By Aidin Vaziri | Justin Bieber didn’t show up seeking redemption, Miley Cyrus got shut out and Kanye West’s invite got lost in the mail. It almost seemed like the producers of the 56th annual Grammy Awards went out of their way to ensure the show would be uneventful.
In that regard, the broadcast was a resounding success. Hosted once again by LL Cool J, the event stretched well past its designated three-hour time slot. Some awards were presented between the extended jam sessions, odd collaborations and endless piano ballads – congratulations Lorde and Daft Punk! – but not many. We rank all the performances, from best to worst, from music’s biggest night of back-slapping.
Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers, Stevie Wonder
The all-star mashup, led by Williams, played a wedding-reception-worthy version of the huge summer hit “Get Lucky,” leading into Stevie Wonder’s “Another Star.” The band, which won the album of the year and record of the year prizes, was great, but the best part was watching the luminaries in the audience – people like Paul McCartney, Steven Tyler, Katy Perry, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars – joyously showing off their shaky dance moves.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
The independent Seattle rap duo, winners of the best new artist prize, received a lot of criticism leading up to the awards show, but the group’s production of the equality anthem, “Same Love,” was one of night’s rare hair-raisers, touting a full band production and Queen Latifah officiating over the marriage of 33 different couples – gay, straight and in-between. Then Madonna showed up in a white suit and cowboy hat looking a bit like Col. Sanders, singing a country lounge version of her ancient hit “Open Your Heart.” It was so good it made Keith Urban cry, and he’s less human than the Daft Punk ‘bots.