The 2019 Grammy Performances You Should Watch
There are always memorable moments at the GRAMMYs and most of the time, its usually the performers. The 61st annual GRAMMY awards ceremony is tonight at 8 p.m. EST, live from the Staples Center in LA and there are a number of stars taking the stage.
Kacey Musgraves, Cardi B, Janelle Monaé, Diana Ross, Travis Scott, Lady Gaga, St. Vincent with Dua Lipa, Post Malone with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and more will take the stage and its sure to be a night you wont forget. Watch the performances from this years show and view the full list of winners on the official GRAMMY website.
1. Dolly Parton tribute
About an hour into the show, the Grammys got a big dose of country music with a nearly 10-minute tribute to Dolly Parton who, it should be noted, is such a hard worker that she headlined her own career retrospective medley. Musgraves and Katy Perry kicked things off in bedazzled red jumpsuits for Here You Come Again, while Parton strolled out stage, glowing in white. Thank you, Katy, thank you, Kacey, appreciate that, Parton said, ever polite, as her goddaughter Miley Cyrus arrived in sparkly gold for Jolene, which she has been covering for years.
Then there was the requisite throwback to After the Gold Rush with Cyrus and Maren Morris (Parton won a Grammy in 2000 for her version of the Neil Young song with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris) and Red Shoes, from the new Netflix movie, Dumplin'. But what really got the crowd on its feet was the jaunty rendition of 9 to 5 with Little Big Town, whose soaring harmonies really kicked in with one of the catchiest Parton hits of all time.
2. Brandi Carlile
While many of the nights performances doubled as showcases for eye-popping sets and complex choreography, Brandi Carlile took a more no-frills approach to performing her anthem The Joke. She recently said its an important song at this time and in this country, and I think that that songs success says more about our nations willingness to receive it than it does actually what Im saying and what Im doing.
Its clear she wanted to clue the audience in on her lyrics. In a clever bit of set design, words to the chorus appeared behind her in perfect script as she sang them, offering a powerful message. Let them laugh while they can / Let them spin, let them scatter in the wind / I have been to the movies / Ive seen how it ends / And the jokes on them. What really stood out, though, is Carliles soaring vocals. Even Post Malone was enraptured, nodding his head along with the tune.
3. Camila Cabello
Want to get everyone excited at the start of what will be a very long awards ceremony? Have Camila Cabello perform Havana, backed by trumpet legend Arturo Sandoval with Ricky Martin showing up midway. Yes, the Ricky Martin (whom some of us love more than our own families).
Bright-colored dresses, a West Side Story-esque set and lots and lots of choreographed salsa moves whats not to love? The one thing we would change: more stage time for Martin and J Balvin, who ended the performance with the irresistible Mi Gente.
Do you not know H.E.R.? You will now. Already having won earlier in the night for best R&B performance for Best Part, the 21-year-old singer showed an easy command of the Grammy main stage with Hard Place, giving us just a good ol fashioned, wow-she-can-sing moment. The spotlight shined only on her during the first part of her performance before the lights slowly came up, showing jeans-wearing violinists and backup singers (which, thank you, its nice to see performers dressed comfortably for work for a change).
Her smooth vocals at times were reminiscent of Alicia Keys, who lovingly introduced her, and then H.E.R. let a solo effortlessly rip on a transparent guitar. As she closed, singing Im caught between your love, she took a big pause, and we heard sing it, girl from the audience one of the few unscripted, honest responses we heard during the performances before she expertly finished, and a hard place.
5. Travis Scott
Travis Scott showed up just when the long ceremony desperately needed a shot of adrenaline and thats exactly what he offered. The performance started quietly, with Scott and James Blake crooning Stop Trying to be God. Then things got interesting. To perform No Bystanders, Scott somehow appeared in the middle of a cage as people rushed the stage and began scaling it. Was this a political statement about the border and walls? (Were probably projecting here.) The flock of fans onstage was going bananas, dancing as hard as one possibly could and putting to shame the actual audience in the pit. Scott continued rapping, scaling the fence himself, diving into the crowd and finishing out his song waking up a crowd that may have been dozing off.
6. Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys should just cover everyone elses songs for the rest of the night. Did we expect a performance from her at a made-up piano bar called Club Keys? (Get it? Keys? Her name? Musical keys? Moving on). No, we did not see this coming. But were glad it came.
Keys started off by playing two pianos at once the gimmick immediately got us and then covered a bunch of songs. You know those songs that just live inside of you? she said, that you wish you wrote? (Um, yes, imagine the royalties!) She performed snippets of: Roberta Flacks Killing Me Softly; Juice WRLDs Lucid Dreams (Forget Me); Nat King Coles Unforgettable; Coldplays Clocks; King of Leons Use Somebody; Ella Mais Bood Up (which was a shock to Mai, who sat flabbergasted in the audience); and Lauryn Hills Doo-Wop (That Thing), before closing out with her own megahit, New York. It was thoroughly enjoyable and talk about range. Now, back to hosting.
The first indication that Lady Gaga, not Ally from A Star Is Born, showed up to sing Shallow? That incredibly glittery jumpsuit. Without her singing partner Bradley Cooper (he was at the BAFTAs), Gaga was solo for the Oscar-nominated movies signature ballad. She writhed around with a microphone, making some truly wild gestures as she roamed the stage next to co-writer Mark Ronson.
One downside: The person operating the camera inexplicably decided to zoom in on one of the band members instead of Gaga when she belted out the chorus for the first time. Luckily, the AHHHHHaaaaaahhhhHhhHHHHHAAAAAAAAAooooooHHHHHAAAAA moment later in the song was as glorious as ever.
8. Aretha Franklin tribute
The Grammys booked the right trio to honor Aretha Franklin, who died in August at 76. Gospel singer Yolanda Adams and Fantasia, who both performed at Franklins funeral, as well as Andra Day, did the Queen of Soul justice with their take on (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman. The song came seamlessly after the regular In Memoriam montage, with the three singers standing in the middle of the audience on a small stage. They definitely brought the goods, belting out the lyrics and taking us all to church. But it was too short; has everyone tired of Franklin tributes already? If only the Grammy telecast had blocked off more time for a Franklin send-off surely Diana Ross could have spared a couple of her minutes.
9. Janelle Monáe
Here comes Janelle Monáe to wake us back up. Known as a performer with very deliberate aesthetic choices, she sang Make Me Feel while backed by a bunch of dancers dressed like sexy Stormtroopers and others wearing her famous vagina pants. If anyone watching at home zoned out, her line from Django Jane to let the vagina have a monologue! probably got their attention. And, of course, there was her own trademark, infectiously joyful dancing while channeling some Rhythm Nation vibes. Heck, she even moonwalked.
10. St. Vincent and Dua Lipa
The indie rocker (holding an angular black guitar) and pop singer (donning a high-fashion black and white dress covered in small gold jewelry) teamed up for the steamiest performance of the night, performing Masseduction and One Kiss while white strobes cut through fog. The two women swirled around each other as they performed reminding the audience at a fairly sexless award show of musics sensual side.
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