×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Best and Worst Performances of Grammys 2018

If you were looking for a breakout performance at the 60th annual Grammy Awards along the lines of Ricky Martin, or even a Soy Bomb moment, you were out of luck. This was a professional, if highly politicized, affair, that began with tackling racism and police brutality and ended up touching on hot-button topics like immigration and sexual harassment. Kendrick Lamar kicked off the night with his incendiary opening performance, but politics reared its head when he split the hip-hop constituency and allowed good old-fashioned R&B in the form of high-stepping Bruno Mars to steal the show.

Here are the top performances of Sunday night’s show:

1. Kendrick Lamar: Riffing non-stop through “XXX,” “DNA,” “The Heart Part 4,” and god knows what else – then sampling U2 live in exactly the right dose – K-Dot seized the moment and seemed ready to dominate the rest of the night until simple numbers got in the way. We’re not sure what Dave Chappelle was doing out there, though. “Rumble, my man.”

2. Bruno Mars f/Cardi B, “Finesse”: Perhaps the closest thing to a “who’s dat girl?” moment was when Cardi B sauntered onto the primary color set and stole the show. And Bruno Mars proved all he wants to do is dance, and for you to, too.

3. Pink, “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken”: No, she didn’t hang from the ceiling. Plainly dressed in a low slung T-shirt and jeans, she used only her voice to raise the stakes. “There’s not enough rope to tie me down,” she sang, and then proceeded to soar anyway.

4. U2, “Get Out of Your Own Way”: Yeah, I know it wasn’t live, but the symbolism of Bono and the Edge silhouetted against the Statue of Liberty was one of the most effective shots of the night. And it was the only rock performance of the ceremony.

5. Kesha, “Praying”: Despite the ragged vocals and too-cluttered staging, she sang her heart out in this unapologetic rebuke to Dr. Lukes everywhere. Extra points to Janelle Monae’s furious introduction, a plea to “undo the culture that does not serve us well.”

6. Patti LuPone, “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”: The attenuated Broadway tribute still produced a pair of standing ovations for this memorable rendition of her 1981 Grammy winner, and “Dear Evan Hansen” star Ben Platt’s soaring “Somewhere.”

7. SZA, “Broken Clocks”: She and Cardi B vie for the title of most impactful newcomer, and this low-key but high-impact performance will make Grammy rue the day she lost best new artist.

8. Logic w/Alessia Cara and Khalid, “1-800-273-8255”: He’s done this at previous award shows, but the song never fails to move, combining three of the most promising young talents out there.

9. Childish Gambino, “Terrified”: Donald Glover is a true renaissance man, but his moment was stolen by his “The Lion King” co-star JD McCrary’s slicing soprano.

10. Rihanna and DJ Khaled w/Bryson Tiller, “Wild Thoughts”: I’m still trying to figure out what exactly master hypeman and cheerleader (“raise your hands in the air”) DJ Khaled was doing, but this erotic pas de deux between Rihanna and Bryson Tiller lit up my screen.

Best Bits of the Night: Hillary Clinton reading a selection from Fire & Fury; James Corden’s Subway Carpool Karaoke with Sting and Shaggy

Best One-Liner: Jim Gaffigan, “I never heard of me, either.”

Worst Performances of the Night

1. Gary Clark, Jr. and Jon Batiste: This Fats Domino/Chuck Berry tribute fell disastrously flat. Weren’t Keith Richards or Dr. John available?

2. Sting/Shaggy, “Englishman in New York” and “Don’t Make Me Wait”: Another in the Recording Academy’s ongoing attempt to show the Police’s reggae roots. We get it.

3. Sam Smith, “Pray”: Not that he didn’t sound great, but it was an especially unmemorable moment.

4. Eric Church, Maren Morris and Brothers Osborne, “Tears in Heaven”: A little too on the money, too maudlin-by-half tribute to those killed at the country music festival in Las Vegas.

5. Elton John and Miley Cyrus, “Tiny Dancer”: I loved Miley in maroon floor-length gown gushing as a latter-day Kiki Dee, but Elton’s range makes this a sad display of what was.

More Music

  • Billie Eilish

    Billie Eilish Fans to Receive Perks Due to Chicago Venue Change

    Billie Eilish and her music agents at Paradigm are experiencing what most would call a first class problem. The demand to see the 17-year-old singer live has prompted a change of venue for her June 9 show in Chicago — from the 5,000-capacity Aragon Ballroom to the 20,000-plus-seat United Center arena. The last-minute venue change [...]

  • Moby Natalie Portman

    Moby Accuses Natalie Portman of Lying as the Two Spar Over Dating Claims

    In what’s become a he said/she said spat in multiple mediums, Moby, the elder statesman of electronic music, is now accusing actress Natalie Portman of lying and pleading to those on social media for his safety as “physical threats from complete strangers” emerge. To recap: this month, Moby released a new book, “Then It All [...]

  • Ellen DeGeneres Buys Adam Levine’s Beverly

    Adam Levine Cashes in on Sale of Max Mutchnick’s Former Mansion to Ellen DeGeneres

    Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo have sold a baronial Beverly Hills mansion with an illustrious chain of ownership for a reported $45 million to Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi. The mainstream radio rock star, who, it was announced Friday, will not to return as a coach on “The Voice,” and the Namibian-born Victoria’s Secret [...]

  • Kanye West Shares a Memory of

    Kanye West Shares a Touching Memory of His Mother in Letterman Interview

    In a preview of David Letterman’s interview with Kanye West, which begins streaming next Friday, May 31, the musician’s wife Kim Kardashian West, tweeted a clip of him sharing a touching memory of his mother, Donda, who died in 2007 after a surgical procedure. While his wife looks on smiling, West answers Letterman’s question about [...]

  • Dan the Automator

    Heeding the Call of Olivia Wilde, Dan the Automator Scores 'Booksmart'

    Dan The Automator, aka Daniel Nakamura, knows a thing or two about setting a mood. The Bay Area-based producer has worked on projects such as Gorillaz’s debut album, Handsome Boy Modeling School (with Prince Paul) and multiple projects with rapper Kool Keith. Now, Nakamura has set his sights on film scoring, and will make his [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content