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Little Big Town gave Parton an arena-country buildup in the story-song “Red Shoes,” from the 2018 “Dumplin’” soundtrack, before the female-solidarity finale, “9 to 5,” in which Parton made sure to praise her recent songwriting collaborator and producer, Linda Perry, who was leading the band. JON PARELESFor a show that has traditionally shunted aside Latin music (leaving it to the Latin Grammys, a separate event altogether) — and has yet to really acknowledge the rising urbano wave — Camila Cabello’s opening number covered a lot of ground. 1 pop hit, but Cabello’s Cuba-via-Miami roots shone through, and she also managed to ground a performance that featured both Young Thug Ricky Martin.(Guess which one was wearing diamond-encrusted boots.) J Balvin, the pop-reggaeton star from Colombia, popped up for an interlude of his hit “Mi Gente” — and held up a newspaper that read “Build bridges not walls” — while the Cuban-American jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval made himself heard throughout.Her set of plush banquets evoked vintage glitz, but 20 dancers doing floor work, four more waving large fans and a flamboyant pianist — Chloe Flower — couldn’t steal attention from the main attraction.When she returned to the stage to accept the award for best rap album, she had switched modes: from swagger to heart.Here are the highlights and lowlights as we saw them: Of all the major-category nominees at this year’s Grammys, none were more surprising than Brandi Carlile, the 37-year-old folk-rock — or rockin’ folk — singer and songwriter who earned six nods, including album of the year.But when she appeared on the Grammys stage, things became clear.Lady Gaga is one of our most gloriously talented pop stars, and one of the most nerve-racking, because you never know when her tango with good taste will dip into disaster.
COSCARELLI[Childish Gambino’s “This Is America,” the first-ever hip-hop song to be honored with a Grammy for song and record of the year, is fittingly self-conscious: rapped in clipped, referential phrases, with melodic sections and a smattering of uncredited ad-libs by some of the genre’s true recent innovators (Young Thug, 21 Savage, Quavo, Bloc Boy JB).
“I can’t breathe,” she said, struggling for a brief moment to organize her thoughts. GANZDuring the 19-second fingerpicked introduction to the power ballad “Shallow,” Lady Gaga executed two full body hair flips, one side kick and seven exaggerated stabbing motions with her left arm, each punctuating plucks of Mark Ronson’s acoustic guitar.
As she sang the verses to the song, the standout from “A Star Is Born,” she acted out seemingly the entire arc of rock stardom: drinking, doing cocaine and torturing a microphone stand.
(His previous awards were not televised, and he’s even clowned the show for giving “Hotline Bling” the best rap song trophy in 2017 “maybe because I’ve rapped in the past or because I’m black,” he said.) This time, he pulled a Fiona Apple and told the world it didn’t matter: “We play in an opinion-based sport, not a factual-based sport,” he said, seemingly legitimately nervous.
“This is a business where sometimes it’s up to a bunch of people that might not understand, you know, what a mixed-race kid from Canada has to say, or a fly Spanish girl from New York, or anybody else, or a brother from Houston.”It was part motivational speech, part rebuke of gatekeepers, and all Drake, the most famous guidance counselor in the universe.
On a night curiously light on impressive singing, it was an uncomplicated, genuine, cleansing thrill.