Performances at this year’s Grammy awards weren’t about gimmicks, special effects, or surprise appearances. Instead, the show became a celebration of the music and musicians that unite seemingly different people. Fittingly, in a year where so many important musicians passed away, the night was also about people using their talents to bid a fond farewell to those whom we will all miss. It was a night where legends were honored, rock stars danced to country music, and an auditorium full of stars bowed their heads in prayer.
1. Jennifer Hudson - “I Will Always Love You”
The world only learned of the sad death of Whitney Houston the night before, leaving organizers less than 24 hours to put together a meaningful tribute. Despite this, I can’t imagine a better way to pay respect to someone than what was planned. There are far too few female singers of today who are capable of singing Whitney’s greatest hit with similar vocal ability, but Jennifer Hudson is one of those singers. Her heartfelt rendition also served as a befitting ending to a video “in memoriam” tribute to all the talented people who left us last year.
2. Paul McCartney - “My Valentine”/ “Carry That Weight”, “Golden Slumbers”, and “The End” featuring Bruce Springsteen, Joe Walsh, and Dave Grohl
We all knew that the grand master of rock ‘n’ roll was performing tonight, but we only thought he was here to sing something sweet and romantic off his new album. However, we were all in for a double treat, as McCartney later closed the show with a rocking encore of the ultimate set-closer, complete with an all-star guitar battle.
3. Adele - “Rolling in the Deep”
Millions were tuning in for the much-hyped return of Adele, performing live in concert for the first time since major vocal chord surgery. The big winner of the night hit all the right notes, but one thing kept it from being the most memorable moment of the night. Why was the arrangement of such a great song changed?
4. Maroon 5 - “Surfer Girl”, Foster the People - “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?”, and the Beach Boys - “Good Vibrations”
Adam Levine’s voice won’t be mistaken for any of the Beach Boys’ anytime soon, but the tribute performers showed their respect. I would even go as far to say that tonight was Foster The People’s best performance ever. They were all excellent opening acts for the reunion everyone was waiting for.
5. The Band Perry - “Georgia on My Mind”, Blake Shelton - “Southern Nights”, and Glen Campbell - “Rhinestone Cowboy”
Traditional country music fans should be pleased with this pleasant retirement party for a legend. Vast amounts of the live audience, made up of people of all ages who specialize in many different genres of music, were obviously enjoying it.