After the broadcast of the 64th annual Grammy Awards returned to normal on Sunday (April 3) after two years of the global pandemic, the performances took it up a notch to celebrate (personal) togetherness.
From Olivia Rodrigo’s suburban ode to the song that made her a superstar to BTS’ James Bond-inspired “Butter” performance, the Grammys, held at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena this year, disappointed not. And while it was almost impossible to compare them, here we rank the night’s 16 performances, from worst to best.
16. Justin Bieber, Giveon & Daniel Caesar, “Peaches”
While “Peaches” was one of the biggest songs of 2021 thanks to its undeniably catchy chorus, Bieber’s decision to open the song as a piano ballad and include lyrics like “I take my chick up to the North, yeah, bada– b— -“, when a stripped down moment felt more goofy than emotional.
15. Carrie Underwood, “Ghost Story”
While Underwood’s premiere of “Ghost Story” had all the ambience needed to be epic — from the stunning purple dress and wind machine to the heartbreaking lyrics — the emotion felt a little absent.
14. Silk Sonic, “777”
Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak kicked off the Grammys on a fitting note with their happy Ode to Las Vegas, “777.” And while the Elvis Presley-esque costumes and full horn band provided energy, it was disappointing not to see the duo perform “Leave the Door Open” before winning song of the year.
13. Lady Gaga, “Love for Sale”, “Do I Love You”
Gaga’s old Hollywood tribute to her musical collaborator Tony Bennett skyrocketed due to her undeniably impeccable singing skills, but Bennett’s presence was sorely missed.
12. Osborne Brothers, “Dead Man’s Curve”
While Brothers Osborne’s impassioned rendition of “Dead Man’s Curve” was a fun way to end the Grammys, host Trevor Noah, who then took to the stage to close the show, took the duo’s big Grammys moment. Thankfully, Brothers Osborne went home with the Grammy for Best Country/Duo Group Performance.
11. Ben Platt, Leslie Odom Jr., Cynthia Erivo & Rachel Zegler, In Memoriam Tribute
The best of Broadway came together to mourn those we’ve lost over the past year while paying tribute to the late Stephen Sondheim, who died last November at the age of 91. The powerful quartet came together to sing “Somewhere”. Westside Story to wrap up the performance and showcase their individual talents in a poignant way.
10. Nas, “I Can”, “One Mic”, “Rare” and “Made You Look”
Nas’ medley of career-spanning hits began with a teenager portraying a younger version of himself, adding a heartwarming tone to an already inspiring performance.
9. J. Balvin, “Qué Más Pues?” and “In Da Ghetto”
Talk about world-class stage production. J Balvin’s impeccably intimate “Qué Más Pues?” duet with Maria Becerra quickly transformed into a futuristic Sin City nightclub when Balvin linked up with rows of synchronized dancers for a visually stunning performance of “In Da Ghetto.”
8. Chris Stapleton, “Cold”
Stapleton’s heart-rending vocals, backed by an orchestra for “Cold,” complete with a guitar solo, were more than enough to give us goosebumps.
7. Jon Batiste, “Freedom”
Batiste’s mind-blowing piano musings and vocal runs mixed with a groovy, colorful stage full of dancers who dance like stylish Dr. Seuss characters dressed felt like a futuristic dream sequence and trippy dance party in the best possible way.
6. Olivia Rodrigo, “Driver’s License”
Rodrigo made a good choice to keep her rendition of “Drivers License” straight, beginning of course in the driver’s seat of a car before strapping the song on as she strolled around a stage converted into a suburban street. The simplicity of the performance allowed the song’s relatable emotions to shine through, reminding viewers that the Best New Artist winner deserved all the recognition she received.
5. Brandi Carlile, “On Time”
We needed nothing more than Brandi Carlile in a suit adorned with mirror balls performing “Right On Time” on a grand piano to be amazed by her ferociously powerful vocals. She grabbed her guitar and joined her band to complete an overall solid performance.
4. Billie Eilish, “happier than ever”
Wearing a t-shirt honoring the late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, Eilish delivered some of her best vocals yet as she performed her second album’s title track alongside her brother Finneas, both of whom laughed and looked like they were having a great time Time.
3. Lil Nas X & Jack Harlow, “Dead Right Now”, “Montero” & “Industry Baby”
Leave it to Lil Nas X to bring the choreography, creativity and sexiness to the Grammy stage. The medley from him Montero Hits felt like a futuristic journey through the star’s success, from hitting the headlines with his mischievous music videos to being a full-blown “industry baby” with “a few racks, a few Grammys on him.”
2. John Legend, “Free”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy opened the rousing performance by urging all viewers to do their utmost to support Ukraine. “The war – what is the opposite of music? The silence of destroyed cities and killed people,” he said in his impassioned speech. “We defend our freedom. Life. Love. Sound. On our land we are fighting against Russia, which brings terrible silence with its bombs – the dead silence. Fill the silence with your music.”
Legend, who performed “Free” on piano, was accompanied by a number of Ukrainian performers, including Siuzanna Iglidan, Mika Newton and poet Lyuba Yakimchuk, who fled Ukraine “a few days ago”. While drawing attention to the senseless suffering in Ukraine, the performance showed how unifying music can be.
1. BTS, “Butter”
Smooth as butter, in fact. The Grammy-nominated septet took their “criminal undercover” lyrics to a whole new level with theirs 007-inspired performance of their Billboard Hot 100 topping track. Jin, Jimin, V, RM, J-Hope, Suga and Jungkook dodged neon blue lasers during an elegant choreography sequence, transforming the entire Grammys stage into a secret agent headquarters, proving their creativity is as impressive as their musical talent.
Also that flirty moment with between V and Olivia Rodrigo? Let’s hope he whispered a suggestion for a future duet in her ear.
https://www.billboard.com/music/awards/2022-grammy-performances-ranked-1235054222/ Who had the best song? – Billboard