Beyoncé watches herself, a pre-show call to action and other Grammy moments you didn’t see on TV

Beyoncé performs during Sunday's Grammy Awards.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The 59th Grammy Awards had no shortage of major moments: Beyoncé’s breathtaking performance and surprising loss in all major categories, Adele’s flub, a Prince tribute from the Time and Bruno Mars that electrified the audience and then, of course, a victory lap from Chance the Rapper, winner for new artist.

But there was lots of action the cameras didn’t catch.

Here’s a few that caught our attention.

Beyoncé getting a glimpse of her old self. During commercial breaks the audience was treated to past Grammy performances and at one point Prince and Beyoncé’s dazzling opening duet at the 2004 telecast was shown. As Beyoncé watched from her seat — after her ethereal showing — she fanned herself and danced a bit.


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Adele gets a little help from the audience. A year after her flawed performance on last year’s telecast sent the British virtuoso into tears, her two showings Sunday were each marked by trouble. Although the crowd didn’t seem to notice the singer’s struggle to hit a few notes during her opening performance of “Hello,” there was widespread shock when she stopped a minute into George Michael’s “Fastlove” and asked to start over.

“Wow .... I can’t do it like that,” she said to gasps and whispers. The crowd quickly cheered her on as she powered through a second take, and she tearfully buried her face in her hands and shook her head before leaving the stage.

Ken Ehrlich’s call to action. During pre-show remarks Sunday night, longtime Grammys producer Ehrlich implored the night’s winners to be more outspoken during speeches. “If you have record labels and such to thank, please thank them later backstage with the press and say something important. We’re expecting it,” he said. Though he didn’t explicitly call for any particular political statements to be made, it was clear he wanted artists to use their time on stage to do more than toast their teams.

The celebratory pre-show. In the hours before the main telecast, more than 70 trophies were handed out in a ceremony at the Microsoft Theater. Anyone with a ticket to the main telecast can go, but the far more laid-back affair attracts a smaller crowd and only a handful of performances break up the monotony of nonstop awards. Still, those who opted instead to hang on the red carpet missed out.

Judy Collins paid tribute to the late Leonard Cohen with a searing take of “Suzanne” that yielded a lengthy standing ovation. Rory Feek honored his late wife, Joey, telling the audience while accepting the award for roots gospel album that she told him: “Remember: If we win, I’ll know before you do.” And there was the sheer joy of seeing Chance the Rapper nab his first-ever Grammy and sprint to the stage with the words “Thank You” written across his hoodie.


A crowd unfamiliar with the music. Seeing what captures the audience and what doesn’t go over as well inside Staples Center always makes for an intriguing watch. But not as fascinating as seeing what an arena-sized crowd jams out to on music’s biggest night.

The crowd seemed unfamiliar with Katy Perry’s new upbeat, politically charged single “Chained to the Rhythm” and didn’t connect with its message until the Constitution was projected onto the stage (there were also references to Planned Parenthood and President Trump’s border wall). Yet A Tribe Called Quest’s more overt message of resistance was met with immediate rapture.

Since Metallica and Lady Gaga’s performance was marred by a technical glitch, no one knew what was going on as frontman James Hetfield’s microphone was silenced. After the mishap he kicked over a mike stand and forcefully tossed his guitar offstage, with a tech barely able to catch it.

Chance the Rapper’s medley was a glorious display, but it took a full gospel choir to get the crowd excited. Meanwhile, after Beyoncé’s inspiring performance of the emotional ballads from “Lemonade” she’d yet to perform on tour, a female audience member leaned over to mention how she’d yet to see the singer’s provocative visual album and asked if that’s where the music was from.

And despite its being a night of music, there was only one sing-along, which came courtesy of host James Corden’s fun sendup of his “Carpool Karaoke” segment when he performed Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” surrounded by celebs.

Blue Ivy was the belle of the Grammy ball. Beyoncé and Jay Z’s daughter, Blue, was a scene-stealer for most of the night.

The 5-year-old cheered on her mom and got close enough to the stage that her dad had to pull her back. She also danced near the aisle as Mars performed and made a cameo in Corden’s star-studded karaoke bit.

She also hung out with Rihanna, who could be seen throughout the night sipping from a diamond-encrusted flask (Rihanna also failed to pay attention to her own category, applying makeup as the nominees were read). Blue Ivy did it all in deadly adorable pink Gucci tuxedo and ruffle blouse that would have made Prince proud.

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