“Biggest names in music” honored at the Grammys

Emily Berthiaume, Teen Interest Editor

 The 2015 Grammys honored the biggest names in music with the most prestigious music award during a ceremony complete with twenty-three diverse performances for all ages. Sam Smith was by far the biggest winner of the night, taking home Best Record, Best New Artist, Best Song, and Best Pop Vocal Performance by the end of the night.

Four-time host LL Cool J chose to forgo the traditional opening monologue, and instead Australian rock band AC/DC opened the show with a fiery performance of their new song Rock or Bust and their classic 1979 hit Highway to Hell.

Taylor Swift announced the first award of the night for Best New Artists, mentioning she is a former loser of the category and that several of her friends are nominated. The award ended up going to British soul-singer Sam Smith, becoming his first of four winds that night. His radio hit Stay With Me (Darkchild Version) went on to win both Best Song and Best Record, and In the Lonely Hour, his 2014 album, won Best Pop Vocal Album.

“I want to thank the man who this record is about,” Smith in his acceptance speech for Best Record said. “Thank you so much for breaking my heart, ‘cause you got me four Grammys.”

One of the main awards, Best Album, went to singer-songwriter Beck for his album Morning Phase, which was the biggest surprise of the night.  Despite also winning Best Rock Album, Morning Phase was not expected to win over Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran’s higher selling albums Beyoncé and X, or over the major winner of the night Sam Smith and Grammy favorite Pharell Williams.

In fact, the win was such a surprise that rapper Kanye West jumped on the stage and acted like he was going to re-create the infamous 2009 VMA
incident in which he took the mic from Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech for Best Female Video and claimed Beyoncé should have won. While it appeared to be a light-hearted joke at the time, after the ceremony West wasn’t joking.

“I just know that the Grammys, if they want real artists to come back, they need to stop playing with us. And  Beck needs to respect    artistry and should’ve given his award to Beyoncé,” West said at an E! after party.

Beyoncé did end up winning three awards that night without West’s help: Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song for Drunk In Love and Best Surround Sound Album for Beyoncé.

A common theme in many of the performances was the old blending with the new. Hozier performed his massive hit Take Me to Church, and was then joined by Annie Lennox to duet Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ 1956 hit I Put a Spell On You. Similarly, Ed Sheeran sang his single Thinking Out Loud, and then joined the 70s rock group ELO to perform their song, Mr. Blue Sky. Rihanna and Kanye West were joined by Paul McCartney to sing their new single Four Five Seconds, and Sam Smith and Mary J. Blige performed Stay With Me as a duet.

Other notable performances of the night included Madonna’s dramatic, heavily choreographed performance of Looking for Love, Pharell Williams and Hans Zimmer’s multi-lingual, reinvented performance of Happy, Katy Perry’s all-white performance of By the Grace of God complete with lyrical dancers, Beyoncé’s performance of gospel hymn classic Take My Hand, and Sia’s performance of Chandelier featuring 12 year old Dance Moms star Maddie Zielger and Saturday Night Live alum Kristen Wiig as interpretive dancers in nude leotards.