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GRAMMY GAB: COLOR COMMENTARY

Most of the trophies had already been given out pre-show, and Brandi Carlile, Kacey, Gaga, Childish, Greta van Fleet, Dan + Shay, Ella Mai, H.E.R., Lauren Daigle and Leon Bridges (among many others) had already collected hardware. 

Camila Cabello kicked off the big show with gusto, flair, a ton of color and some serious choreography. The Epic star brought the heat, transporting the audience at Staples Center to Little Havana with a Broadway-esque performance, complete with one hell of a set. She was joined by songmate Young Thug, as well as Latin icon Ricky Martin. J Balvin even came out to rep "Mi Gente," adding to a real moment for Latin music.

Host Alicia Keys then appeared to press the power of music, shout out honoree Diana Ross and MusiCares Person of the Year Dolly Parton, before bringing out Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, Michelle Obama and Jennifer Lopez. "They said I was weird," Gaga started off. "That my look, my choices, my sound... that it didn't work. But music told me not to listen to them. Music took my ears, took my hands, my voice and my soul, and it led me to all of you..." "Back in the Bronx, music gave me a reason to dance..." added Lopez. "It reminds me of where I come from but it also reminds me of all the places I can go." Smith shared, "We express our pain, power and progress through music.. Every voice we hear deserves to be honored and respected." Cheers erupted for Obama, who praised "the Motown Records I wore out on the South Side to the 'Who Run the World' songs that fueled me through this last decade." "[Music] allows us to hear one another," she asserted, "to invite each other in." At that point, it was beyond clear: The ladies are in the house, and they have a lot to say (through their words and their music).

Miley Cyrus and Shawn Mendes totally rocked out to the Island troubadour's chart-topping "In My Blood," before Lady Gaga accepted the first televised award of the night, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, for "Shallow." "I'm so proud to be a part of a movie that addresses mental health issues," she stressed through tears. "A lot of artists deal with that. So if you see someone who's hurting, don't look away."

Returning from the first commercial break, viewers could hear a pin drop as Album of the Year nominee Kacey Musgraves gracefully stepped out in all white to touch hearts with a touching rendition of her "Rainbow"—accompanied only by a pianist.

Keys called the performance "gorgeous" before introducing Janelle Monáe. "She's got the world looking at pink, the way we all should," said Keys. The Dirty Computer songstress slayed "Make Me Feel," in what could definitely be described as a captivating hat tip to idol Prince. "Let the vagina have a monologue," she commanded before totally making love to that stage and vehemently highlighting "black girl magic."

"This Is Amercia" took Song of the Year, and Childish wasn't here to take it. Time to vamp! Post and Chili Peppers take the stage. After an acoustic intro with "Stay" it was smash "Rockstar." Then he joined the Chili Peppers for "Dark Necessities." Did that singlehandedly counter all the preceding female energy?

No worries, it was time for Grammy to honor MusiCares Person of the Year Dolly Parton. Kacey Musgraves and Katy Perry kicked things off with "Here You Come Again," and Dolly came out to own it. Then Miley joined Dolly for the indelible "Jolene." Maren Morris joined the pair for Neil Young's incandescent "After the Gold Rush," with a huge a cappella section. 

Then came Little Big Town for "Red Shoes" from the recent, Linda Perry-helmed Dumplin'. Dolly killed this shit, and then it was time for the ensemble "9 to 5," and the whole Grammy crowd was on its feet. We would not want to follow this.

It was time for a big shout-out to Clarence Avant, who was duly honored at Clive's mega-party.

Then came Best New Artist nominee H.E.R., rocking a lucite Stratocaster, the second female performer of the night channeling some serious Prince vibes. 

