Going into the 58th Grammy Awards, there really wasn’t much to look forward to. Host LL Cool J had been bragging for days about a Kendrick Lamar performance that would piss off mainstream America. Also, there was the usual buzzing from the Beyhive that their beloved Beyonce would rush the stage, announce a new album and be named new Supreme Court Justice or something.
You can never tell with that crew.
Although my expectation barometer is always at its lowest setting, I must say, the 2016 Grammys actually weren’t that bad.
Seriously. Let’s recap.
1. Soccer Mom Taylor Swift opened with a lukewarm performance of “Out of the Woods.” Was it me or did this sound like a remix to Lion King’s Circle of Life? The squirrels outside my window were bowing.
2. LL Cool J opened the show wearing that same hat he’s been wearing since he dropped “Accidental Racist,” the official theme song of #AllLivesMatter. He did lead the way for Kendrick Lamar to win Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly, so props for that.
And what would an LL-hosted awards show be without this?
Official LL Lip Lick Counter: 10
3. Look, I love The Weeknd more than most, but can we please end this “he’s the next Michael Jackson” nonsense? His sleepy performance of “I Can’t Feel My Face” and “In the Night” sounded like he was singing inside a giant Sprite can.
Official LL Lip Lick Counter: 11
4. The tribute to R&B great Lionel Richie was pretty good — I’m sure Tyrese is off writing a grammar-mangling IG post about how his contribution is saving R&B RIGHT NOW. But were you surprised that Demi Lovato stole the show? Don’t be – she might dress like she goes to church withe the Kardashians, but she can blow.
5. And WHY didn’t we get a mashup of Lionel Richie and Adele performing their respective “Hellos?” That remix was staring us right in the face! 6. The real MVP of the Grammys? Lionel’s jacket.
I’d wear that to Walgreens while I buy my Ramen noodles and gummy bears.
7. Little Big Town performed a surprisingly dull version of their hit “Girl Crush.” Why did it sound like music that plays when you go to the town to buy potions in Final Fantasy?
8. Upset of the night? It had to be my dude Ed Sheeran winning Song of the Year for “Thinking Out Loud.” Not that the song isn’t awesome, I just didn’t expect Taylor Swift to lose. Ever. The Grammys love her like BET used to love B2K.
9. Come on now playa, who is Stevie Wonder’s stylist? Camo suit and a sequin shirt — he was dressed like your pastor AND the first lady. Y’all gotta be trolling this man.
I guess Elmo going to perform for Rihanna 😂😂😂😂💀💀😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂pic.twitter.com/rCVg45unP7
— 6PM in DC⛽️ (@NoTellinBoi) February 16, 2016
11. Hmmmm. No Beyonce performance. No Rihanna. No Jay Z. No Kanye. TIDAL really is gonna make y’all stream EVERYTHING now, huh? 12. The cast of Hamilton blessed us with a phenomenal rendition of their stage show. Too bad the Broadway show is sold out until Jesus comes back. Who do I have to bribe to get tickets? Official LL Lip Lick Counter: 13 13. We were promised a soul-stirring performance from Kendrick Lamar, and K. Dot delivered. Kendrick emerged in chains in a fiery tribute to mother Africa while simultaniously pushing for American progress. It’s not hyperbole to say it was one of the most important performances in modern Grammy history.
I just wonder which presidential candidate will be the first to whine about it? Doesn’t matter. We ready. 14. You’ve gotta feel bad for poor Adele, who briefly lost her audio during her performance of “All I Ask.” She struggled to recover, sounding extremely flat at times. Why do we suddenly have mic issues when Adele hits the stage, yet the sound was crystal clear for The Weeknd to mumble his struggle vocals?
15. And speaking of the struggle, Justin Bieber spent all night looking for his keys and notes during his performance with Diplo and Skrillex. He failed. I know the trio was only there to prove the Grammys are hip to all the dope things that are hot in the streets bruh, but we skipped a Natalie Cole tribute for this?
Playa please. Dismiss yourself.
16. Lady Gaga may scare me at times but the woman has talent, practically transforming into David Bowie for his tribute. Then later, Chris Stapleton, Bonnie Raitt and Gary Clark, Jr. captured the essence of B.B. King to perform “The Thrill Is Gone.” Why are the tributes always the best part of these shows?
17. Do you know the Alabama Shakes? If not, hop on the bandwagon. A band fronted by a black woman just won Rock Album of the Year – greatest Black History Month ever. Brittany Howard was ROCKING that Lando Calrissian cape too!
— EntertainmentTonight (@etnow) February 16, 2016
18. So right before the announcement of Album of the Year, I tweeted this:
Your winner — Taylor Swift. Sorry for jinxing it.
I’d normally complain about Taylor winning when her album was by far the least impressive of the nominees but why fuss when Tori Kelly can sum up my disdain in one reaction?
19. Taylor did win points by throwing shade like Noob Saibot at Kanye West for antagonizing her on his new album. Am I the only one waiting for TMZ to tweet that these two got married in the Bahamas? Just get a room and get it out of your systems.
20. And for no reason that makes good sense, Pitbull closed the show gyrating in his tight Easter suit, singing the SAME SONG he’s been remaking for 10 years now. Why do y’all still put with this guy?
FINAL LL Lip Lick Counter Total: 17. LL’s really reigning in the lip lubrication these days. Only took about 50 years.
As usual, at THREE AND A HALF HOURS, this show was entirely too long — I know you musician types can party all night and wake up at 3 p.m., but grown folks have work in the morning, you know.
Still, despite the usual shortcoming (pandering to Princess Taylor, lame Kidz Bop acts for the kiddos and a weird PSA on the evils of music streaming that I didn’t bother getting into), there were some fantastic performances. Alabama Shakes, the tribute performances and, of course, Kendrick’s explosive statement were all pretty strong.
It wasn’t a total waste of an evening. Cut this thing down to a decent length and it might be watchable one day.