Image Courtesy The Recording AcademyThere were some actual Grammys handed out Sunday night in Los Angeles, but as usual, the Grammys telecast, which aired on CBS, was all about the musical performances — this year, there were a whopping 23. Here’s a rundown of who sang what:
Rock legends AC/DC, in their first-ever Grammy performance, opened the show with their latest track, “Rock or Bust,” and then segued into their classic “Highway to Hell.” Many audience members donned light-up devil’s horns for the song, and Lady Gaga was seen losing her mind, rocking out in the front row.
Ariana Grande sang her ballad “Just a Little Bit of Your Heart” on a blue-lit stage, with a string section and lots of fog.
Jessie J & Tom Jones duetted on the classic “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’,” to honor the songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, who wrote it.
A leather-clad Miranda Lambert turned in a rocking performance of her song “Little Red Wagon,” complete with smoke, fireworks, flashing lights and profanity. She left in the s-word, which is part of the song’s lyrics, but pulled the mic away; the sound also dropped out during that part.
Kanye West performed his emotional song “Only One,” which he wrote with Paul McCartney, while standing on a spotlight shining up from the floor.
Madonna sang her new song “Living for Love” in a performance inspired by the song’s video, which features her playing a sexy matador to dozens of half-men, half-bulls. A gospel choir also joined in. The Queen of Pop wore a revealing red-and-black leotard, did a lot of dancing, and ended the number by being hoisted up to the ceiling on a cable.
Ed Sheeran performed his hit “Thinking Out Loud” backed up by John Mayer, jazz legend Herbie Hancock and Questlove from The Roots. Ed then introduced ELO, led by Jeff Lynne, who performed their classic “Evil Woman.” Paul McCartney was seen standing up and clapping along, then seemed to get embarrassed when he realized the camera was on him and sat back down. As ELO segued into another classic, “Mr. Blue Sky,” Ed came out and joined Lynne in a duet, as Taylor Swift danced along in the audience.
Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani performed “My Heart Is Open,” their duet from Maroon 5‘s current album V.
Hozier performed his Grammy-nominated hit “Take Me to Church,” joined by Annie Lennox, and then the two sang the 1956 song “I Put a Spell on You,” which Annie recorded for her current album Nostalgia.
Pharrell, dressed for some reason like a bell boy, teamed with pianist Lang Lang and composer Hans Zimmer for a very unique spin on his song “Happy.” He started out simply reciting the words to the song, which were then echoed back to him in a variety of languages. Next, as he began singing the song, he was joined by a troupe of dancers, a group of people playing violins, a gospel choir standing in the aisles, Lang Lang on piano and Zimmer on guitar.
After an anti-domestic violence PSA starring President Obama aired, a survivor of domestic abuse named Brooke Axtell took the stage and delivered a spoken-word performance about her own experiences, noting, “Authentic love does not devalue another human being. Authentic love does not silence, shame or abuse.” That led into a performance by Katy Perry, who sang her wrenching ballad “By the Grace of God.” She was dressed in white from head to toe, and as she sang, shadow figures swayed and danced on a screen behind her.
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga duetted on the standard “Cheek to Cheek,” with Gaga nearly falling out of her dress.
Usher paid tribute to Stevie Wonder by singing his song “If It’s Magic,” and Stevie walked onstage at the end to play harmonica.
Eric Church sang “Give Me Back My Hometown.”
Brandy Clark and Dwight Yoakam teamed up for a duet on Brandy’s song “Hold My Hand.”
With no introduction, Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney began performing their new acoustic collaboration “FourFiveSeconds” — from Rihanna’s upcoming album — standing in front of a blank white screen. All three were wearing black suits. McCartney looked like he was singing and playing guitar, but it was impossible to hear him.
Sam Smith duetted with Mary J. Blige on “Stay with Me” on a stage lit by lanterns.
Latin rocker Juanes sang the song “Juntos (Together).”
Actor Shia LaBeouf, who stars in Sia‘s video for “Elastic Heart,” gave a bizarre introduction — what else? — for her performance of “Chandelier.” It took place on a set that looked like a series of completely trashed, interconnected rooms. Sia sang with her back to the camera as little Maddie Ziegler, who starred in the “Chandelier” and “Elastic Heart” videos, performed a modern dance number along with, strangely, Kristen Wiig. Both wore blonde bob wigs and jumpsuits, which they later removed to reveal flesh-colored leotards.
Beck and Coldplay‘s Chris Martin teamed up for a low-key duet of Beck’s song “Heart Is a Drum”
Beyonce, clad in a white outfit that made her look like an angel, belted out “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” mostly a cappella, backed by a male choir. Then, she introduced John Legend and Common, who performed their Oscar-nominated hit “Glory,” from the movie Selma. When that was over, Sam Smith and Mary J. Blige returned to the stage to close the show with a bit more of the night’s big winning song, “Stay with Me.”
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