It was a nights of 24K Magic for Bruno Mars at the 60th Grammy awards last night. The awards show returned to New York for the first time since 2003 and drew an audience of over 20,000.
During a night full of provocative performances and political displays, Bruno won six trophies, including three of the Grammys’ top honors: album of the year (24K Magic), record of the year (24K Magic) and song of the year (That’s What I Like).
The first folks Mars thanked when accepting album of the year? His fellow nominees. “You guys are the reason why I’m in the studio pulling my hair out, man, because I know you guys are only going to come with the top-shelf artistry,” Mars said of Childish Gambino, Lorde, Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar. “Thank you guys for blessing the world with your music.”
The show kicked off with a bang thanks to a powerful number by Lamar. The 30-year-old performed “XXX” and “DNA” from his album “Damn.,” shining a bright light on racial tensions and police brutality. With cameos from Dave Chappelle and U2’s Bono and the Edge — plus powerful choreography that saw hoodie-clad dancers drop to the ground as gunshots sounded and Lamar performed his verse from labelmate Jay Rock’s “King’s Dead” — he showed how to make politics poignant and entertaining rather than obnoxious.
Lamar picked up five of the seven awards for which he was nominated, his song “Humble” winning for music video as well as rap song and performance, while “Loyalty,” his track featuring Rihanna, won the rap/sung performance category and “Damn” collected the rap album award. Jay-Z did not win any awards after receiving the most nominations, with eight.
Kesha delivered a powerful performance of her Grammy-nominated comeback single, “Praying” – but not without a posse. Looking fierce in all white, Kesha’s Grammys squad featured Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, Julia Michaels, Andra Day and Bebe Rexha, as well as the Resistance Revival Chorus of Women’s March fame.
U2 offered a performance of “Get Out of Your Own Way” on a barge near the Statue of Liberty with a pro-immigration message. A montage of people from diverse backgrounds flashed behind them.
Singer Camila Cabello offered a tribute to Dreamers — undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, their status currently protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Ed Sheeran was one of the biggest perceived snubs in top categories, missing out in album, record and song of the year. He did win for best pop solo performance (Shape of You) and pop vocal album (Divide). He did not attend the event.
Despite several minutes of pro-Immigrant, pro-DREAMer posturing during the televised ceremony, the Grammy Awards snubbed the best-selling Spanish-language song of all time. Not once, not twice, but three times, 2017’s ubiquitous hit “Despacito”, (by Puerto Ricans Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee) was overlooked for trophies by members of the Recording Academy.
Unfortunately—despite the fact that she was the most-nominated woman of the year—SZA did not win any of the awards she was up for, losing out to Alessia Cara as new artist, The Weeknd for urban contemporary album, Bruno Mars for both R&B categories and Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna’s “Loyalty.” for rap/sung performance.