It was Adele versus Beyonce: Divas of Justice last night at the Grammys. Sure, there were other awards handed out (not that you'd know by watching the ceremony on TV, though that's standard operating procedure now), but the only question that really mattered was "Who will win between Beyonce and Adele?" The other nominees in those categories might as well have used those moments to run to the bathroom or grab a drink.
Adele ended up the champion of the diva duel, beating Beyonce in all of their battles and winning five awards at the end of the night. But who really won and lost at the Grammys? Here are our picks.
I don't want to diminish the healing powers of an In-N-Out burger, but the only thing that was going to erase the memory of last year's startlingly off-key performance of "All I Ask" was the soulful songstress busting out her big, bold voice again on the Grammys stage. And it didn't take Sunday night's show long to do that, opening the night up with Adele serenading the audience with her monster hit "Hello" – very much in tune this time. That being said ...
I know "Hello" was the big winning song she won for – and that opening a show with a song called "Hello" is just inherently delightful – but it's been so long since that song was on air and relevant (it was released in October 2015) that no one would've been too embarrassed if you thought CBS was accidentally airing last year's show. Plus, it's a pretty slow, bummer of a way to open up a celebration. But it's all OK because ...
Adele got to make up it with a second performance Sunday night, a teary-eyed tribute to fallen pop icon George Michael. Yeah, it was one of those slow funeral dirge covers of a pop song that score every big movie trailer nowadays – in Sunday's case, a very not fast "Fastlove" – but if anybody can make that cliche sing, it's Adele.
Unless she literally stops singing about midway through, swears about mucking up the tribute and then makes everyone in the audience rewind their tears back into their eye holes so she can try again. Awkward.
But hey, she dealt with an audio gaffe in a fun, cool, diva-y way (take notes, Mariah Carey) ...
... that ended up making the tribute no longer about George Michael and uncomfortably more about herself. Obviously, I don't think this was intentional and that she intended to steal the moment; I think she genuinely just wanted to give the legend a suitable tribute. But when the crowd erupted into a standing ovation at the end of the number, it felt a whole lot more about Adele than George. But speaking of sharing the spotlight with a dead musical icon ...
... Adele tied with David Bowie for the most Grammys won last night with five each (fun fact: David Bowie has now won more Grammys after his death than when he was alive. In case you needed any more reasons to not take these too seriously). And in case that impressive haul wasn't enough, she basically swept the major awards, winning both Song of the Year and Record of the Year for "Hello" as well as Album of the Year for "25."
That being said ... come on. Give it to Beyonce's "Lemonade," an album so good, it made numerous critics' top 10 lists – FOR MOVIES. This shouldn't have been difficult.
But Adele owned it! Her entire final speech was like one big apology for beating Beyonce, like Kanye astral projected into Adele's body in order to voice his complaints about Beyonce losing yet again. She even snapped the final one in half to give to Beyonce. Normally, that kind of thing – you know, casually snapping apart an award that people have toiled their entire lives to earn because you've got four more in the back – comes off condescending and even more pretentious, but Adele somehow managed to make it awesome and a touching tribute far better than some shiny golden trophy of an outdated music technology.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is weird night for Adele.
Loser: The Grammys
Just when you thought it was safe to put away your #AwardsShowSoWhite hashtags. Much like the Oscars the past two years, no, I don't think the Grammys hate black people. But, much like the Oscars the past two years, I do think there's a level of institutional racism that distances them from giving their ultimate award to black artists.
It's been almost a decade since a black musician won Album of the Year, and that was Herbie Hancock in 2008 for an album of Joni Mitchell covers. Meanwhile, Kanye, Beyonce, Frank Ocean and too many iconic, influential black artists throughout the years have gone unrecognized for their essential work. Judging any art for the sake of awards will always be an inexact and useless science that never says as much as it thinks it does, but when the results constantly place the work of black artists as secondary, as consolation prize competitors, it says a lot.
Winner: Chance the Rapper
Not only did the Chicago-based rapper come away with three Grammys, but he provided constant joy throughout the evening. Whether jubilantly accepting his awards with enough God shoutouts to rival the pope or bouncily performing "How Great" and "All We Got" with a triumphant church choir, I wish I could radiate 0.00001 percent of the joy Chance the Rapper's exudes at all times.
Loser: Playoff music
Somewhere in between Chance's 17th or 18th contagiously gleeful God reference in approximately 24 seconds, Grammys producers decided that it would be a good idea to start blaring the playoff music. Chance thought otherwise ... and awesomely just blasted through it using the sheer power of happiness.
And somehow, that wasn't the producers worst cut-off music moment from Sunday night. That would belong to Adele's poor sweet co-songwriter Greg Kurstin, who got so brutally shut down accepting the award for Song of the Year that the crowd began to boo, leaving the next presenter stuck thinking they did something wrong. Poor Solange.
Rih Rih was nominated for eight Grammys last night and came away with none. She did come away with the hearts of millions thanks to the several shots of the pop star swigging from a bedazzled flask.
Rihanna is living the best life.
Loser: Katy Perry
The Katy Perry transition from childish pop star to adult pop star just isn't really working out. Her newest song, "Chained to the Rhythm" with Skip Marley, is a slowburn pop song that never rises above lukewarm, and the performance Sunday night didn't do much to make it more exciting. Even her political statements – a "Persist" arm band and a Constitution powerpoint at the end – fell flat.
