madge grammy

If you didn’t watch the 2015 Grammy Awards congratulate yourself on your good judgement and then take a look at this breakdown of all 24 (can’t) performances.

The Grammys 2015 will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the longest, strangest nights in music history. Clocking in at an impressively self-indulgent three and a half hours, to say that the 57th instalment of the Music Academy’s annual celebration of middle-aged white men dragged would be an understatement. It was a taxing affair to sit through the ceremony, only to be rewarded with a handful of great performances.

Luckily I did sit through it, so click below for a guide to which artists to check for and which numbers to avoid tomorrow on YouTube.

1. AC/DC – Miss

The show kicked off with Very Important Rock Band AC/DC performing a medley of “Rock or Bust” and “Highway to Hell,” both of which are actually listenable on record, but the ageing rockers managed to make supremely uninteresting on stage.

2. Ariana Grande – Hit(ish)

Whilst her ever-stellar vocals were mostly on point and she looked amazing, Ariana’s performance of “Just a Little Bit of Your Heart” was by no means her strongest offering. The set was impressive enough in theory, but even Ari’s blue neon cage couldn’t make up for the strange decision to use the biggest night of the year to platform the weakest offering from current record, “My Everything.”

3. Tom Jones and Jessie J – Miss

This was never going to be the best moment of the evening, was it? Performing “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” in tribute to The Righteous Brothers, Tom Jones and Jessie J consummately proved why their stint as judges coaches on the UK’s The Voice was so unsuccessful with their total lack of chemistry and personality.

4. Miranda Lambert – Miss

And so began the ubiquitous country music assault. Despite serving wind machine realness and a well dressed band, Miranda Lambert’s rendition of “Little Red Wagon” was totally undermined by her own fringe which was much too long. She also did a brilliant job of showing everyone why country artists shouldn’t attempt choreography.

5. Kanye West – Hit

The first truly interesting moment of the night came from Kanye’s atmospheric, haunting showing of Paul McCartney assisted “Only One.” Although his vocals were undeniably shaky, the spotlit performance was heartfelt and leant a new lease of life to the already pretty good first offering from his forthcoming album. Plus it’s rare to see such a masterful use of vocal distortion.

6. Madonna – Hit x100

I’m sure there are many moments in my life when I’ve thanked God for Madonna but perhaps none with as much passion as during the 2015 Grammys. Shining a ray of light (get it?) and joy into what was otherwise a very dismal evening, Madonna brought her a-game to the first performance of “Living for Love.” With choreography for days, a gospel choir (another staple feature of the night,) some crowd interaction and dancing bulls that will certainly send the illuminati brigade into free-fall, Madge reminded everyone why she’s the Queen of Pop. Her vocals were strong, although layered across an almost entirely pre-recorded track, and she danced circles around pretty much ever other girl in the industry, most of whom are more than 20 years younger than her. Quite simply put, *****, she’s Madonna and this one’s a contender for best performance of the night.

7. Ed Sheeran and John Mayer – Miss

Ed is an undeniably solid vocalist and John Mayer is definitely very talented, but these two failed to bring any new life to Ed’s smash hit “Thinking Out Loud.” It felt like the type of performance which would have been entertaining if it was 1989 and you were stoned out of your head, but stone cold sober in 2015 it was a bit of an ordeal.

8. ELO – Miss(ish)

Look, I’m not going to be declaring myself an ELO stan anytime soon, but this was okay. “Mr. Blue Sky” is one of those songs that you would never remember you like long enough to put it on your iPod but you somehow know all the words to. Undoubtedly the champions of ‘Real Music’ will be heralding this as the performance of the evening tomorrow, but for the pop world it was barely passable.

9. Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani – Miss

Although this was a strong vocal presentation from the sometimes very patchy Gwen Stefani, there wasn’t much to the former-Voice duo’s performance of “My Heart Is Open”. Much like almost everyone else they stood around and sang passably so if that’s your thing, you’re in for a treat. The rest of Maroon 5 were conspicuously absent and the only logical explanation is that they’ve been sacrificed in exchange for Stefani’s eternal youth.

10. Hozier and Annie Lennox – Hit

Okay, if you’re going to insist on just standing around and singing, at least make sure you’re singing extraordinarily well, as Hozier and Annie Lennox did for the performance of “Take Me To Church” and “I Put A Spell On You.” Belting the house down, there was an element of pretence to the UK duo’s performance, but ultimately it worked extremely well.

11. Pharrell – Hit

You can watch this one for yourself because I don’t plan to even pretend to understand what was going on here. Between the neon violinists, strangely unsettling piano solo and spoken word introduction this was easily the strangest performance of the evening. There was actual movement though which made such a pleasant change that you could be fooled into thinking you enjoyed the Fever Dream Remix of Pharrell’s “Happy.”

