The Best and Worst of a Grammys

But a essential Cardi B impulse of a night came before a Grammy telecast began, with a unusual red carpet talk with E!’s Giuliana Rancic. Within a initial 10 seconds, Cardi B pronounced she had “butterflies in my stomach and vagina,” promulgation Ms. Rancic for a loop.

Ms. Rancic competence have review adult on Cardi B, yet she was not prepared. There is a pat, used stroke to red runner interviews, a give and take of sycophantry and aw-shucks ego. Cardi B operates on a some-more instinctual level, definition that during each turn, Ms. Rancic was flummoxed, confused and personification catch-up. It was three-plus mins of old-style luminary flint removing crashed into and unmoored by new-style luminary self-creation. JON CARAMANICA

The Best Would-Be Host

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Dave Chappelle seemed with Mr. Lamar and after chided a Grammys for unwell to commission a swat organisation A Tribe Called Quest.

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Naras

For a second year in a row, James Corden, a full-time worker of CBS, hosted a Grammys. It should have been Dave Chappelle. The comedian — who went on to take home an endowment for best comedy manuscript (one of 9 televised awards, for some reason) — initial seemed with Mr. Lamar, slicing a six-and-a-half minute, show-opening opening that was pristine adrenaline with a few chances to locate one’s breath.

His explanation was pitch-perfect, strident in a approach that many of a uncover unsuccessful to live adult to. “I customarily wanted to remind a assembly that a customarily thing some-more frightening than examination a black male be honest in America is being an honest black male in America,” Mr. Chappelle said, deadpan. “Sorry for a interruption. Please, continue.” After another peppery shred by Mr. Lamar, Mr. Chappelle again played narrator. “Is this on cable? This is CBS?” he said. “It looks like he’s singing and dancing, yet this brother’s holding huge chances. Rumble, immature man, rumble!”

Mr. Chappelle wasn’t done. Before introducing a nominees for best swat album, he gave a Grammys another discerning poke to a ribs, highlighting a career of A Tribe Called Quest, that was particularly left out of a category, much to a dismay of a leader (and Mr. Chappelle’s friend), Q-Tip. Mr. Chappelle did not quote the late Phife Dawg, yet we could all yet hear one of his classical rhymes between a lines: “I never let a statue tell me how good we am.” JOE COSCARELLI

Kesha’s #MeToo Moment

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Kesha gave her all on an romantic opening of “Praying.”

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Naras

As a Grammys approached, it became increasingly transparent that a weight of a #MeToo moment would tumble on Kesha, a cocktail star who indicted her longtime producer, Dr. Luke, of years of abuse in a 2014 lawsuit; Dr. Luke, whose genuine name is Lukasz Gottwald, has denied a accusations. The Grammys, distinct a Golden Globes and a Oscars, are not famous for speeches, that is since Janelle Monáe’s introduction to Kesha’s opening felt potent: “We contend time’s adult for compensate inequality, time’s adult for discrimination, time’s adult for nuisance of any kind, and time’s adult for a abuse of power,” she announced.

Kesha didn’t mount alone — she came with backup, a carol of women in white led by Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, Julia Michaels, Andra Day and Bebe Rexha. Her opening of “Praying,” a ballad off “Rainbow,” her initial manuscript given 2012, was an romantic exorcism. Singing directly to an criminal — “You brought a abandon and we put me by hell/I had to learn how to quarrel for myself” — she trembled, she screeched, she slipped around a song’s melody. And she fell into a women’s arms as a assembly rose to a feet. CARYN GANZ

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A Newcomer Stands on Her Own

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SZA’s opening of “Broken Clocks” was one of a night’s many visually compelling.

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Naras

Although zero of her 5 nominations led to Grammy Awards, SZA still came out forward in a way: She was a customarily hopeful for best new artist who got to perform a full strain on her own. In “Broken Clocks,” she sang about a frustratingly iffy relationship, commanding a slow-swaying mermaid with jazzy, asymmetrical outspoken lines that could dart nervously ahead, focus suddenly, dawdle over a waving tinge and harangue a chorus. She was too particular to shoehorn into some Grammy medley. JON PARELES

The Gutsiest Performance (by an Artist and a Child)

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Donald Glover, who performs strain as Childish Gambino, opted to perform an astonishing song, “Terrified.”