Winner: Maren Morris
The country starlet seemed to be everywhere last night, from winning Best Country Solo Performance over the likes of Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban to performing with Alicia Keys, it felt like she was going to be one of the big stars of the night – and maybe of the next few years in country music.
Loser: Country music
What was that Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban song? Because it was not country music. If Merle Haggard hadn't already died, this might have ended him.
I mean, OBVIOUSLY. Only Queen Bey can lose all of the major awards on the night and still come away the obvious winner. She's such royalty that when Adele – also a member of music royalty – beat her out, she did everything but sacrifice a lamb in front of Beyonce in order to appease her and the throngs of fans already burning Twitter to ash.
She made the most of her one award win, though, pulling out a golden tablet – because of course Beyonce has special golden speech cards for her prose – and delivered a potent message about acceptance and the need for diverse faces in places of power and respect THAT WAS SOMEHOW WORTHY OF BEING WRITTEN ONTO GOLD.
Before then, she also had a musical performance that was lavishly self-indulgent and pretentious and self-mythologizing – and somehow totally perfect and beautifully captivating and deserving of all the YAS QUEEN-ing astronauts heard echoing from the planet seconds after she finished. She dressed like the Mother Mary all night, and the world's reaction was "Wow, this is a big moment for Mary. She's going to blow up after this."
Loser: Robo-Cee Lo
As far as red carpet looks go, the "Oscar statue possessed by the angry ghost of a Power Rangers villain" approach is not one I imagine will catch on.
Even Halsey was appalled – and Halsey was wearing blended pajama scraps.
Winner: A Tribe Called Quest
While Katy Perry was barely able to ignite a spark with her attempt at a protest, A Tribe Called Quest's performance was one long, gigantic fire emoji. The group – alongside Anderson Paak – started with the strong duo of "Award Tour" and "Moving Backwards." The fire alarms started really going off, however, when Busta Rhymes busted in like the Kool-Aid Man, crying out against the Muslim ban and "President Agent Orange," before immigrants literally Kool-Aid Man-ned through a wall and came on stage. Add in an impassioned chant of "Resist" to close out the song, and everyone else's subdued attempt at an important political statement Sunday night just shriveled up out of embarrassment.
Loser: Metallica/Lady Gaga
The idea of smashing together Metallica and the newly minted queen of the Super Bowl Lady Gaga on stage doesn't sound all that appealing in the first place, even with Gaga's already-proven genre dexterity. It sounded even less appealing thanks to Metallica lead singer James Hetfield's mic deciding it wanted no part of this performance and failing on stage. Hetfield was left yelling unheard lyrics in the void, leaving large segments of loud empty awkwardness for a writhing Lady Gaga and pyrotechnics to try to cover up. Probably didn't even need the pyrotechnics seeing that Hetfield slowly evolved into human napalm by the end of the number. At least presenter Laverne Cox didn't forget to say Metallica's name too ...
Oh no ... oh dear...
Winner: Prince tribute
For those worried that we'd get another version of Lady Gaga's turbo-fueled Vegas-ready Bowie tribute this year for Prince, thankfully, we got something a lot better. The Time opened it up with a suitable funky and fun rendition of "Jungle Love" and "The Bird," complete with sweet mirror moves and way too smooth crowd dancing, before Mars came out in the purple jumpsuit for "Let's Go Crazy." No one will ever match Prince ... but Mars, who must've been saving his energy in his sleepy earlier performance for this, made for a fine substitute. The Grammys sent Prince out with a dance party – and what a dance party it was.
Loser: Bee Gees tribute
A seated-in-the-crowd Barry Gibb should not have been the most memorable and compelling performer during a tribute to his own group. But that's what happens when you march out Demi Lovato, a out-of-their-element Little Big Town (except for the one guy's hair), last year's Grammy stinkface MVP Tori Kelly and a commendable but unspectacular Andra Day to sing a medley of Bee Gees hits. No one embarrassed themselves, but no one did much memorable either or brought much real fun or energy to the moment – except for poor Barry Gibb, singing his band's own songs to himself in the seats.
Winner: James Corden
James Corden is basically a just more tolerable, British remake of Jimmy Fallon. But other than the falling stair gag that opened the show and the awkward "Sweet Caroline" bit where some of our most beloved musicians revealed they reeeeeally didn't know the words – in front of Neil himself – he filled an entertainment void LL Cool J was never able to as host the past few years. I mean, the joke about celebrities getting stuck on fold-out chairs was a genuinely good bit – and it made me feel less awful about watching the Grammys very glamorously flopped on a couch with a tube of Pringles.
At some point, Joe Jonas' pop band DNCE came out to introduce another act, and James Cordon stood with them, wearing a similarly ridiculous outfit and hair style. AND NOBODY REALLY NOTICED. That's a cry for help right there, and I hope a fashion intervention broke out as soon as they walked off stage.
Loser: Anyone who wanted to see awards given out
Did you know they hand out over 80 Grammys? I think we saw maybe five of them. What, not enough time for Secret Agent 23 Skiddo's acceptance speech for winning Best Children's Album?
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.