Now THAT'S how you do an awards show.
The Grammys took the stage Sunday night in a rare case of coming after the Oscars – and the music awards seemed to relish the opportunity to show what it could do better than its showbiz big brother, throwing a tremendous concert spectacle. Oh, and there were awards allegedly too, five of them going to Jon Batiste and four heading to retro-grooving power couple Silk Sonic. But who REALLY won Sunday night? And who REALLY lost? And who REALLY could've happily watched three more hours of that?
Here are the real winners and losers of the 2022 Grammys.
Winner: Like, every single performer
With the Golden Globes self-immolated, the Grammys now hold the title of the entertainment world's biggest and best live party – and they lived up to that title this year.
From start to end, no matter your genre preferences, the performances were an energetic and engaging spectacle – starting with Silk Sonic's riotously Sin City-inspired funked-out jam "777." Even the slow sad songs – like Olivia Rodrigo's "Drivers License" and Billie Eilish's "Happier Than Ever" – had appeal, both featuring on stage spectacle and both delivering on their big climactic builds, especially with Eilish rocking out the end amid a fake rain storm. Lil Nas X and BTS delivered the megastar spectacle the show wants while Brandi Carlile and Chris Stapleton delivered the gravitas and hefty vocals. H.E.R. and Lenny Kravitz rocked the house down, J Balvin's early two-song set was a visual marvel, and eventual Album of the Year winner made a colorful impact with a "Yo Gabba Gabba"-esque explosion of dancing joy. Brothers Osborne lastly made the rollicking most out of an undesirable performance slot: the final one of the night, even after the final award and after folks probably started flipping off their TVs. And that's coming from a non-country fan!
Even Justin Bieber going all piano ballad to start "Peaches" ruled – and when even the Biebz can't screw up the evening, you know you put together a solid show.
Loser: The seating arrangement
This would normally be where I poke fun at a disappointing or clunky performance ... but I honestly can't come up with a number from Sunday night that was worthy singling out as a pitchy note. (Again: Not even Bieber!)
So instead, here I am having to resort to criticizing the seating layout.
Yes, with the switch from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, the usual standard seating was mostly swapped out for spaced-out lounge seating around small gold tables. Aesthetically it looked fun and comfortable – and it certainly was not a dealbreaker for the evening – but the spacous set-up made things sound a little less electric and animated, and even the stars seemed uncertain of how to proceed with all that room, no longer blended in amongst the seats but wide out in the awkward open. Even host Trevor Noah had to nudge the hall to get up and dance in the early going. But again, if the biggest problem the Grammys had was some clumsy spacing issues, then they didn't really have any problems at all.
Winner: The music industry
While some slap-happy awards shows to be named shortly seem humiliated to have to acknowledge unpopular genres and below-the-line players, the Grammys did their best to enthusiastically give all parts of their industry their moment in the spotlight on Sunday.
For some of the evening's performances, for instance, instead of another celeb announcing the next act, the Grammys brought out their tour managers or roadies to bring their bosses onto the stage, sweetly shaking but doing a great job of taking the spotlight for themselves for a moment. In another attempt to shine as much light around as possible, to bring some of the more niche categories into the evening's celebration, the Grammys opened an outdoor stage on the roof featuring performances from lesser known nominees to transition in and out of ad breaks. It wasn't a perfect approach – they were, after all, literally outside of the main party – but it still gave key exposure to groups that could've easily gone neglected.
From old to new, big names and general unknowns, the Grammys did an admirable job of showing off their industry, tooting their horn for what they accomplish and giving everyone a bow. Unlike, say ...
Loser: The Oscars
You didn't need to watch the Grammys to know the Oscars was a fustercluck last weekend – but boy did the comparison not do the Academy Awards any more favors. And not just because no one got slapped on stage on Sunday.
While the Oscars seemed embarrassed to have to talk about all aspects of their industry and about smaller movies, shoving the technical awards aside and mocking films throughout the night, the Grammys embraced all aspects of music – from the mega-stars to the more niche categories and those behind the scenes, creating a night that felt excited about music. And when a show is enthusiastic about its topic, the audience watching shares in that enthusiasm. I mean, did you hear Trevor Noah mock a musician or groan about having to listen to some unhip genre? Oh, not once? That's weird, because at the Oscars, ripping on films – often times THE MOVIES WE ARE THERE TO REWARD – is apparently the main source of comedy and catharsis.
The Grammys showed what happens when you let your purpose – the music – be the star, unapologetically: The viewers have a great time – and even WANT to seek out the art they've just seen or heard. My Spotify playlist got 20 songs longer after last night's show because everyone there seemed genuinely into the music on stage and earned awards. Meanwhile, did the Oscars' seventeen jokes about running time make anyone interested in watching "The Power of the Dog" or "Drive My Car"? In the end, these are promotional events – but only the Grammys seemed eager to sell their product this year.
