Beyoncé’s nine-minute performance at Sunday’s 2017 Grammy Awards was among the most ambitious and logistically complex live segment the Grammys, or any other awards show, has attempted.
The expansive medley of “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles” employed two-dozen dancers, a live band offstage and thousands of flowers spread across the full breadth of the Staples Center stage. It also incorporated the interplay of Beyoncé in the flesh with film footage of her pregnant form projected onto a scrim during the number.
The latter element took a good chunk of the 90-minute rehearsal time she was allotted Thursday. She appeared on the first of four days of sessions fine-tuning nearly two dozen live performances for this year’s edition of the CBS telecast.
During her tribute to the late singer George Michael, pop superstar Adele stopped her performance and started again.
The singer, who was in the middle of performing Michael's 1996 song "Fastlove," paused and, with a look of sorrow on her face, cussed and said, "I'm sorry for swearing and I'm sorry for starting again. Can we please start again?"
She then apologized to Grammy executive producer Ken Ehrlich.
Beyoncé leads the pack of 2017 Grammy nominations, with a total of nine nominations. (Dec. 6, 2016)
The 2017 Grammy Awards will soon be handed out, but first, refresh your memory about the nominees in each category.
Beyoncé leads the pack, with a total of nine nominations including album of the year. Drake, Rihanna and Kanye West all earned eight nominations apiece, and Chance the Rapper picked up seven. The artists competing in the album of the year category are Adele, Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Drake and Sturgill Simpson.
James Corden gently mocked Grammy-winner Sturgill Simpson in the opening segment of the Grammys for being the name that would send the most viewers to search engines to find out who exactly he is. With a performance backed by the Dap-Kings horns, Simpson provided an answer.
Leaning into "All Around You" from his Grammy-nominated "A Sailor's Guide to Earth," Simpson's weathered voice soared atop the brassy backdrop provided by the longtime collaborators with the late Sharon Jones (who presenter Dwight Yoakam paid tribute to in his introduction).
While it may have been entirely on-brand for the Grammys to have asked Simpson to perform something from Jones' catalog, the rising country star's performance pointed toward what those who could already identify Simpson already knew -- that he has a perfectly easy touch with brassy R&B in his own right.
Maren Morris had one of the most inventive recent country debut LPs with “Hero,” so it’s perhaps no surprise she’d try to get outside the genre box with her Grammy performance after a breakthrough year.
Still, it’s a bold move to try and go blow-for-blow with Alicia Keys in a duet. But Morris more than held her own on her performance of “Once,” turning that simmering ballad into a showcase for her vocal prowess.
She pulled down a Grammy earlier in the night for country solo performance on “My Church,” but it’s clear she’s thinking beyond the usual orthodoxy of her peers. Keys is a powerhouse vocalist, but this was a rare Grammy genre-mash that actually complemented the skills of each singer.
Beyonce killed Chrissy Teigen on Sunday night. Killed her dead, right there in the Grammys audience, with a hypnotic performance. Take it from Teigen herself -- she was only one of the celebrities doing the dramatic-fan thing on social media.
Pity poor Bruno Mars, tasked with following up what was perhaps the finest Grammy performance in a generation. But if anyone had a prayer of playing live after Beyoncé without instantly vaporizing into total cosmic insignificance, it’s probably Bruno Mars.
There’s nothing one can really do to follow up on a nine-minute medley of mind-erasing pregnancy holograms and chair-tilt stunts, so Mars instead did what he does best: corral his bros, throw on some gold chains, and play his new pitch-perfect '80s funk pastiche with aplomb. “That’s What I Like” is a great, slow rolling slice of his recent affection for Zapp and Gap Band (so much so that the latter sued him).
When he played it for the still-stunned-by-Bey Grammy crowd, he pulled the not-insignificant feat of reminding viewers why he’s still one of the most endearing, charismatic performers in pop.