The 2020 Grammys offered up a wide range of performances, including hits from pop’s new stars, old-school tributes and a few surprising group acts.
Here’s a rundown of the night’s top stage moments:
– Rappers surprise on stage –
It was a wacky night for rap, with the genre-benders Lil Nas X and Tyler, the Creator delivering eclectic performances that had the audience on its feet.
Lil Nas X — who won two awards on the night — delivered a wild rendition of his crossover smash hit “Old Town Road” with a coterie of guest stars.
He began the tune on a rotating set that featured a tribute to the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his jersey displayed in the background.
A banjo-playing, bandana-wearing Diplo joined the meme king onstage along with the K-pop superstars BTS, campy country star Billy Ray Cyrus and none other than the rapper Nas.
Tyler, the Creator gave a high-energy performance complete with pyrotechnics while wearing a pink and magenta color-block suit and a blond bowl-cut wig.
Boyz II Men and R&B legend Charlie Wilson joined the 28-year-old artist onstage.
Shortly thereafter, the artist won the Grammy for Best Rap Album — a win he voiced happiness about, while also voicing worry about being pigeon-holed.
“Half of me feels like the rap nomination was a back-handed compliment,” he told journalists backstage.
“It sucks that whenever we, and I mean guys that look like me, do anything that’s genre-bending… they always put us in a rap or an urban category.”
“I don’t like that urban word. it’s just a politically correct way to say the n-word.”
– Pop divas slay –
Pop princess Ariana Grande arrived at the Grammys in a cloud of blue-gray tulle.
But once she got on the stage, she ended up in skimpy pink lingerie, gyrating with her dancers on a bed and throwing one sexy slumber party.
Grande performed a medley of her hits: from “Imagine,” she segued into “My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music” — the bridge to her own song “7 rings,” which samples heavily from the show tune.
She finished up with a bit of “thank u, next,” the mega-hit off her album of the same name.
It was a triumphant return to the Grammys stage for the 26-year-old, who pulled out of a performance last year over a dispute with producers about what she would sing.
Singer Demi Lovato is on her way back after an overdose in 2018. On Sunday, she performed for the first time since then, singing “Anyone” — a song she told NBC News she wrote days before she nearly died as a “cry for help.”
After she appeared to choke up on the first few notes, the 27-year-old Lovato had to start again. When she resumed, tears were visible on her face.
“Nobody’s listening to me, nobody’s listening,” she sang in a raw, powerful voice. “Anyone, please send me anyone. Lord, is there anyone? I need someone.”
Her voice soared, and when it was over, the spectators at the Staples Center sprang to their feet. Welcome back, Demi.
– Tributes reign –
It was tribute night at the Grammys, which featured an emotional musical homage to the late rapper Nipsey Hussle from artists including DJ Khaled, John Legend and Meek Mill.
Hussle, an Eritrean-American who was born Ermias Asghedom — was shot dead last March, triggering an outpouring of grief in Los Angeles and among his superstar peers.
The tribute included a rendition of “Higher,” Hussle’s Grammy-winning song with Khaled and Legend, which they performed with a gospel choir as projections of the rapper’s image alongside that of Bryant presided over the stage.
Bryant, who died tragically in a helicopter crash Sunday morning, also got a shout-out from one of the night’s brightest stars Lizzo, who kicked off Grammy night by laying down the evening’s theme: “Tonight is for Kobe.”
Usher, donning a sparkling jacket and tight pants delivered a musical love letter to Prince, as FKA Twigs impressed with a pole dance.
The late pop icon’s protegee Sheila E shimmered in a glittery green pantsuit as she banged out drum solos.
And veteran rockers Aerosmith added to the nostalgia with a medley of their greatest hits including “Walk This Way.”
Rap act Run-DMC joined them onstage, where another Bryant jersey waved — another wordless tribute to the legendary Laker.