Grammy artists old and new deliver more than music

Lauren Streitmatter, Staff Writer

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The 75th Grammy Awards, hosted by LL Cool J for the fourth consecutive year, was full of many successful performances, surprising outcomes and, per usual, eccentric outfits. Performances commonly featured the unique pairings of older artists with modern artists. Political messages were sprinkled throughout the broadcast, as well.

Sam Smith won the very first award of the night and gained traction from there. Contrary to expectations, though, Pharrell’s “Happy,” released in 2013, beat Smith’s “Stay With Me” in Best Pop Solo Performance. Even Pharrell seemed surprised by the win.

Taylor Swift was nominated for three awards, all for her hit single “Shake it Off.” She did not take home a single award, but seemed pleased when her friend Sam Smith did.

Ed Sheeran, sans a Grammy despite three nominations, beautifully performed his hit “Thinking Out Loud.” Right after that, he joined Jeff Lynne from the 1970s band Electric Light Orchestra to sing ”Mr. Blue Sky.”

Continuing with the pairing of old and new artists, Hozier was joined by the legendary singer Annie Lennox while singing his famous track “Take Me to Church.”

After a brief segment featuring President Obama discussing domestic violence, Brooke Axtell, a victim of domestic violence, took to the stage to tell her dramatic story.

During country singer Eric Church’s performance, an image of someone holding a “Je suis Charlie” sign, referencing the terror attack earlier this year, was shown.

A slightly toned-down Lady Gaga sang “Cheek to Cheek” with classic crooner Tony Bennett. Usher followed with a moving tribute to Stevie Wonder.

Later on, Kanye West and Rihanna were joined on the stage by Beatles frontman Paul McCartney, culminating in one of the biggest performances of the night. They performed their new song “FourFiveSeconds.” Another powerful performance was Sam Smith’s duet with Mary J. Blige. The two sang his hit “Stay With Me.”

Album of the Year went to Beck, a rock artist, rather than the predicted winner Sam Smith, and Beck seemed stunned when his name was announced in place of Smith’s.

The last two awards of the night, Song of the Year and Record of the Year, both went to Smith for “Stay With Me.”

After the Record of the Year was awarded, Jennifer Hudson and others came on and spoke out about singers’ rights to receive appropriate compensation for their work.

The night concluded with two brilliant performances of songs from the movie “Selma” featuring Beyoncé, Common and John Legend.

This year, the Grammys aired without error, and there were no sore losers. Many incredible older singers came back and performed new songs flawlessly with today’s singers. The political messages were new this year, but powerful, nonetheless.

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