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Naras

Childish Gambino, a newness rap-turned-soul rewind plan of a polymath Donald Glover, was this year’s left-field hopeful for manuscript and record of a year. But instead of personification it protected and regulating his opening container to do “Redbone,” a nominated strain and warn strike from a nominated album, “Awaken, My Love!,” Mr. Glover did one of a customarily truly unsure things that can be finished to mishandle this mostly overly obedient accumulation show: He played a strain that flattering many no one has heard. And, with “Terrified,” corroborated by a rope that did not seem to be miming to a prerecorded track, he stranded a landing.

A cameo from a preteen child actor and musician J.D. McCrary, who nailed his notes, was an combined reward — not to discuss good synergy for a stirring live-action reconstitute of “The Lion King,” in that Mr. McCrary was expel as a immature Simba to Mr. Glover’s grown Simba. Then, immediately after, an Apple blurb used a large cube of “Redbone.” That’s called carrying it both ways. JOE COSCARELLI

Camila Cabello Speaks for Dreamers

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In a brief debate introducing a opening by U2, Camila Cabello spoke about her personal story with immigration.

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Naras

Ms. Cabello, a former member of Fifth Harmony whose solo entrance manuscript customarily went to No. 1, stepped out of Kesha’s backup choir to pronounce adult for Dreamers. Born in Havana, Ms. Cabello was brought to a United States by her Cuban mom as a child and authorised in; her Mexican father after assimilated them. “Just like a Dreamers,” she said, “my relatives brought me to this nation with zero in their pockets yet hope. They showed me what it means to work twice as tough and never give up.”

She quoted a Emma Lazarus poem on a Statue of Liberty and introduced U2, behaving on a windblown boat with a statue behind a band. Every so often, Bono lifted his arm a approach a statue binds a torch. The strain doesn’t wholly supplement adult — it veers between self-help and domestic insurgency — yet lines like “The face of liberty’s starting to crack” and “The betrothed land is there for those who need it most” couldn’t have had a improved backdrop. JON PARELES

The Most Unexpected Shout-out

At a Grammys tho? DAMN!!! It felt like we privately won an award!!! Appreciate we bruda bruda!!! Beyond Bulletproof ?4 #God?9?D @kendricklamar Congratulations Big Dawg!!! ?6

A post common by Mozzy (@mozzy) on Jan 28, 2018 during 6:43pm PST

Among stream artists slightest expected to ever be given a impulse during a Grammys, Mozzy, a Sacramento travel rapper who appears to work a solar complement divided from a strain courtesy (in a good way), would have seemed like a protected bet. So to hear Mr. Lamar plead a budding cult favorite — “As my man Mozzy say, we know, God adult tip all a time” — in his acceptance debate for best swat manuscript was a acquire present for, probably, dozens, and not even magnificent adequate to be baffling for a millions who roughly really missed it altogether. During a uncover that tends to work broad, to contend a least, you’ve got to take a Easter eggs where we can find them. JOE COSCARELLI

Rihanna Digs Deep

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Rihanna set a internet on glow with her joyous dancing to “Wild Thoughts.”

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NARAS

On a night where Lady Gaga, Pink and Miley Cyrus chose balladeering over strutting, a pursuit of being a first-class cocktail star was left to Rihanna. The overarching cultured of this opening of DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts” with Bryson Tiller might have been reduction than clear, yet it was joyous, and Rihanna threw herself into a moment, delighting online observers by violation into a South African dance called gwara gwara. She punched her choreography with additional oomph while singing live, throwing inhuman faces and display a universe that she was carrying a many fun of anyone in Madison Square Garden. CARYN GANZ

The Worst

Limp Song Selection

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Eric Church, Maren Morris and a Brothers Osborne played a honest cover of Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven.”

