Fresh faces and icons harmonize on music’s biggest night

By Maria Baluch

The 57th annual Grammy Awards, hosted by rapper LL Cool J, was all about 2014’s new artists and legends. Gathered at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, music’s biggest stars came together on Sunday to celebrate the best and brightest of their trade.

The show kicked off with an unexpected performance by AC/DC. Everyone in the audience wore devil horns and rocked out to “Highway to Hell.”

Sam Smith took home four awards – the most out of any artist of the night – for Best New Artist, Best Pop Vocal Album, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year. During the acceptance speech of his fourth award, Smith thanked the man who broke his heart because he inspired the songs and emotional lyrics on his hit album, In The Lonely Hour.

“I want to thank the man who this record is about, who I fell in love with last year,” said Smith, “Thank you so much for breaking my heart because you got me four Grammy’s.”

Beck won the awards for Best Rock Album and Album of the Year for “Morning Phase.”

Beyoncé was also nominated in this category for her self-titled album which lead to one of the most exciting moments of the night. As Beck was going on stage to accept his award, Kanye West was right there behind him.

Just as everyone thought he would be pulling a similar stunt as the 2009 VMA’s when he hijacked Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech, he decided against it and smiled and went back to his seat, making everyone laugh, thinking it was just a joke.

However, during E!’s After Party, West declared that if the Grammy’s wanted real artists to keep coming back, then they need to stop playing with them. West said, “Beck needs to respect artistry and he should have given his award to Beyoncé.”

The Grammy’s seemed to be more about the performances than the awards this year. Following the AC/DC opening, Ariana Grande was the next to dazzle the night of star-studded performances. With her powerful voice and raw emotion she took center stage to sing, “Just A Little Bit of Your Heart” from the My Everything album, which was released last year.

“The Queen of Pop,” Madonna, took the stage with an extravagant and theatrical performance of her new song, “Living For Love.” Dressed as a matador, she danced alongside a crew of dancers with bullhorns and diamond masks and a gospel choir in vibrant red robes.

“Chandelier” singer and songwriter Sia and her performance with “Dance Moms,” Maddie Ziegler had everyone talking. Mirroring a younger version of Sia, Ziegler took the stage alongside famous comic and SNL star, Kristen Wiig. As confusing as the conglomerate of celebrities was, Wiig as a surprise guest was utterly amusing and a surprisingly decent dancer.

One of the more noteworthy moments at the show was when Prince came on stage to give out the award for Album of the Year and said, “Albums still matter, like books and black lives.”

Pharrell and Beyoncé’s performances paid tribute to Michael Brown with the gesture, “‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.”

Jessie J and Tom Jones started the “duos with the icons” theme, which seemed to be happening throughout show, with The Righteous Brothers hit, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin.” This performance was  followed by Mary J. Blige and Sam Smith singing his award-winning  hit, “Stay With Me.”

R&B singer, Rihanna, performed her new single “FourFiveSeconds,” alongside noteworthy artists Paul McCartney and Kanye West.

Hozier sang his hit, “Take Me to Church,” as a duet with Annie Lennox who emphasized and elevated his lyrics. She then belted out her iconic single, “I Put a Spell on You.”

Usher sang, “If It’s Magic,” a classic by Stevie Wonder who made an appearance on stage performing a harmonica solo.

This year’s Grammy awards was a night filled with unexpected performances and mashups, however, the numerous duets seemed to be a bit excessive, resulting in a show that wasn’t as exciting as previous years.