By: Macy Newman
11. Luke Combs
As someone who isn’t a fan of country music, the slow country ballad that Luke Combs delivered nearly three hours into the show was forgettable at best. Combs stood at a microphone with his guitar, simply singing his song “Going, Going, Gone,” with little to no theatrics. Truly no disrespect to the solid vocals that Combs’ performance held but, unfortunately for him, a slow guitar ballad that airs late into a four hour long award ceremony tends to fade into the background.
10. Harry Styles
Surprisingly, coming in at ten, we have world-renowned artist Harry Styles himself. For someone who is known for his high energy and entertaining performance qualities, it was a shock to sit through what, in my opinion, is one of the artist’s worst performances yet. It seemed as though Styles was struggling his way through the entire performance of his hit song “As It Was,” a song which Styles has performed numerous amount of times before. From the first note of the song you could tell that Styles’ had derailed himself from his usual confidence, and he just couldn’t seem to get back on track.
Hours after the show had aired, one of Style’s backup dancers came out and informed the public that the turntable Style’s and his dancers had performed on and started spinning the wrong direction, seconds before the performance. They had to improvise the entire performance backwards without any beforehand notice, so that explains the out of character performance that was delivered.
9. DJ Khaled
In all honesty, I never even finished the DJ Khaled, Jay-Z, John Legend, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne and Fridayy collaboration performance of “God Did” during my initial watch of the Grammys. Sitting at the final performance of the night, it posed a challenge for the artists to command the attention of the audience, including me, after the show had already been dragging out for hours and only finished early in the dark of the morning around midnight. About a minute into the performance I found myself losing interest, and grabbing my remote to click off my television and head to bed.
Since the show, I have watched the performance over again, and unfortunately what I thought might’ve been clouded judgment for the effects of exhaustion kicking in, reigns true. There just simply wasn’t enough wow factor present for the finale performance of one of the biggest music award shows out there.
8. Stevie Wonder
A musical legend like Stevie Wonder unfortunately has consistently high expectations that come along with every performance that he gives. It’s those expectations that unfortunately landed him at number eight on my list. While Wonder, alone with his guests, Christ Stapleton and Smokey Robinson, vocally sounded amazing, the song choices threw me off and didn’t stand out to me.
7. Steve Lacy
Steve Lacy gave a wonderful performance considering that it was his first time at the Grammys, but compared to all of the Grammy veterans that follow after him on this list he just felt a little too boring. Similar to Luke Combs’ performance, Lacy’s performance also took place a few hours into the show which I’m sure contributed to its dullness. Nonetheless, Lacy’s performance was vibey, vocally well-rounded, and paired with some killer bass guitar that didn’t leave me disappointed when finished.
6. Mary J. Blige
I can confidently say that every performance from here on out was entertaining and enjoyable to watch. During her performance,Mary J. Blige demonstrated exactly why many people call her the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul. She delivered a gorgeous performance that she topped off with an even more gorgeous stage presence. I have no complaints.
5. Sam Smith and Kim Petras
In a performance that some may call scandalous, Sam Smith and Kim Petras certainly commanded the stage and the attention of every single audience member present. The performance was loud, bright and in your face. The duo reminded you of why they had just won the Grammy for Best Pop-Duo Performance mere moments before their performance, and delivered a shockingly entertaining work of art on the stage. Though they received backlash for the choice of centering the performance around devils, I thought that it all added to the intended shock value of the performance itself.
4. Brandi Carlile
Brandi Carlile delivered an outstanding rock performance, captivating everyone with her vocals that were certainly some of the strongest of the night. Carlile is a perfect example of how to stand on stage with a guitar and a microphone and still perform, which is exactly what Luke Combs was missing. Not once during Carlile’s performance did I think that she should’ve been doing more or less. It was just the right amount of hard-hitting emotions and music that made her stand out amongst the other performers of the night.
3. Hip-Hop Tribute
All the artists involved in the amazing hip-hop tribute, too many to name, truly put on a performance. I felt like I was watching a mini concert, and it was a fabulous performance filled with amazing transitions and stage presence. It seems like it would be almost impossible to sum up around 50 years of a genre, but this performance has it all. It truly displayed why hip-hop as a genre is a global force. Some of the notable performers consisted of Busta Rhymes, Salt-N-Peppa and Missy Elliott.
2. Bad Bunny
As the opener to the entire award show, Bad Bunny had everyone, at the Grammys and at home watching from their televisions, up on their feet dancing. It was a performance that was full of love, life and lust. Bad Bunny transported you from the Caribbean to Puerto Rico, generating a performance that I was sure wasn’t going to be able to be topped by any of the other performers that night. That is until Lizzo walked out onto the stage.
It took mere seconds for chills to run down my spine as Lizzo’s performance started. Powerful as always, Lizzo blessed the crowd with her strong and determined voice as she was surrounded by an all-Black gospel choir that accompanied her in an acapella rendition of her song “Special.” In my opinion, Lizzo had the strongest all-around performance of the night. It kept me engaged and reminded everyone there just how much life Lizzo brings to the stage in everyone of her performances.
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