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Matt Sayles/Invision, around Matt Sayles, around Invision, around Associated Press

On a night in that dual of a many energetic manuscript of a year nominees, Jay-Z and Lorde, did not take a theatre (with Jay-Z reportedly branch down his container and Lorde carrying not been offering her possess showcase), a immobile performances stranded out even some-more than usual. Aged songs with controversial or forced aptitude — Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer,” Patti LuPone’s “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” — were well-executed yet unnecessary, while ballads by a dressed-down, feet-on-the-ground Pink (“Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken”), Broadway’s Ben Platt (“Somewhere,” from “West Side Story”) and a piano-bound Lady Gaga (“Joanne,” “Million Reasons”) were baggy or snoozy.

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Even what should have been a guaranteed gut-punch — a nation strain reverence to a victims of a Las Vegas unison sharpened — finished adult a head-scratcher since of a choice to cover Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven.” As Bruno Mars put it when he won record of a year for “24K Magic”: “Come on, spin it adult one some-more time — too many ballads tonight!” Untapped nominated acts like Migos, Lil Uzi Vert and even Cardi B, who was relegated to dual discerning guest verses, could customarily curtsy in agreement — that is, if they were still profitable attention. JOE COSCARELLI

Shutouts

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Jay-Z, who attended a rite with his wife, Beyoncé, and daughter Blue Ivy, was a many nominated artist during a Grammys. He didn’t perform, and didn’t take home any awards.

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Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Forget winning Grammys, or even unconditional all a vital categories: all a cold kids are removing tighten out! Jay-Z was this year’s many nominated artist, with 8 nods for his manuscript “4:44” and several songs and videos from it, yet he went home empty-handed. Lorde was nominated for manuscript of a year, yet didn’t win. (She was speckled in a assembly clutching a flask, though.) Cardi B: dual nominations and no awards. And SZA, nominated 5 times, won no trophies. What was it Phife Dawg pronounced again? JON CARAMANICA

No Big Prize for ‘Despacito’

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Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s opening of “Despacito” was a triumph, yet a strain didn’t win any Grammys.

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Timothy A. Clary/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“Despacito” cowed a world in 2017 with billions of views and streams, yet it couldn’t get a tip Grammy as record of a year or strain of a year. That would have been a miracle for Spanish-language cocktail (even yet a chronicle featuring Justin Bieber increased a song’s recognition in a United States). Instead, a Recording Academy retreated to a despondency nostalgia of Bruno Mars’s “24K Magic.”

Onstage during Madison Square Garden, “Despacito” was behind to a strange Puerto Rican performers, a thespian and songwriter Luis Fonsi and a reggaeton rapper and thespian Daddy Yankee. They sang and declaimed a come-ons with lewd enthusiasm, surrounded by flashing pastel lights and gyrating showgirls suggesting Las Vegas — or a Latin Grammys. The song’s tellurian widespread isn’t over; a Spanish/Mandarin chronicle by Mr. Fonsi with a Singaporean cocktail star JJ Lin seemed in November. JON PARELES

Subway Karaoke

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From left: Shaggy, James Corden and Sting attempted to renovate “Carpool Karaoke” for a New York throng in a “Subway Karaoke” skit.

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CBS

James Corden’s heading “Carpool Karaoke” is customarily a submissive bit of talk-show horde self-promotion. But Mr. Corden’s comedy also has another repeated shtick: self-humiliation. He carried Sting and Shaggy into it with a fake-vérité “subway karaoke” bit, as they sang aged hits and a new partnership to a stereotypically antagonistic Noo Yawk accepting that was predicted from a setup. The Grammys attempted to atone to Sting and Shaggy; that new strain got dual some-more plugs, as a theatre opening and as walk-on strain for Sting, who presented strain of a year. JON PARELES

A Choir to Lean On

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Sam Smith was one of several artists who took a Grammys theatre corroborated by a choir.

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The Grammys frequency if ever showcase tangible gospel strain — and this would have been a good year to do so! — yet choirs abound, providing stout counterbalance for fluid performers. Generally, a choirs are black, a performers white. To wit: Sam Smith achieved his new ballad “Pray” on Sunday night, yet it was forlorn until a subsidy choir arrived to uplift him during a initial chorus. But no choir in a universe could make Mr. Smith any warmer than temperate, any cooler than lukewarm. JON CARAMANICA


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