The Grammys are all about “moments,” and one that maybe stood out for the wrong reasons was Sting performing his 1987 hit “Englishman in New York” onstage at Sunday’s Grammys.
The performance was fine, if missing the loping bounce provided by its original band, which included saxophonist Branford Marsalis and drummer Manu Katché on Sting’s second solo album “...Nothing Like the Sun,” which was, as mentioned, released 30 years ago.
Sting wore a striped shirt and blazer getup that looked very early Police, and then pop-reggae artist Shaggy showed up to lead a watery dancehall breakdown before the song settled back into it’s pleasant midtempo home. Oh, and Shaggy’s biggest song, “It Wasn’t Me,” was the big punchline on the Grammys’ earlier sketch, “Subway Carpool Karaoke,” which was previously filmed with James Corden. That song was released only 18 years ago.
That wasn’t just any kid joining Childish Gambino during his Grammy Awards performance of “Terrified” on Sunday night. It was 10-year-old JD McCrary, the kid who’s featured on the album version of the song.
JD was only 9 when he recorded "Terrified" for Gambino’s “Awaken, My Love!” album, which is up for album of the year. "Redbone," another cut from “Awaken,” already won for traditional R&B song, was nominated for R&B song and is up for record of the year.
He should hit it big in 2019 with the release of the new movie version of “The Lion King” — he’s voicing Young Simba.
Cardi B made a rousing Grammy debut with her guest verse on Bruno Mars’ “Finesse.”
The song was a pitch-perfect ode to ‘80s funk with a ’90s New Jack Swing vocal, and Bruno Mars — a longtime Grammy stalwart — played it as a charming ode to classic hip-hop (complete with Cross Colors paneling on the outfits).
He’s an Emmy-winning TV creator, writer and actor who has also picked up Golden Globes for his work on FX’s “Atlanta.” He’ll soon be seen in “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and heard as the voice of Simba in Disney’s reimagining of “The Lion King.”
But Donald Glover, smooth operator? Yep. As Childish Gambino, his stage name as a rapper with machine-gun flow, Glover downright smoldered in his Grammy performance of “Terrified” Sunday night.
The third single from 2016’s “Awaken, My Love!” reveals more soulful shades of Gambino’s music. And he even got an assist from pint-sized singer JD McCrary, 10, who reprised his cameo from the album version.
Hot on the heels of the red-carpet blackout at the 2018 Golden Globes, Grammy nominees, performers and attendees made an equally powerful show of solidarity with the Time’s Up movement by donning white roses on the red carpet.
In a parallel universe, the 60th Grammy Awards are currently celebrating the lifetime achievements of former best new artist nominees the Neon Philharmonic (1970), and the Starland Vocal Band (1977) has reunited for a surprise performance with Eumir Deodato (1974). Meanwhile, Timbuk 3 (1987) is teaming with this year’s best new artist nominees Lil Uzi Vert and SZA for a medley.
That’s another way of saying that pop music is a fickle animal. For every Mariah Carey (1991), there are a dozen Corey Hart-style (1985) asterisks.
Even rarer is the best new artist winner who goes on to earn a lifetime achievement award. Only two have accomplished it: Bobby Darin, who won the first-ever new artist award in 1959 and got a lifetime award in 2010; and 1965 new artists the Beatles, which earned their late-period honor in 2014.
Of the 84 categories that make up the Grammy Awards, only a few focus on nonmusical art forms. In the past, these categories have been relatively low-profile, but on tonight’s telecast, comedy album received a rare moment in the spotlight..
This year’s nominees represent some of the biggest names in the genre — and all five are nominated for recordings based on Netflix productions: Sarah Silverman, Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle, Jim Gaffigan and Kevin Hart. Chappelle took home the prize. “I am honored to win an award, finally,” he said.
Below: Jokes from the five nominated comedy albums.