The 57th Annual Grammy Awards, hosted by LL Cool J, took place Sunday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The biggest night in music did not disappoint, giving viewers star-studded performances, bold fashion and the obligatory Kanye West controversy, before ultimately crowning Sam Smith the biggest music winner of 2014.
Sam Smith took home four Grammys on the night, including Song of the Year and the highly coveted Best New Artist award. The 22 year-old English singer/songwriter channeled his inner Adele in his acceptance speech, thanking his ex-boyfriend for “breaking his heart” and giving him the inspiration for his music. Beyoncé won Grammy number 20 for “Drunk in Love,” while Beck beat out Sam Smith and Beyoncé to claim the Album of the Year award.
Taylor Swift’s hit single “Shake it Off” did not win despite three nominations, while Hozier’s “Take me to Church” and Ed Sheeran’s album “X” also failed to garner any awards.
Fresh faces are always a welcome sight at such events, and this year’s Grammy Awards had a number of first-time attendees. HAIM, a sister trio rock band from Los Angeles, has been receiving major hype from stars like Kanye West and Taylor Swift. Their 2013 album, “Days Are Gone,” charted in the top ten in several countries. Meghan Tranior, who has become a huge force in the industry seemingly overnight, earned two nominations for her hit singles “Lips are Movin” and “All About That Bass.” Ariana Grande, A Great Big World and Iggy Azalea rounded out the list of notable first-time nominees.
As always, many stars left their mark on the night with bold fashion statements. Katy Perry, fresh off her well-received halftime show at Super Bowl XLIX, dazzled in a backless, semi-sheer frock by Zuhair Murad. The pop icon also sported her trademark purple wig, bringing the “chic-meter” to a ten. While Perry impressed, other icons found themselves on the wrong end of the fashion spectrum. 56 year-old Madonna earned herself a spot on the list of candidates for “worst dressed” award with a black and pink lace corset dress by Givenchy which critics feel showed too much skin and did not do her justice. But hey, it’s Madonna. If anyone can wear what they want and own it, it’s her, and therefore I approve. For me, the worst dressed of the night was Rihanna. A usually classy and current Rihanna sported a hot pink and poofy gown that was just wrong on a number of levels.
This year’s Grammy Awards ceremony was unique in its performance combinations of seasoned veterans with fresh first-timers. The performances symbolized an older generation giving way to new vocals and artistry, and also made for some epic Grammy moments. We saw Sam Smith performing his hit “Stay With Me” alongside 9-time Grammy award winner Mary J. Blige. Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney performed a passionate performance of “FourFiveSeconds.” Such performances are what distinguish the Grammys from any other award show. It represents the very best music has to offer.
Sunday night’s show was filled with a plethora of pertinent social messages. A number of performances referenced religion and race, and a special message was delivered by President Barack Obama about domestic violence in which he encouraged all artists to tweet “It’s On Us,” referencing our collective responsibility to mitigate domestic violence. Brooke Axtell, a domestic violence survivor, shared her stirring story as well. The Golden Globe Awards in January also took advantage of its major platform, incorporating signs and designs with “Je Suis Charlie” to raise awareness for the horrific attacks on the French newspaper and promote freedom of speech globally.
Another widely-discussed moment came when rapper Kanye West repeated his infamous 2009 VMAs stunt and unexpectedly took the stage as Beck was accepting the Album of the Year award.
Overall, it was a night of unique mash-ups, bold fashion and hilarious – or obnoxious – antics. I for one got my money’s worth.