After covering The GRAMMY Awards up close for six years in a row (and watching the show on TV before that), I can honestly say that last night’s show was one of the most moving and emotional GRAMMY telecasts I have experienced. The show managed to impact culture in a big way with a number of performances that conveyed a message about equality. It wasn’t political by design, it was simply a theme that lingered through many of this year's nominated songs.
One of the night's stand out moments was Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' ground-breaking performance of "Same Love" that featured fellow Seattleite Mary Lambert plus special guests Madonna and Queen Latifah. "Same Love" is a song that explicitly addresses the importance of equal rights for all regardless of age, race, sex and sexual orientation.
Following their win for Best New Artist earlier in the evening, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis took the stage towards the end of the CBS telecast. The duo performed the song together with Mary Lambert before Queen Latifah entered the stage to officiate a mass wedding of 33 couples in the audience. Madonna gave the newly-married couples a proper wedding gift with an impromptu performance of her classic "Open Your Heart" mashed up with "Same Love" that gave a whole new meaning to the phase, “It's not that hard/If you just turn the key.” It was a truly powerful performance that didn't leave a dry eye in the room.
Kacey Musgraves' poignant performance of "Follow Your Arrow" also promoted a message of equality and individuality.The young Nashville singer won two GRAMMY statues for “Merry Go ‘Round” (Best Country Song) and Same Trailer, Different Park (Best Country Album). "Follow Your Arrow" promotes equality for everyone in not so subtle terms: "Kiss lots of boys/Or kiss lots of girls If that's something you're into/Love who you love/ 'Cause you just get so many trips 'round the sun."
Musgraves was visibly emotional when she received the GRAMMY for Best Country Song during the pre-telecast for “Merry Go ‘Round.” “That song means so much to me,” she told the audience. “It changed my life. I’m so happy to make country music that I feel represents the genre.”
GRAMMY nominee Sara Bareilles added her own twist to the theme of equality with her performance of "Brave" alongside legendary singer/songwriter Carole King who was honored as MusiCares’ Person of the Year. Bareilles sings, "You can be the outcast/Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love/Or you can start speaking up." Bareilles harmonized beautifully with King that resulted in another memorable GRAMMY moment.
Imagine Dragons and Kendrick Lamar fired up the crowd with their powerful mashup of "Radioactive" and "m.A.A.d. City." The performance was released as a single just moment after the show concluded.
Beyonce stunned the crowd with a show-stopping opening number that mimicked the album visuals of her recently-released, self-titled album.
This year's GRAMMYs also facilitated the reunion of two Beatles: Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. They performed together to celebrate the 50th year anniversary of The Beatles' historic performance on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Bruno Mars did not perform at the show but he was in attendance to receive a GRAMMY for Best Pop Vocal Album for Unorthodox Jukebox. A very well-deserved win for a solid and cohesive pop album that continues Mars’ winning streak following his meteoric rise to fame. Mars also introduced Pink’s daredevil performance of "Try" followed by "Just Give Me A Reason" with Nate Ruess. The pop singer once again was pulled high up into the air to perform up side down and in rotation while never skipping a beat.
With performances that were both meaningful and fun to watch, this year’s GRAMMYs fully lived up to its reputation as the year’s Biggest Night in Music.