What to know about, watch and avoid from the 2016 Grammys
This year’s Grammy Awards had it all: snubs, surprises, great performances and flops.
Feb. 16, 2016
Every year, award shows leave viewers a little more perplexed. From the surprise Beck Album of the Year win last February (which I refer to as The Notorious Beyonce Snub) to the confusing genre classifications (since when was Florence and The Machine’s “Ship To Wreck” pop?), the Grammys never cease to deliver a full platter of confusion, surprise and general WTF factor. Whether you’re looking to catch up so you can fake your way through conversations this week or are simply trying to figure out if you dreamed the entire ceremony, MOVE’s got your back with this recap from the show.
Snubs and surprises
Competitive music nerds everywhere were faced with the fact that their predictions were likely way off. Out of my predictions for the winners of the “top four” categories — Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year and Best New Artist — the only one I correctly guessed was Record (which was probably because I chose three possible winners, oops).
The Grammys snubbed an industry-impacting, genre-bending hip-hop album for the second year in the row when “1989” by Taylor Swift won Album of the Year over Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly.” This confusing surprise win makes the fact that “Blank Space” didn’t win Song or Record of the Year even more perplexing. “Uptown Funk” definitely left its mark as one of the best pop songs of 2015, but “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran did not feel like Song of the Year, especially against “Blank Space,” arguably the best song from Swift’s album. Lastly, Meghan Trainor, who doesn’t feel so new anymore, won best new artist over other lesser-known but talented nominees.
The hot gossip
While Adele looked amazing, the musical side of her performance was less than perfect. “All I Ask” is already difficult to perform, but technical difficulties and pitchy notes certainly didn’t help. At least Adele saw the silver lining, as shown in her tweets from later that night.
The piano mics fell on to the piano strings, that's what the guitar sound was. It made it sound out of tune. Shit happens. X— Adele (@Adele) February 16, 2016
Because of it though... I'm treating myself to an in n out. So maybe it was worth it.— Adele (@Adele) February 16, 2016
Another gossip-worthy moment was Swift’s acceptance speech, which was equal parts inspiring and salty. The pop star had every reason to be bitter: Kanye West’s recent single “Famous” includes the lyric, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex. Why? I made that bitch famous,” in reference to his infamous “Imma let you finish” rant from the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.
T-Swift’s response? "As the first woman to win album of the year at the Grammys twice, I want to say to all the young women out there: There are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame," Swift said. "But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going, you’ll look around and you’ll know it was you and the people who love you who put you there and that will be the greatest feeling in the world." This speech was one of the better parts of the ceremony, and it will certainly be a conversation starter this week.
Performances to catch up on
One of the best performances of the night was Lamar’s, which showcased both social commentary and his top-notch rap skill. Another great hip-hop performance was a bit different: The cast of “Hamilton” performed their opening number via live stream. “Hamilton” creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda rapped his acceptance speech for Best Musical Theatre Album, another “performance” worth watching. Other performances worth catching up on include Lady Gaga’s David Bowie tribute, which received mixed responses, Taylor Swift’s opening if you know a Swift fan (they will surely be talking about it) and Alabama Shakes’ simply fun and musical time on the stage.
What you don’t want to catch up on
Is it the Grammys if you don’t ask yourself why you’re watching it several times throughout the night? Whether it was worth it to watch was already questionable from the beginning, thanks to it being scheduled on a Monday. Hollywood Vampires’ performance reminded us that if you wear a blood-covered pirate shirt while playing rock music, you definitely look like you’re trying too hard.
Of course, what’s a confusing Grammy Awards ceremony without an equally perplexing ending? Pitbull, a relatively irrelevant artist compared to other performers of the night, appeared with women dressed in what can only be described as sexy cab Halloween costumes to sing “El Taxi.” And because that just wasn’t enough, the notoriously misogynist Robin Thicke joined him on the stage (and the world turned off their televisions).
All in all, while the 2016 Grammys had its high points, it was one of the most perplexing award shows in recent history. Hopefully, next year a 2012-esque Adele sweep as “25” hits Grammy qualification will save us all from confusion.