The Grammy Awards clocked in at just over three and a half hours on Sunday, after a night of some wildly entertaining performances, a couple tearful tributes, a few surprises and quite a few snubs. Here are 12 things to know from the telecast:
1. Bruno Mars won basically everything.
In a surprise sweep, the R&B star won every single category in which he was nominated, including the biggest categories of the night — album of the year (“24K Magic”), record of the year (“24K Magic”) and song of the year (“That’s What I Like”) — as well as best R&B song, performance and album.
While he didn’t quite pull an Adele and insist the album of the year should have gone to someone else, Mars gave a shout-out to the other nominees in the category: Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Lorde and Childish Gambino. “You guys are the reason why I’m in the studio pulling my hair out, man, ’cause I know you guys are gonna only come with the top-shelf artistry and music,” he said. “Thank you guys for blessing the world with your music. I mean that.”
2. Jay-Z was completely shut out.
The rapper’s much-analyzed, very personal album “4:44” propelled him to eight nominations, the most of any artist — yet he didn’t win a single award. Jay-Z has had a complicated relationship with the show for a long time (he boycotted for years until Beyoncé was nominated) and also declined to perform on Sunday’s telecast.
At the pre-Grammy gala Saturday, Jay-Z was honored with the Industry Icon award, and talked about his evolving feelings on the ceremony. “I realized that art is super-subjective. The academy, they are human like we are and they are voting on things they like. And we can pretend we don’t care, but we do,” he said.
However, the night wasn’t a total bust — we did get some fun GIFs of Blue Ivy:
3. Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” won despite his snub in major categories.
The British pop star was considered a lock to rack up the nominations this year, but he failed to land in a single big category, only earning two nods — one for pop vocal album for “÷ (Divide),” and one for pop solo performance for “Shape of You.” The latter category was one of the few prizes announced on the live telecast, and Sheeran was up against tough competition: Kesha (“Praying”); Lady Gaga (“Million Reasons”); Kelly Clarkson (“Love So Soft”); and Pink (“What About Us”).
Sheeran was the only one who didn’t show up (hmmm, is someone upset about his snub?) and when he won, some viewers weren’t having it.
4. Kendrick Lamar’s opening performance.
Lamar lost out on album of the year and record of the year, but wound up with five wins overall, including best rap album for “DAMN.” He opened the show with a powerful performance of “XXX.” and “DNA.,” with plenty of American flags and pyrotechnics and dancers dressed in Army fatigues. Dave Chappelle served onstage as commentator: “Is this on cable? CBS? Because it looks like he’s singing and dancing, but this brother is taking enormous chances.” (U2 also made an appearance, but no one really cared.)
5. Hillary Clinton made a cameo.
The show was mostly politics free, though there were a few pointed political moments — Camila Cabello and Logic spoke in support of immigration, and presenter Trevor Noah spoke wistfully of a time “when Trump wasn’t president.” Then host James Corden aired a prerecorded skit in which celebrities (John Legend, Cher, Cardi B, DJ Khaled, Snoop Dogg) read excerpts of Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury,” and included Hillary Clinton.
6. Kesha’s performance of “Praying.”
Kesha made her return to the music industry last year with the deeply emotional “Praying,” written after her legal battle with her producer, Dr. Luke, over sexual abuse allegations. She performed the ballad surrounded by Cabello, Cyndi Lauper, Andra Day, Bebe Rexha and Julia Michaels. Before the song, Janelle Monae offered a powerful introduction.
“Tonight, I am proud to stand in solidarity as not just an artist, but a young woman with my fellow sisters in this room who make up the music industry,” Monae said. “We come in peace, but we mean business. And to those who would dare try and silence us, we offer you two words: Time’s up.”
7. Consolation puppies.
Corden wisely stayed away from too many jokes, except for a pretaped skit with Sting and Shaggy that proved carpool karaoke doesn’t work on the subway. But his one bit that was a definite hit? Consolation puppies for stars who didn’t win any Grammys. Jerry Seinfeld, who lost best comedy album to Chappelle, looked genuinely ecstatic.
8. SZA was also snubbed.
The breakout R&B star was up for five nominations (best artist, R&B performance, R&B song, rap/sung performance and urban contemporary album) and was shut out. Although she got time on stage to sing “Broken Clocks,” many were not pleased with the complete snub.
9. The tribute to Las Vegas and Manchester victims.
Country artists Eric Church, Maren Morris and Brothers Osborne joined to sing Eric Clapton’s tear-jerker “Tears in Heaven” as a tribute to the people killed at concerts in the last year, from the Las Vegas mass shooting to the bombing in Manchester.
“The painful truth is that this year, in just those two events, 81 music lovers just like us went out to enjoy a night of music and never came back home, with many more injured and still healing,” Morris said.
10. Childish Gambino sang with his castmate from “The Lion King.”
Album of the year nominee Childish Gambino, a.k.a. Donald Glover, a.k.a. Simba in the upcoming live-action version of “The Lion King,” sang “Terrified” in an excellent white suit. He was joined by young castmate JD McCrary, who plays young Simba.
11. “Despacito” is still wildly entertaining.
Even if you think 2017’s song of the summer is played out, Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee had a blast as they performed their incredibly addictive smash. It was a pure shot of live energy, even though the song didn’t take home awards for any of its three nominations.
12. Lady Gaga dressed her piano up like a bird.
We just thought you should know.