It was all about the love… and the robot-helmeted Frenchmen who made off with the night's biggest award.
From Beyoncé and Jay Z opening the 2014 Grammys with a sizzling duet that proved why they're the most powerful — and sexiest — couple in the music biz, to Macklemore's mass wedding/performance of his hit "Same Love," Valentine's Day came early with sultry and sweet Grammy performances.
And the three-hour-plus telecast packed with superstar performances and superstar pairings ended with a surprise Album of the Year winner: "Random Access Memories" by French electronic music duo Daft Punk, the robot-attired act who charged collaborator Pharrell Williams with making their acceptance speeches for their five Grammy wins.
Here, our breakdown of the highs and relatively few lows of the 56th Annual Grammy Awards:
BEST: Macklemore, Mary Lambert, and Ryan Lewis's performance of Grammy nominee "Same Love"— which included 33 diverse couples getting married during the telecast — was powerful, sweet, and infinitely more heartfelt than the night's other reality TV wedding on "The Bachelor." Queen Latifah was the officiant, and though Madonna's appearance at the end seemed a bit unnecessary, her presence adds to the killer wedding story those couples are going to be able to tell for the rest of their lives (check out the performance in the video above). One of the couples, by the way, is Macklemore's sister, Laura, and her now-husband, Alex, according to The New York Times.
[Photos: Red Carpet Arrivals at the 2014 Grammys]
BEST: Had you any doubt that Beyoncé and Jay Z are not only the king and queen of the music industry, but rule over all of pop culture, their sexy duet "Drunk in Love," which opened the show, should have put an end to it. Few — if any other? — celeb couples could so seamlessly begin a performance with her gyrating on a chair sans pants and end it with an embrace that showcases not only their power couple status, but their sweetness as a couple.
WORST: LL Cool J. Tired patter, tired Kangol and purple velvet suit (is Prince even rocking purple velvet anymore?), and the incessant lip-licking… get the man some Chapstick if you're gonna continue to have him hosting these three-hour things, CBS. Really makes you wistful for Tina and Amy and those jokes about Leo DiCaprio and supermodel vaginas, don't it?
[Related: Full list of Grammy winners]
BEST: The imaginative pairings of performers. Steve Wonder with Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams… Sara Bareilles with Carole King… Kendrick Lamar with Imagine Dragons… they all worked.
BEST: Taylor Swift, inexplicably breaking out into a headbang during her performance of the ballad "All Too Well"? We'll be watching that on a loop for weeks.
BEST: Speaking of T-Swift, you can always count on her to bust a move when she's in the audience of a musical awards show — she was getting particularly funky with her bad self during the Bey-Jay Z and Kendrick Lamar-Imagine Dragon numbers — but it was the Daft Punk performance that had everyone from Steven Tyler to Yoko Ono out of their seats and rocking to the beat of "Get Lucky."
BEST: Daft Punk's robotic headgear, the best fashion of the night.
WORST: Pharrell Williams's crazy Canadian park ranger-ish hat, a topper so tall it could hide Marge Simpson's 'do and still have room left over. We kept hoping the Daft Punk dudes' helmets would open to reveal a death ray that would destroy Pharrell's hat, but it did not happen.
BEST: Jay Z, accepting his Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Holy Grail" with Justin Timberlake put his win in proper perspective. "I wanna tell [daughter] Blue [Ivy], 'Look, Daddy got a gold sippy cup for you!'"
BEST: Lorde sounded great in her Grammy debut, performing her Best Pop Solo Performance winner, "Royals." Sure, her dark get-up, witchy finger movements, and awkward acceptance speech were odd, but add in the fact that she's just 17, and it made her adorkably endearing.
WORST: Sound was not a friend to another young performer, 22-year-old country crooner Hunter Hayes, who has a great voice… that was not on display for his performance of his new song "Invisible." Hayes sounded better last year when he sang his hit "Somebody's Heartbreak"… on "Celebrity Apprentice." And those inspirational quotes that unspooled on a screen behind him? That's what Pinterest is for, dude.
BEST: Katy Perry and Juicy J's duet on her newest tune, "Dark Horse." It's not her greatest song, but her "Bewtiched"-themed performance of it was fun. Bonus points to her for using what looked like a giant version of Harry Potter's Nimbus 2000 as a stripper pole.
WORST: Pink and her harnessed flying. That was soooo 2010, literally. When you've given a performance that classic, don't revisit it. Well, maybe when Pink is 65, and she can still fly around the Grammy ceremony in a harness, we'll want to see that again. Otherwise… too soon.
BEST: Best Rock Song Grammy winner "Cut Me Some Slack" for bestowing a trophy upon a tune performed by a mix of Beatles and Nirvana. Come to think of it, was there any chance that was ever not going to win?
WORST: A medley of Chicago's hits, as performed by the band and Robin Thicke, which led — not-at-all-seamlessly — into Thicke's "Blurred Lines." Random on both sides, and it led to a widespread Twitter fear that the easy-listening vets were either going to twerk or be twerked upon.
BEST: Ozzy Osbourne and his Black Sabbath bandmates, thoroughly enjoying themselves in a Spinal Tap-y kinda way, as they introduced a performance by fellow Brit Ringo Starr. We can never understand what the frick Ozzy, or the Sabbaths, for that matter, are saying, but the fact that they amuse themselves so much tickles us, too.
WORST: Aerosmith's Steven Tyler battled a minor wardrobe malfunction while he was on stage with Smokey Robinson. Tyler realized his fly was down and tried to inconspicuously fix his zipper. But it didn't go unnoticed on Twitter. "Did you catch the ear tug from @IamStevenT thanking someone in the earpiece for telling him his fly was down?" asked one Grammy viewer.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Pharrell Williams
- Daft Punk