Awarding the True Winners of the Grammys: The Performances

Beyonce, Jay-Z, GrammysCBS

Despite being designed to award artists for the greatest achievements in music, the Grammy Awards have become more about the performances than the actual prizes in recent years, and 2014 was no exception. Although they only gave out 10 trophies on air, the show ran an hour and a half over, filled with performers from every genre of music, featuring legends and newcomers alike. From Beyonce to Macklemore to Pink, everyone tried to have the biggest, the best, or the most spectacular performance of the night, and so we thought it only fair to reward their efforts with some awards of our own.

Best Indicator of What the 2015 Grammys Will Look Like – Beyonce and Jay Z
Don’t pretend that you haven’t already learned this routine. Her surprise, self-titled album came out too late to be eligible for this year’s awards, but Beyonce still had the honors of kicking the night off, and she did so with a performance of “Drunk In Love” with a performance the blended Flashdance with the “Cell Block Tango,” and served as an excellent preview of what to expect from next year’s show, when she will likely be nominated in every category she’s eligible for (and probably a few she’s not). If this is what the future holds for the Grammys, we’re completely on board. 

Most Likely to Be Your Dad’s Favorite Performance – Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr
Last night’s awards spent a lot of time celebrating the legacy of The Beatles and their influence on music, including two separate performances by the group’s two living alumni, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. First Starr busted out his best “dad at a wedding” dance moves for a rendition of his latest single, “Photograph,” and then, after a long-winded intro from Julia Roberts, he joined McCartney and his technicolor piano for “Queenie Eye.” We’re all for honoring musical legends, but it seemed pretty clear that these two performances were aimed squarely at the middle-aged father demographic. On the bright side, though, we’re glad to have found out that we have a lot of the same dance moves as Yoko Ono. 

The “Pay Attention, Gentlemen” Award – John Legend
John Legend busted out all of his smoothest moves to perform his latest single “All of Me,” including several meaning ful camera pans to where his wife, Chrissy Teigen was sitting in the audience. Teigen was conveniently the only person sat under a spotlight, which allowed him to ensure that the entire world knew exactly who inspired his heartfelt ballad. That sound you heard in the middle of the song last night? That was women all around the world, smacking their boyfriends and husbands in the arm, and demanding to know why they can’t be as romantic as Legend. 

Most Likely to Make You Dance Around Your Bedroom – Daft Punk, Nile Rogers, Pharrell Williams, and Stevie Wonder
It’s a testament to “Get Lucky” that even when Pharrell swapped out his absurd, giant Mountie hat for one that was somehow bigger and weirder, everyone was too busy getting down to notice. And we do mean everyone: from Beyonce and Jay Z to Steven Tyler to Yoko Ono to Bruno Mars, everyone stopped what they were doing the second that bass line kicked in and danced, and for five minutes, the Grammys stopped being a long slog of commercials and piano ballads and felt like a proper celebration. 

Best Tribute to a Previous Performance – Pink
In 2010, Pink gave one of the most memorable Grammy performances of all time, when she sang “Glitter in the Air” while in midair, performing tricks on aerial silks. This year, she decided to pay tribute to to that performance by busting out the aerial tricks on more time to sing “Try.” Unfortunately, all of the incredible flips and spins only served as a reminder of how much the previous instance blew everyone away, and left most people feeling as if they were experiencing deja vu. However, she did help guilt everyone watching into renewing their gym membership, so she still comes out on top. 

Bonus: Best Supporting Moustache – Nate Ruess.  We don’t know what possessed the lead singer of fun. to grow that facial hair, but it only served to distract everyone from the powerhouse vocal competition that was happening between him and Pink when they duetted on “Just Give Me a Reason.” 

Imagine Dragons, Kendrick Lamar, GrammysCBS

Performance of the Night That Nobody Saw Coming – Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons
When it was first announced that Kendrick Lamar would be performing with Imagine Dragons, everyone was skeptical of what would result. Sure, the Grammys are all about surprising collaborations, but it seemed impossible for these two artists to mesh well. Turns out that we were all wrong: once they hit the stage, the audience both at home and in the arena woke up, and their mash up of “Radioactive” and “MAAD City” was the most exciting, addicting, memorable performance of the night. For five minutes, it seemed like the Grammys finally lived up to their promise and delivered something worthy of “the biggest night in music.” 

Most Unfortunate Performance Slot – Kacey Musgraves
Being the next big country star wasn’t enough to save Kacey Musgraves from the thankless task of attempting to follow Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons. Before anyone had the chance to recover from having the roof blown off the Staple Center, everything immediately shifted to Musgraves, who performed her hit single “Follow Your Arrow.” If she had performed at any other point in the evening, everyone would have been able to appreciate the song’s clever lyrics and sweet message, but the abrupt tonal shift didn’t accommodate her charm and left everyone feeling slightly underwhelmed. At least she has two shiny Grammy awards to take comfort in. 

Best Guest Appearance – Queen Latifah
When it came time for them to perform their hit song, “Same Love,” Macklemore and Ryan Lewis decided to make some history by marrying 32 couples, both straight and gay, on air at the Grammys. Unfortunately for them, their touching performance was overshadowed by the presence of Queen Latifah as the officiant. She didn’t do much other than invite the couples to exchange rings, and then pronounce them to be married, but somehow, in that short period of time, she managed to steal the show with nothing but sheer enthusiasm and a great dress. Not even Madonna could drag anyone’s attention from the Queen, and couples all around the world put in requests to have her officiate their weddings as well. 

Runner Up: Ryan Lewis, the silent, mysterious counterpoint to Macklemore, who popped up at random points throughout the performance to help guide people to their mark. Part producer, part choreographer, all enigma. 

Most Cathartic Head-Banging – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift won the Battle of the Melancholy Piano Ballads with a performance of “All Too Well,” arguably the best song on her album Red, and the exact moment of victory came when she started whipping her hair back and forth as the song build up the the bridge. Swift gets a lot of flack for her dancing, but her head banging may be her best move of all – at once cathartic, ridiculous and a little bit melodramatic, it embodies everything that a good break up song should. 

Most Likely to Remind You to Catch Up on Sleepy Hollow – Katy Perry and Juicy J
Well, now we know what’s on Katy Perry‘s DVR. The pop star took her new song “Dark Horse” in a distinctly witchier direction last night, with a performance that included skeletal trees, wishing wells, and a pole dancing routine performed on oversized broomsticks, all of which served to answer that eternal question: how do 18th century witches feel about hip hop beats? It might have seemed like an odd aesthetic choice at first, but it was one of the most visually stunning performances of the night. However, we do feel like she missed a trick by not having Juicy J dress up as Ichabod Crane. If anyone can pull off those giant gold buttons, it’s him. 

Biggest Middle Finger From CBS – Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Lindsey Buckingham, and Dave Grohl
One of the most hyped performances of this year’s Grammys featured Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and Queens of the Stone Age teaming up with Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham and Dave Grohl to close out the night and bring the house down. Unfortunately for fans who sat through the entire evening in anticipation, the performance was interrupted by random ads and the credits started rolling halfway through Queens of the Stone Age’s song. That the Grammys decided to cut everyone off halfway through was surprising, considering the amount of press the collaboration had gotten in the run up to the awards, but interrupting one of the few exciting, energetic performances really added insult to injury. We’re not the only ones upset, either – Reznor tweeted about being upset later in the night.