And, as a bonus shame, the Grammys got the Zelenksky appearance the Oscars, or just Sean Penn, wanted – and did a better job of paying tribute to the ongoing war than the wishy-washy Academy Awards, even if you think it's an odd fit for a glossy awards show. Anyways, someone tell Penn so he can re-smelt his Oscar at least into a Grammy.
Winner: Silk Sonic
No matter what, Silk Sonic was gonna be a winner on Sunday night with its funk-arific opening act. But then the groovy tandem of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak went and ACTUALLY won awards on the night – four in total, the second most on the night including two somewhat surprising wins in the major categories of Record and Song of the Year for their sexy smooth throwback jam "Leave the Door Open."
To make the wins even better, the duo delivered some of the best speeches of the night. The first came from emotional producer Dernst Emile II, dedicating the moment to his mother who passed away just last week, while the second acceptance speech landed on the opposite side of the emotional spectrum, the starring pair hamming it up by standing up from their table in slo-mo swagger, giddily humblebragging about going four for four on the night and then announcing the next round's on them. (And honestly, I buy that they ACTUALLY did buy everyone drinks; they seem like those kind of dudes.)
Most amazing of all, they pulled off all that attitude and slickness while Paak was wearing Javier Bardem's wig from "No Country for Old Men."
Loser: Olivia Rodrigo
Obviously the pop star was far from an actual loser on the night, still earning three awards – including Best New Artist and Best Pop Solo Performance for "Drivers License" over the likes of Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish and delivering a strong performance of her nominated hit early in the evening. But for a night that was expected to be a coronation of sorts, officially annointing her as the new face of pop music – otherwise known as the Billie Eilish treatment – the "Drivers License" singer ran into some potholes. Despite being heavily predicted to some combination of Song, Record and Album of the Year for "Sour," Rodrigo instead came away with none of them. This can only mean one thing: The sequel to "Good 4 U" is going to RULE.
Winner: Billie Eilish
The seven-time Grammy winner made the most of her time on stage, rocking out her performance of "Happier Than Ever" and, most notably, making the fashion statement of the night by paying homage to the late great Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins.
Plus, she got a wonderful Jon Batiste performance served right at her table, which is a good way to live.
Loser: Billie Eilish
Despite seven nominations – tied for third most of the night's entire crop – Eilish didn't come away with a single win Sunday night. (Only Justin Bieber had a worse night, losing eight times without a single trophy as well as wearing ... well, you'll see.) Considering the run Eilish had over the past two years, though, winning seven Grammys in two years – including last year's surprise Record of the Year win that she tried to pawn off to Megan Thee Stallion – I doubt she minds taking a year off from speeches.
Winner: Joni Mitchell
Props to Joni Mitchell for apparently enjoying the hell out of her Grammys weekend in Vegas.
Also: We need to talk about how she deserves one of the Oscars for "CODA" because "Both Sides Now" really puts that movie on its back.
Loser: Best "new" artist
Much like how the Grammys are an awards show with the word "awards" written with sarcastic quotes, the Best New Artist category really stretches the definition of "new" to its limits. Arooj Aftab and Glass Animals' first albums both came out in 2014, while Jimmie Allen's first record came out in 2018. And is Finneas, who has been very present in Billie Eilish's rise to fame over the past several years, truly a "new" artist? No one feels like they're discovering the guy who's been very visibly standing alongside the biggest name in pop over the past three years. But I guess Best Artist We're Finally Paying Attention To doesn't quite have the same ring to it.
Winner: Jazmine Sullivan
Of all the wins last night, few of them meant more than Jazmine Sullivan winning Best R&B Album on the live show. It's been a long time coming for Sullivan, who's been nominated a dozen times since 2009 without a single win – and it took a little longer on Sunday night as it took everyone a bit to translate presenter Billy Porter's hyper-enthusiasm reading the envelope. But Sullivan finally got her golden night – twice, as she also won Best R&B Performance for "Pick Up Your Feelings" along with Silk Sonic, making her unexpectedly the closest anyone got to slowing that duo's roll.
Loser: People who watch for the awards
If you watch the Grammys for the awards, you once again ended the night disappointed as only nine golden megaphones were handed out during the actual broadcast, with the first one coming well into the show. Then again, at this point, if you watch the Grammys for the awards, congratulations on being a literal unicorn because you are a fictional being that does not actually exist.
