So many stars, so little time. The fact that CBS tried to cram as many stars as possible into one event was evident just a few minutes into the show. The celebrities were literally interrupting one another because they all had to say whatever it was they were there to say in record time, whether it was to introduce a performance, pay tribute, or make an acceptance speech. With 19 total performances, the show was nonstop excitement.
The opening of the Grammies was unbelievable. The lights were off and a guitar played softly in the background. As it became louder and clearer, the cheering slowly rose as more and more people recognized the familiar tune of Purple Rain. Then Prince stepped out plucking and singing away. Before the audience knew what hit them Beyonce Knowles, who went on to win five Grammies, jumped in and sang with Prince. With Purple Rain almost coming to an end, they switched to Beyonce's Crazy in Love. Prince showed everyone that his vivacity had not faded with his last few years in the shadows.
After being awarded Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "Cry Me A River," Justin Timberlake brought back only too recent memories of the Superbowl. During his acceptance speech Timberlake apologized for his Superbowl half-time show, a good call considering that rumors were spreading about whether CBS executives were going to change their minds about inviting him to the Grammies. Timberlake, along with Janet Jackson, was invited to the Grammies but Jackson didn't show. He seemed heartfelt when he said, "It's the best day of my life," with a tear rolling down his cheek and a slight crack in his voice. With the song he had just sung, it was an almost ironic experience.
The only thing as impressive as Beyonce's awards and performances were Outkast's. Maybe it was their Native-American-slash-tree looking suits. Maybe it was Jack Black's hilarious introduction. But, most likely, it was Andre 3000's backup singers, dancers and a 40-person marching band. All of this in his one performance of "Hey Ya!" which was nominated for the Record Of The Year. By the end of the song, the whole room was engulfed in Andre's funk, shouting and screaming his name.
The most inspiring portion of the show was the Celine Dion and Richard Marx performance of "Dance With My Father" as a tribute to Luther Vandross. Richard Marx played the piano while Dion did the vocals for Vandross's song, which won the Song of the Year award. Vandross made a few statements of gratitude via pre-taped video message. But Patty Labelle's genuine heartache for Vandross took spotlight when she was hardly able to read her lines about how sick he was. She had to pause every few words to catch her breath and regain her composure because her grief was affecting her so much.
The night was filled with cries of laughter, joy, and grief, which made it as emotional as it was entertaining.
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