12. Katy Perry – Hit

With a video introduction from the President of the United States (casual) and a performative lead-in from domestic abuse activist Brooke Axtell, this wasn’t an example of Katy’s usual forgettable candy-floss flavored pop. Indeed, performing ‘Prism’ ballad “By The Grace of God” dressed all in white, backed by silhouetted interpretative dancers, you’d be forgiven for not recognising this as the woman who offered us such hits as “Teenage Dream” and Left Shark. Adult Contemporary is a good look on Perry and her not entirely consistent voice held up well, making for a simple and effective performance from the “Roar” superstar.

13. Imagine Dragons – Miss

Imagine a world where I don’t have to write about Imagine Dragons.

14. Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga – Hit(ish)

It was hard to enjoy Bennett and Gaga’s textbook performance of the titular track from ‘Cheek to Cheek’ knowing that a sequel is in the works. A sequel to ‘Cheek to Cheek’ means we’re one step further away from Gaga’s triumphant pop return, which is long overdue after the patchy effort that was ‘ARTPOP.’ The number was very listenable, despite falling into the ‘not doing much of anything’ category, and Gaga has never sounded better.

15. Usher – Miss

The main issue with Usher singing Stevie Wonder, is that Usher is not Stevie Wonder, so why bother? The song was acceptable, but no one can sing Stevie like Stevie, so it seems a little redundant to even try.

16. Eric Church – Miss

This performance of Church’s “Give Me Back My Hometown” included the lyric “get together at Pizza Hut,” which incidentally was the approximate moment I lost the will to live. The Grammys had beaten me. Beaten me with Pizza Hut.

17. Brandy Clark and Dwight Yoakam – Miss

A country performance with no Pizza Hut. Strangely disappointing.

18. Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney – Hit

The moment we’d all been waiting for! Rihanna would save us from the country music with, um, her country-infused “FourFiveSeconds.” Don’t despair, the performance was actually a very strong effort from infamously phuck free RihRih, and despite some enthusiastic lip syncing from Macca and a dodgy vocal from Kanye this was a definite show highlight. In fact, Rihanna’s vocal was one of the best we’ve ever heard from the Barbadian superstar, she tackled the acoustic track with grit and soul. Plus, Madge clapping along in the front row is reason enough to watch this performance at least once.

19. Sam Smith and Mary J Blige – Hit(ish)

The general Twitter consensus seems to be that tonight was the night that Sam Smith’s transformation into the male Adele was fully completed and if that’s true, the precise moment of ascension has to be him walking out to a stage filled with lampshades. Classic Adele behaviour. The performance of Sam’s endlessly-awarded “Stay With Me” wasn’t the British crooner’s best, starring some pitchy notes and a couple of moments when Sam struggled to find the key – technical inexactitudes which can no doubt be put down to nerves. Mary J Blige on the other hand offered a flawless vocal and the singers were backed by a full choir (told you that’d be a theme) which was a nice touch, adding an epic feel to the performance

20. Juanes – Hit (because why not?)

It was Spanish. I didn’t hate it and to be perfectly frank it was more entertaining than Ariana Grande’s performance so it remains a hit. Deal.

21. Sia – Hit

Whilst the hive will undoubtedly be out in force tonight, an equally inexplicable injustice occurred when the Grammys failed to recognise Sia’s “Chandelier” in any of the five categories it was nominated, an injustice which was painfully obvious when the faceless star took to the stage with long-time collaborator Maddie Ziegler and, well, Kristen Wig (naturally.) Sia offered one of the only truly riveting performances of the evening and whilst her faceless-shtick is getting a little tired now, the choreography and movement were both superb, even from the presumably untrained Wig.

22. Chris Martin and Beck – Miss

Unfortunately it was impossible to hear this unforgivably dull performance over the sound of the Bey Hive screaming into their hands and trending #WhoIsBeck but let’s assume it wasn’t our cup of tea, shall we?

23. Beyoncé – Hit x100

Landing what can only be called a vocal smack-down on the Academy which failed to recognise the achievement of managing to change the way that people think about releasing and promoting music with the best album of her career, Beyoncé took no prisoners during her impassioned performance of gospel staple “Take My Hand, Precious Lord.” Bey showed off her monumental range and always-stunning voice with ease and class. Unconfirmed reports suggest that Michelle Williams was offered the chance to perform her seminal gospel hit “Say Yes” but turned the opportunity down to focus on her reality show.

24. John Legend and Common – Hit

And so after many tears, tantrums, trials and tribulations the Grammy Awards 2015 were finally over. And thank God they ended on such a high otherwise I may have thrown my laptop out the window. There’s little that can be said about Common and Legend’s rendition of their cut from the Selma soundtrack “Glory,” it has to be seen to be experienced. Needless to say, it was a show highlight that would have made even more of an impact had it not been preceded by three and a half hours consisting almost exclusively of total nonsense. Either way, Legend and Common have secured their win for Best Song Written for Visual Media at next year’s awards.


So that was the Grammys. Another year, another bizarre set of performers trying to get you to buy their latest record. At least we have another 12 months to prepare ourselves before we do this all again.

What was your favourite performance of the evening?