Every single year it seems like the performances at the Grammys are just getting better and better, and this year was no different. With the music industry’s biggest night starting off with a steamy rendition of “Drunk In Love” by everyone’s favorite artistic couple Beyonce and Jay-Z, there were definitely some pretty high expectations for the rest of the performances. Here are some of the best, worst, and just OK performances of the 2014 Grammys from someone who was lucky enough to attend.
#1 Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons “M.A.A.D. City/Radioactive” medley
For three straight performances, there was a lack of liveliness due to the fact that they were acoustic and slower-paced tracks. I was semi/half falling asleep before Lamar and Imagine Dragons hit the stage and, to be honest, I was a little hesitant as to how this strange vocal pairing would unfold. I’ll suck up my pride and admit I was proven wrong by this absolutely hard-hitting (did you see them pounding those drums?) performance that literally made you feel like you were at a part of their act – minus the red paint staining your outfit.
#2 Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers and Stevie Wonder for the first live performance of “Get Lucky”
It was an absolute honor to be in the audience for a performance that will be remembered for years and years to come. “Get Lucky” turned into the ultimate funk/soul/dance mashup including “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” Rodgers’ former band Chic‘s hit “Le Freak” and Wonder’s “Another Star” all in a matter of minutes and the transitions were so clean that a musically uneducated individual would probably think they were all one song. It received a more-than-well-deserved standing ovation but it would’ve been cool if the infamous French robots gave us a glimpse of their faces. Oh well, we could dream right?
#3 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert and a guest performance by Madonna “Same Love”
Who knew that the guys who brought us the incredibly sarcastic “Thrift Shop” could be capable of such a beautiful masterpiece of an act? With a short glimpse of Madonna outside on the red carpet, I honestly thought she was going to do some super secret performance of “Like a Prayer” because of the white heavenly arches on stage, but she brought an extra sense of unity to the vocals and the theme being played out on stage. It literally brought a tear to my eye watching all 33 of those couples out there, but is Queen Latifah really an ordained pastor or was this all an act to pull on our heartstrings? Either way, I was impressed with the way this duo came out of nowhere to become worthy of all the Grammys they earned.
Performances That Barely Missed The Mark But Were Still Great:
–P!nk‘s reenactment of last year’s sky-high rendition of “Try” right before an acoustic duet with Fun.‘s frontman Nate Ruess for “Just Give Me a Reason”
–Katy Perry and Juicy J‘s entrancingly sexy performance of “Dark Horse” (minus an actual horse)
#1 Miranda Lambert and Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day‘s tribute to Phil Everly
Damn, this performance was just tough to sit through. It was the wrong vocal pairing (you just can’t get one of the biggest names in punk rock and pair him with half of country music’s power couple and expect it to blend well) mixed with mediocre guitaring. I guess there’s only so much you can do with a cover (especially when it’s a tribute to someone who passed away) but this performance just lacked any artistic elements to it altogether. It just felt like Billie Joe was trying too hard to blend in with Miranda’s country-ness and it’s not a good sound for him. Lambert and Armstrong are obviously better as separate acts.
#2 Kacey Musgraves‘ “Follow Your Arrow”
Seriously, the producers should’ve gone straight into a commercial break right after the Imagine Dragons/Kendrick Lamar performance because no one, I mean NO ONE should ever have to follow the sheer intensity of that piece. I was instantly put back into sleepy mode during her overly cutesy, Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade-esque performance. Maybe it would’ve been better if she was right after another country artist or one of the many other collaborations (that were a little less exciting than the one right before hers).
#3 Sara Bareilles and Carole King mashup of “Brave” and “Beautiful”
This wasn’t a terrible performance, but a lot of extra practice could’ve saved it from the bad list. Both are great songs on their own, but sadly didn’t flow as well together and you could tell with the differences in vocal tone/ pitch/etc. Overall, the timing felt a little off during the entire time they played and the splicing of the two songs felt forced instead of flowing perfectly together.
Performances That Could’ve Been A Tad Better:
–Taylor Swift‘s beautiful and refreshing performance of “All Too Well” absolutely did not need that overdramatic head-banging that threw off its elegant vibe.
– Lorde‘s performance of “Royals” had nerves written all over it (which is acceptable because who knew she was gonna be this huge star in a year) and the backing vocals straight up overpowered her voice at some points.
The night ended with a star-studded rock performance featuring Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac and Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters and it definitely got the crowd pumped up and excited to go to the after parties (or in my case dinner because you sit for four hours straight). The entire show was filled with unforgettable performances and there is a different kind of feel to seeing them live as opposed to watching them on TV or YouTube. The Grammys are a night that every music lover relish in and if you ever get the chance to go, you should take the opportunity.