Every year, music’s biggest stars gather to honor the best of the best in the music industry. Last night’s events seemed a bit uncoordinated at times, and while we saw some unforgettable performance and had an incredibly hilarious host in James Corden, the true winner of the night was the plethora of politics poured into nearly every performance.
The show kicked off Jennifer Lopez awarding Chance the Rapper with Best New Artist while urging artists to speak out against injustice, followed by Paris Jackson exclaiming “#noDAPL!” while introducing The Weekend. Later in the night, Beyonce stopped the show with a pro-women medley, and Katy Perry (one of Donald Trump’s largest and most avid opposers) sported a Clinton-esuqe white pantsuit and an armband reading “persist” while performing her “purposeful pop” song in front of a plus-sized Constitution. Corden himself even made jokes about negative tweets presenting only fake information. Laverne Cox urged viewers to “Stand with Gavin” and support Transgender rights, and A Tribe Called Quest called out “President Agent Orange” for “perpetuating evil.”
Tributes to Prince and George Michael in addition to David Bowie winning four trophies for “Blackstar” brought a bittersweet tone to the evening, and the politics brought a gravity to the show that usually isn’t there, but Corden’s humor throughout the night was able to balance the emotion of the show.
Beyonce’s win for Best Urban Contemporary Album for “Lemonade” left fans satisfied with the recognition she received for her genre-switch, especially considering the alleged political implications surrounding its release. Other highlights of the night included Alicia Keys and Maren Morris’ powerful country duet, Adele’s total shutdown and restart of her tribute to George Michael, and Lady Gaga crowd surfing during her duet with Metallica. Also of special note, Sturgill Simpson’s soulful performance, the star-studded BeeGees tribute, and Bruno Mars practically resurrecting Prince for his tribute.
The night was largely expected to be a showdown between Adele and Beyonce, and as it happens, Adele swept the floor. She won several big awards, including Song of the Year for “Hello” and Best Pop Vocal Album, and Chance the Rapper was a surprise big winner, taking home two trophies, and giving a memorable performance. Solange finally got the recognition she deserves for “Cranes in the Sky” with Best R&B Performance.
The night suffered from some awkward pauses, several obvious problems with the teleprompter, and a slew of stars stumbling through “Sweet Caroline,” but what everyone will remember about this particular night was how nearly every single star came together to blast the political climate in America, urging citizens to resist over and over again.