Winner: The in memoriam segment
CHILLS: Ben Platt, Rachel Zegler, Cynthia Erivo, and Leslie Odom Jr. concluded the #GRAMMYs' In Memoriam montage with a stunning tribute to Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim pic.twitter.com/LIdmDUPspy — NowThis (@nowthisnews) April 4, 2022
In case you needed yet another example of the Grammys pantsing the Oscars, the music awards did their in memoriam segment right. They didn't overthink the concept, instead just putting some excellent singers on stage to sing some wonderful songs while we got to remember and pay homage to the great artists we've lost over the past year. No ecstatic dancing getting in the way of the dearly departed. No tonal weirdness. Just pure feels, beginning with the tribute to Taylor Hawkins and ending with a moving moment for composer Stephen Sondheim – complete with "West Side Story" star Rachel Zegler, who did not have to publicly nag her way into this particular awards ceremony.
Loser: The existence of cancel culture
I was told we're all living constantly with the terrifying specter of cancel culture hanging over our heads, waiting to strike and send us into oblivion for any small mistake. And yet here I am, in the year 2022, watching Louis C.K. – who everyone pretty much agrees earned a proper cancellation – earn a Grammy win in the year 2022? And it's not like the other nominees – Chelsea Handler, Lewis Black, Lavell Crawford, Nate Bargatze and Kevin Hart (also allegedly canceled) – were little-known up-and-comers who would struggle to get votes. Anyways, I'm sure that was just an oversight by the Great Cancel Culture Committee that definitely exists; it's not like there's a new Mel Gibson movie coming out wide next weekenOH LOOK AT THAT!
Winner: Getting up on the wrong side of the bed
It sounds like SZA's awards weekend didn't quite get off to the most golden start, as she explained that her crutches at Sunday's ceremony were due to falling out of bed. But considering she came away with a Grammy on Sunday night, the soulful pop singer is a tribute to how you can redeem things even when you literally wake up on the wrong side of the bed. (In related Grammy night winner news, between helping Liza Minnelli at the Oscarss and helping SZA at the Grammys, Lady Gaga is quickly becoming everyone's favorite awards attendee.)
Loser: The Grammys' social media account
The Grammys threw a great party on Sunday night ... not that the person in charge of their social media accounts probaby knew that. BTS stans took to Twitter to announce they were DISPLEASED about the K-pop band losing out on Best Pop Duo/Group Performance to Doja Cat and SZA's "Kiss Me More," even turning "#scammys" into one of the night's highest trending topics. Oh no, I guess BTS will just have to settle for being one of the most famous and successful music groups currently working – truly poor them. Case #1,701,349 on why the state of modern fandom must be destroyed.
The cameo from SZA's crutches wasn't the only unexpected excitement during the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance win for "Kiss Me More" as her song partner Doja Cat took even longer to get up on stage. The reason?
But while Doja Cat's bladder had a poor sense of timing, at least it had a good sense of urgency as she was able to get to the stage and deliver a teary and emotional speech to her partner on the catchy hit song. Teary and emotional ... after the part about taking the fastest piss in one's life, of course. I couldn't imagine the person behind "B*tch, I'm a cow" accepting her first award any other way.
Loser: Justin Bieber's outfit
You know the part in the body swap comedy when the adult-in-kid-form tries on his suit only to discover it HILARIOUSLY doesn't fit anymore?
Jokes on all of us: That's how Bieber snuck in snacks for the ceremony. Also, is it weird that somehow I think the actual most embarrassing part of this outfit is the moonboots?
Winner: Late night talk show band leaders
Late night had quite a night on Sunday as Jon Batiste, most famous for complementing Stephen Colbert on "The Late Show," was the evening's biggest winner, nabbing the most awards with five – including a surprise victory for Album of the Year over the likes of Olivia Rodrigo, the combination of Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Doja Cat, Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and other more radio-friendly names.
But that wasn't all. A week after earning the world's most infamously ignored Oscar, the Roots frontman and "Tonight Show" music maestro scored a Grammy, winning Best Music Film for "Summer of Soul" – this time without any other drama infringing on his night. Speaking of which, while presenting the first televised award of the evening – Song of the Year – he not only didn't get slapped but got in the night's best joke about said slap, which I believe should the final words on the topic for hopefully ever. When you get half an EGOT in a week's time (he already had five Grammys), you're doing well for yourself.
So your move, Reggie Watts.
Loser: Anyone tasked with writing a winners and losers column about awards shows
Thank god for Bieber's suit-for-four because, honestly, it was hard to come up with things to dislike or make fun of about last night's Grammys. The performances were fun, the award winners were generally well deserved, the show moved, no one got whapped on stage, the overall vibes were really good and the Jared Leto sighting was short-lived. Who knew that awards shows can be ... good? AND still properly appreciate the art and craftsmanship in the industry?! WHAT A WORLD! I hope the Academy was taking notes.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.