Grammys 2016: The 10 Biggest Talking Points

So, the 58th Grammy Awards are over and, for once, there was barely a glimpse of controversy. That’s not to say there weren’t plenty of big talking points, what with all the awards being doled out and performances taking place. Did Gwen Stefani fall over in her live music video? Was Taylor Swift hitting out at Kanye West in her acceptance speech? Is ‘Uptown Funk’ an underwhelming choice for Record Of The Year? Let’s recap the night’s most interesting events below and, if you’re looking for a full list of who won what, you can find that here.

Did Taylor Swift use her Album Of The Year speech to hit back at Kanye?
Earlier this week, Kanye West finally released his new album ‘The Life Of Pablo’ and on one track, ‘Famous’, took the credit for Swift’s fame. So it’s no surprise that when she made her acceptance speech for Album Of The Year, her warning to “all young women out there” that some people are gonna want to take credit for “your accomplishments or your fame” was immediately assumed to be a sly but classy dig at Kanye.

Oh, and FYI Swift’s now the first woman to win the AOTY Grammy twice so, whoever that speech was aimed at, she’s gone and made history again.


Gaga’s tribute to Bowie was a fittingly electrifying ode to an unparalleled icon
If you watched the pre-telecast or the red carpet stream ahead of the main event last night, you’ll have heard mention what felt like several billion times of how Lady Gaga was the perfect person to pay tribute to the late David Bowie. Maybe that point was hammered home a bit too much, but, hey, turns out everyone was right.

From the dyed orange hair and the cool projection of the Aladdin Sane lightning bolt placed over Gaga’s face at the start to the sheer energy she performed with, her tribute was electrifying to watch – even over a dodgy stream that kept pixellating and buffering. It was playful, it was heartfelt and, in just under seven minutes, raced through some of Bowie’s finest hits, from ‘Space Oddity’ to ‘Fame’. To be honest, we could probably have happily watched her segue together an hour’s worth of songs and still have been genuinely moved.

Lady Gaga – David Bowie Tribute (2016 Grammys) by musictrending

The rest of the night was filled with homages too
If there was one recurring theme at the Grammys this year, it was tributes. Most were for those we’ve lost in recent months from Lemmy – who was remembered by The Hollywood Vampires and Dave Grohl – to The Eagles’ Glenn Frey.

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Not everyone who had homage paid to them last night was dead, though. Lionel Richie had his very own medley of hits in his honour, as performed by Demi Lovato, John Legend, Meghan Trainor, Luke Bryan and Tyrese. During Lovato’s performance of ‘Hello’, Richie was captured punching the air with best his fists and saying: “Yes!” After the five had done their thing, he ran on stage to lead them through ‘All Night Long’ and looked like he was having the time of his life doing so.

Looks like he found Adele, too, so here’s hoping we can all finally hear the true mash-up of our dreams, aka ‘Hello’ x ‘Hello’, the song the internet needs.

Lionel: is it me you’re looking for? Adele: it’s me *goes on forever* #grammys #adele #lionelrichie

A photo posted by My Therapist Says… (@mytherapistsays) on

Sidenote: Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig is taking umbrage with Alice Cooper’s supergroup and their name. Whose side are you on?

Kendrick Lamar’s performance was as politically-charged as you’d expect
Leave it to Kendrick to remind us all of what’s important between the frivolities of an awards ceremony. After picking up five awards, including Best Rap Album for ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’, the Compton rapper took to the stage to perform ‘The Blacker The Berry’, ‘Alright’ and a snippet of a new track. Opening by leading out a chain gang in a jail setting, Lamar later moved to be in front of a giant bonfire surrounded by tribal drummers. His performance ended with the word Compton shown over an image of Africa.

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Did Gwen Stefani fall over in her live music video?
Gwen Stefani also made history tonight, by producing the first live music video during a commercial break. It was pretty impressive and, to be honest, you could barely tell it was live. That is until a clip towards the end when Stefani and a load of dancers were rollerskating towards the camera. Suddenly, Stefani was on the floor with dancers literally having to hop over her to avoid meeting the same fate.

Of course Twitter was alight with fans talking about the fall, but apparently it was all staged and it was actually a dancer made to look like Stefani who “fell”. So say Hollywood Life anyway.

Adele didn’t own the night
By now, we’re used to Adele slaying at awards ceremonies à la the Brits 2011, so it’s more surprising when she doesn’t completely annihilate your tear ducts in a single, stripped back performance. Last night, she got a standing ovation in the room for her performance of ‘All I Ask’, but on TV things fell a bit flat. That was possibly something to do with a weird metallic sound cutting through throughout, like someone twanging at a guitar that wasn’t properly strung.

Still, Adele doesn’t seem like she’s gonna lose too much sleep over it, tweeting afterwards: “The piano mics fell on to the piano strings, that’s what the guitar sound was. It made it sound out of tune. Shit happens. X” Our hero.

Adele – All I Ask (2016 Grammys) by musictrending

Alabama Shakes absolutely cleaned up
“We never thought we’d be here,” admitted Brittany Howard, Alabama Shakes frontwoman, as the band collected their third award of the night. They picked up Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song and Best Alternative Music Album, beating off some stiff competition from the likes of Foo Fighters, Florence And The Machine and Tame Impala. Where before the ceremony it felt uncertain whether the Shakes would be awarded anything at all, given who they were up against, it was good to see the Grammys not taking the most predictable routes.

Justin Bieber, Skrillex and Diplo reinvented ‘Where Are Ü Now’ as a rock monster
It’s the performance that’s dividing the internet – the moment where Justin Bieber, Skrillex and Diplo took one of last year’s finest dance songs in ‘Where Are Ü Now’ and gave it a makeover. On the red carpet before the show, Diplo said the performance would show “what we can do as dance producers”. Apparently what he meant by that was “turn it into a rock monster”.

After an acoustic rendition of ‘Love Yourself’, Bieber joined a guitar-wielding Skrillex (going back to his From First To Last roots) and Mellotron-noodling Diplo for the banger that began his incredible reinvention last year. Here’s the performance below so you can decide what side of the fence you’re sitting on.

‘Uptown Funk’ won Record Of The Year – an underwhelming choice?
Sure, we all had a good six-month spell of dancing to nothing but ‘Uptown Funk’, but that was at the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015. We’ve moved on now. Although apparently not for the Grammys, who are obviously still very hung up on just what moves to pull when Bruno Mars sings “Too hot/Hot damn/Call the police and the fireman”.

‘Can’t Feel My Face’ was the ubiquitous song to overplay and drunkenly dance to for hours in 2015 and surely Abel Tesfaye deserves an award for somehow managing to make a song that’s essentially an ode to cocaine quite such a mainstream hit. In our hearts, The Weeknd won Record Of The Year, but not in reality.

At least Mars and Ronson’s victory gave us the former yelling like a little excitable child at Beyoncé.

Only one winner cried and obviously it was Meghan Trainor
Taylor was too busy dealing out ice cold realness, Kendrick’s far too cool to cry on stage and Alabama Shakes were probably processing just what was happening given their acceptance speech. So of course it was left to Trainor, Best New Artist of 2016, to be the one to get all emotional and sob into the microphone while trying to remember who she had to thank. Pop stars of 2017, please try harder to lose your shit – how is anyone supposed to play a successful Grammys drinking game if everyone’s all smiles?

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