Cardi B, who earned five nominations this year (including Album of the Year), took center stage for "Money," decked out in a crystal-encrusted catsuit, and put on a fucking show. "Welcome to the Grammys," she cooed from the top of a bedazzled Baldwin piano before reminding everyone there's "nothing in this world I like more than checks." Moments later, Kacey Musgraves won Best Country Album. She made sure to thank Jason Owen—her manager from day one who "dreams so big"; she also thanked Ken Ehrlich and The Grammys, who've "done nothing but spread positivity for this album."

Alicia Keys reminded everyone just how she got those 15 Grammys, playing two pianos at once. "Welcome to Club Keys, where the music is cool and timeless," she breathily declared. She nailed chestnuts like Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly," Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable" and Lauryn Hill's "Doo-Wop (That Thing)," while bringing an utterly classic sheen to Juice WRLD's "Lucid Dreams," Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody" and Ella Mai's "Boo'd Up." And it wouldn't be an Alicia Keys moment without "Empire State of Mind."

Country duo Dan + Shay followed to pull on some heartstrings with their smash, "Tequila." Shay ended the song, completely belting it out and holding a soaring note like it was effortless. They then introduced Best Rap Song, which went to Drake's "God's Plan." Drake shouted out the kids out there who are aspiring to make music, and reminded them that we "play in an opinion-based sport... It's up to a bunch of people who might not understand what a mixed-race person from Canada has to say." He applauded the hometown heroes and the people that bust their asses to follow their dreams while holding down 9-5s. "If you have people singing every word of your songs, you've already won." At that point, one of the biggest artists in the world was cut off and the show cut to a bumper. According to those in the room, they even turned his mic off.

Diana Ross' nine-year-old grandson introduced his "grand-mommy" with adorable professionalism. In celebration of her 75th birthday, the glorious Ross, who was absolutely beaming, started with "The Best Years of My Life," thanking everyone for giving her the best years of her life. The icon of "herstory" (as Keys put it), got all the hands in the air for "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)."

With three 2019 Grammys already under her belt, Gaga went full Gaga to perform a stadium-ready version of Oscar-nominated "Shallow" sans Cooper. Songwriter and collaborator Mark Ronson made sure to help out on guitar, though. 

In an endearing moment, Keys presented the Music Educator of the Year, Jeffery Redding. Then came Travis Scott with James Blake and Earth, Wind & Fire. Then the kids went nuts for "Sicko Mode," bum-rushing the stage for the most energetic moment of the hour.

Keys and Smokey Robinson harmonized on "Tracks of My Tears" ahead of an all-star Motown medley. J. Lo, Keys, Ne-Yo and Smokey on it. Berry Gordy on his feet.

K-Pop idols BTS, all 37 of them, presented R&B Album to H.E.R. Her team got a shout, including Peter Edge ("who believed in me since I was 13") and Fleck and Carl Cherry from Spotify.

Kelsea Ballerini brought out Brandi Carlile and "The Joke." Every soul in the room was like, uh DAMN. 

Chloe x Halle sang "Where Is the Love" and announce Rap Album, which was won by a triumphant Cardi B. "The nerves are so bad; maybe I need to start smoking weed." Candid anecdote about her pregnancy and needing to shoot her videos "before I was showing."

Dua Lipa and St. Vincent played doppelgangers for "Masseduction." Naturally, they were followed by Alessia Cara and Bob Newhart, who naturally rolled out the Best New Artist noms, with the trophy going to Dua Lipa. "I guess this year we really stepped up," she said, wonderfully. Second cutoff mic of the night.

Neil Portnow's final year as Recording Academy boss earned a sizzle reel ahead of his last annual speech. Then he departed, closing with Aretha, then into the tribute to the Queen. Yolanda Adams, Fantastia and Andra Day dug into "Natural Woman."

Were there any men on this show? Just checking.

Record of the Year: "This Is America." Producer Ludwig Goransson came up to accept. 

Album of the Year: Kacey Musgraves, Golden Hour. Nobody seemed more surprised than the winner in her red gown.  

And that's all, folks. Talk about Year of the Woman. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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