Sunday was music biggest's night: the Grammys. There were three-and-a-half hours of performances on top of performances, spools of pink tulle draped around Rihanna's waist, and a strange and grand moment from the one and only Kanye West.
For those of us who didn't have hours to spare and prefer an abridged version, here is a brief rundown of the show:
The big winner was Sam Smith
There was no clean sweep in the Big Four awards – Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year – but Sam Smith came very close. Smith took home every Big Four award except Album of the Year (which went to Beck – more on that soon). He beat out the likes of Taylor Swift, Hozier, Haim, Iggy Azalea, and others throughout the night. He also took home the Grammy in Best Pop Vocal Album, bringing his overall tally to four.
Because he was a relative newbie to the awards scene, Smith was not as good as Taylor Swift or Beyoncé in faking happiness for the winner when he lost. But this might be a moot point, since the crooner didn't lose very often on Grammy night.
Beck pulled the biggest upset in winning Album of the Year
Each of the nominees in the Album of the Year category had gigantic years … except for the eventual winner. Pharrell dominated early with the unstoppable hit "Happy," Beyoncé's self-titled visual album cemented her status as a music icon, and Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran both made names for themselves with In the Lonely Hour and X respectively.
But the Grammy did not go to any of these people. Instead, it went to Beck's Morning Phase. Even Beck was astonished that he won the award:
Annie Lennox, Sia, and Kristen Wiig stole the night with their performances
There were so many performances on Sunday night you may have forgotten there were actual awards being given out.
Most of these performances were serviceable – Madonna danced around with muscular men dressed as bulls, Gwen Stefani and Adam Levine had a pretty good, understated duet, and Pharrell had a strange, menacing take on "Happy." But the show-stopping moment of the night was Annie Lennox performing "I Put a Spell on You." It was a masterclass in commanding the stage and song, and everything you expect out of a legend like Lennox.
The other standout performance of the night belonged to Sia and Kristen Wiig. If Lennox's performance worked because she lived up to her status as a music icon, Sia's performance worked because it completely defied everything we thought we knew about Kristen Wiig by having her dance. Wiig evoked all kinds of visceral, painful, and joyous emotions in her dance — a far cry from the goofy comedic actress we're so often used to seeing.
Prince said something super powerful
Prince was tasked with introducing the Album of the Year. And in a moment that didn't feel scripted (it's unclear whether or not he followed the teleprompter), as these introductions often do, Prince called to the protests in Ferguson, Missouri.
"Like books and black lives, albums still matter," he said. His words were accompanied by a hefty applause.
Kanye West made nice with Taylor Swift, but is also very mad Beyoncé didn't win Album of the Year
The weirdest moment of the night was when Jessie J was invited to sing things. After that, the second weirdest moment of the night came toward the end of the show. After Beck won Album of the Year, Kanye West rushed up to the stage in what looked like a joke, a riff on the 2009 VMAs when he said Taylor Swift didn't deserve the award for Best Female Video:
(Coincidentally, earlier in the night West was seen playing nice with Taylor Swift.)
But West rushing the stage apparently was not a joke. He really did feel like Beyoncé was snubbed for the Album of the Year award. In a post-Grammy interview with E!, West voiced his frustrations.
"When you keep on diminishing art, and disrespecting art, and smacking people in the face after they deliver monumental feats of music," he said, referring to the voting members and what he felt was a snub of Beyoncé's visual album, "you're disrespectful to inspiration."
And Rihanna wore this dress: