. In his speech he gives the “victory to God”, and thanked his hometown Chicago for their dedication to independent artists.
There was also that moment where Twenty One Pilots gave their speech for Best Pop Duo in their underwear. Joseph reasoned that when him, Dunn and a few friends were watching the Grammys together before they were famous, they realized they were all in their underwear, and made the deal that if they were to ever win a Grammy they would do it exactly that way. If the Grammy’s 2017 don’t go down in the history books for the monumental victories, political activism, or Beyonce’s mother-empowering performance with her pregnant belly of twins, then it will for Twenty One Pilots pantless acceptance.