In his second go-round as Grammys emcee, “Late Late Show” host James Corden hasn’t been asked to call on his comic chops often, and the results have been uneven when he has (“Subway Car Karaoke,” anyone?). But he hit a bull’s eye at one target with a taped segment inspired by the Grammys’ audiobook category on Sunday.
With the conceit of Corden trying to book a famous voice to read Michael Wolff’s bestselling tell-all about the Trump administration “Fire and Fury,” Corden called upon a host of Grammy luminaries to try their level best. John Legend dryly read an excerpt about Trump appearing bored in meetings (“I think it’s too smooth,” Corden said, ushering him away, while Cher focused on a few lines about presidential hair care regimen.)
Snoop Dogg read about stars snubbing the inauguration (“I definitely wasn’t there,” he interjected before Corden ushered him away). And Cardi B seemed mystified by the stories the book held. “Why am I even reading this . . .. I can’t believe this,” she said. “This is how he lives his life?”
Filmed in three days in Los Angeles last summer, the Grammy-nominated music video for rapper Logic's new single, "1-800-273-8255," like the song itself, had a mission: To tell a story that could reach people in need and let them know they weren't alone.
Oscar-nominated actor Don Cheadle came on board, as did Luis Guzmán, Matthew Modine and filmmaker Andy Hines, to help tell a poignant story of an African American teenager struggling to come to terms with his homosexuality. New artist Grammy nominees Alessia Cara and Khalid also appear in the video. The hit's title is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The day it was released in April, the hotline received 4,573 calls, its second-highest at the time. The line logged a new record in August the day after Logic, Cara and Khalid performed the song on the MTV Video Music Awards.
The video, written and directed by Hines, is anchored by a moving turn by young actor Coy Stewart ("Are We There Yet?"). Filmed at James Marshall High in Los Feliz, it debuted in August and quickly went viral. It has since been viewed more than 194 million times alone on Logic's YouTube channel.
A match made in Grammy heaven? Not so much: Both Cyrus and John were on their absolute best behavior. Or, put less charitably, their performance of John’s “Tiny Dancer” was straight down the middle of the road and never captured what makes them both so magnetic.
He ceded most of his 1971 classic to Cyrus, who took lead on the verses as John tickled the ivories. In a bit of comic relief, Cyrus, who recently debated Stephen Colbert over who’s the bigger Elton John fan, looked like she was on the verge of crawling atop his piano.
Kesha wore country-tinged suffragette white when she took the stage at the 60th Grammy Awards. So did all of the women around her – Camila Cabello, Cyndi Lauper, Julia Michaels, Andra Day and members of the Resistance Revival Chorus, a collective of women who come together to sing protest songs – who all joined her onstage for what was nothing less than a show of force.
The performance served as a vulnerable, triumphant indictment of her years being disbelieved, left in the wilderness and unable to do the thing she was born to: sing on a stage like this.
If there was a dry eye in Madison Square Garden when she hit the quivering high notes of “Praying,” I defy you to find them in there. After Janelle Monae’s assertive, insistent Time’s Up speech, Kesha finally got the forum she was due.
It’s turning into a Bruno Mars kind of evening — unless Kendrick Lamar has anything to say about it. In the song of the year category, the Mars single “That’s What I Like” took down the mighty “Despacito,” which ruled the charts across 2017, and furthered Jay-Z’s losing streak.
Jay-Z was nominated for “The Story of O.J.,” one of his night-leading eight nominations, but he once again came up short. Also on the losing end were Julia Michaels’ “Issues” and “1-800-273-8255,” by Logic with Alessia Cara and Khalid.
“That’s What I Like” was written by Christopher Brody Brown, James Fauntleroy, Philip Lawrence, Mars, Ray Charles McCullough II, Jeremy Reeves, Ray Romulus and Jonathan Yip.
In performing “Tiny Dancer,” Elton John and Miley Cyrus opted for a song that, while now a certified classic, never earned John or his co-writer Bernie Taupin Grammy recognition.
Released as part of John’s 1971 album, “Madman Across the Water,” the song was issued as a single in early 1972, but neither the album nor the song passed muster during their eligibility periods in the eyes of the Recording Academy.
Eligible for the 14th Grammys, “Madman …” had some tough competition. Carole King’s “Tapestry” won album of the year, her “You’ve Got a Friend” won song of the year and “It’s Too Late” snagged record of the year. A year later when “Tiny Dancer” was eligible – but snubbed – Roberta Flack’s soul ballad “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” won both song and record of the year.
"That's What I Like" songwritersChristopher Brody Brown, James Fauntleroy, Philip Lawrence, Bruno Mars, Ray Charles McCullough II, Jeremy Reeves, Ray Romulus and Jonathan Yip won the 2018 Grammy Award for song of the year.
The other nominees were:
"Despacito" — Ramón Ayala Rodriguez, Justin Bieber, Jason "Poo Bear" Boyd, Erika Ender, Luis Fonsi & Marty James Garton, songwriters (Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber)
In one of the most emotional performances of the night, country artists Maren Morris, the Brothers Osborne and Eric Church sang “Tears in Heaven” in honor of the victims of the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas.
Each of the performers onstage was on the roster of the festival, which was interrupted by gunfire on Oct. 1. Fifty-seven people and the gunman died in the shooting.
The four singers performed the Eric Clapton weeper “Tears in Heaven,” written by the artist after the death of his son. Before doing so, they acknowledged the tragedy -- but sound issues garbled some of the comments.