Adele ended her night at the 2017 Grammy Awards with back-to-back wins for album of the year and record of the year, but used her final moments on stage to salute Beyoncé and her "monumental" album "Lemonade." Beyoncé, meanwhile, wowed the audience with a spiritual performance and also took home the prize for urban contemporary album. Chance the Rapper was also among the top winners of the night, taking the prize for new artist as well as rap album.

Grading James Corden as the Grammy host

James Corden at Grammy Awards. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
James Corden at Grammy Awards. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The Grammy Awards, whose 59th edition took place at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday night, is essentially a series of performances interrupted by speeches. Depending on the state of the world, these may be topical or not. See below.

This year, with “Late Late Show” host James Corden replacing fellow CBS stablemate LL Cool J as host — CBS broadcast the show — some comedy was added to the mix. It’s not a bad idea in a 3½-hour show to work a little humor in every 45 minutes or so.

And Corden, who has a pitched-to-the-back-of-the-hall energy that sits well in a basketball arena, was a natural choice. His notoriety is built on the viral success of his “Carpool Karaoke” franchise, which reminds you that inside every pop star is a nerdy kid holding a hairbrush for a microphone, and the host is himself a singer confident enough to throw an unrehearsed harmony line onto a duet with Lady Gaga or Adele.

It was Adele, in fact, who opened the show, amid a circle of lights in an otherwise dark space, singing “Hello,” which later would win song of the year. There was a kind of mix-tape logic in the choice, given the title, and as a quiet display of pure musicality it was a nice way to begin.

Corden came on after, with a set-malfunction joke, as the elevator carrying him to the top of a stairway stopped halfway; he clambered up, and then, in an excellent and surprising bit of slapstick, disappeared between steps; then having clambered up again, rolled the rest of the way down. Though he did not sing, he rapped his opening monologue, working in names known and less known. (“Sturgill Simpson is here, and Google just crashed / Everyone typin’ ‘Who the hell is that?’”).

Corden’s contributions for the rest of the night emphasized self-deprecation. Introducing Gina Rodriguez, he said, “She plays ‘Jane the Virgin’ on TV; I played James the virgin until my 31st birthday.”


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