Last night was the annual music awards show commonly known as the Grammys. Always a chance for those of music royalty to strut their stuff, this year’s show was especially memorable in more ways than one. From interesting ensembles to equipment failure, here are eight moments from the 2017 Grammys that we won’t soon forget.
1. Beyoncé showed up as a literal Madonna.
This has to come first on the list because if you were not moved by her golden attire, pregnant belly and LITERAL GLOW emanating from her, then you best check your pulse.
Not only did she appear in her true form of Goddess, she gave a short—but stirring—speech for equality.
In accepting her award for Best Urban Contemporary Album, she said, “It’s important to me to show images to my children that reflect their beauty so they can grow up in a world where they look in the mirror… And have no doubt that they’re beautiful, intelligent, and capable. This is something I want for every child of every race, and I feel it’s vital that we learn from the past and recognize our tendencies to repeat our mistakes.”
Preach it, Bey.
2. Even the fashion was political.
Katy Perry rocked a suffragette-white pantsuit and a “Persist” armband in a nod to Elizabeth Warren and the feminist cause. This is no surprise, as she vociferously supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
Busta Rhymes referred to President Donald Trump as “President Agent Orange” while onstage with A Tribe Called Quest, who ended their performance chanting “Resist!”
Meanwhile, lesser-known singer Joy Villa got torched on Twitter for her “Make America Great Again” dress. While she did have a number of supporters, detractors are calling the dress a publicity stunt.
3. Adele got a do-over on her George Michael tribute.
While singing “Fastlove,” in a tribute to mega-hit singer George Michael, Adele abruptly stopped, swore and asked to start again.
“I can’t do it again like last year. I’m sorry for swearing and I’m sorry for starting again. Can we please start it again? I’m sorry, I can’t mess this up for him. I’m sorry. I can’t. I’m sorry for swearing. I’m really sorry,” Adele said.
So they started again, and she crushed it, bringing herself–and the audience–to tears in the process.
4. …and then she beat out Beyoncé. Twice.
Yes, Adele beat Bey for Album of the Year, the top honor at the Grammys. Many were dismayed by this choice, as the insanely explosive “Lemonade” seemed to be a surefire winner (she also won for Song of the Year—”Hello” was picked over Beyonce’s “Formation”). Luckily, Adele is a queen and she broke her Grammy in half so she could share with Beyoncé.
In her acceptance speech she said, “I can’t possibly accept this award, and I’m very humbled and very grateful and gracious but my life is Beyoncé, and the album to me, the “Lemonade” album, Beyoncé, was so monumental.”
What a class act.
5. Rory Feek gave a touching tribute.
The winner for Best Gospel Roots Album Rory Feek gave a beautiful speech after his win—a win that should have included his wife and duet partner, Joey.
“My wife’s dream was to make a hymns album. She didn’t have the chance to do it until she’d been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, so she’d sing in hotel rooms while she did chemotherapy and radiation,” Feek said at the Grammys after he accepted his trophy.
Joey passed away last March at the age of 40, and told Rory after they were nominated, “‘Remember, if we win, I’ll know before you will.'”
Excuse us, we need a tissue.
6. Recording Academy President Neil Portnow gave an impassioned speech for the arts.
Every year, Recording Academy President Neil Portnow gives a speech at the Grammys. Mostly it’s pretty cut and dried but this year was different. In a deeply personal plea, Portnow asked the country to continue to support the arts, a deeply contentious issue these days.
Quoting John F. Kennedy, Portnow gave a stirring speech to continue to support music and American musicians saying, “In times of triumph and of tragedy, we turn to song and the abiding power of music to lift our spirits, soothe our souls and remind us that everything will be okay… and that’s why we must be loud and clear in our unwavering support of music and the arts, and those who create it.”
7. Lady Gaga and Metallica did a duet
And they… rocked. Of course. Despite the fact that one of the microphones refused to function, Lady Gaga (fresh off an exquisite Super Bowl Halftime performance) and Metallica produced a fiery set. Gaga dove off the stage, drummer Lars Ulrich was surrounded by fire and lead singer James Hetfield screamed his heart out into Gaga’s mic like a true rocker.
Metallica’s “Hardwired” was nominated for Best Rock Song, but lost to David Bowie’s “Blackstar.”
8. David Bowie racked up the awards
Posthumously, David Bowie picked up all five Grammys for which he was nominated. Including wins for Best Alternative Rock Album, Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical and Best Recording Package (all for for his 25th and final album, “Blackstar”), and Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song for the lead single “Blackstar,” Bowie won more Grammys last night than he ever did when he was alive.
“So proud of you dad!” his son Duncan Jones posted on Twitter.
So proud of you dad!
Would hold you up forever.
❤️ #grammys2017 pic.twitter.com/JHU2hveVwq
— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) February 13, 2017