Every year, the Grammys are loaded with as many artists and performances as possible within three and a half hours (or more, given that this year ran long and they still had to play the credits over the finale). Because of those mega-performances, it’s a televised event that’s just as enjoyable in person — or probably more so.
The inside of Staples Center feels like a one-night-only festival where all the most relevant pop stars and biggest artists of the past are on one bill. And they play together. And they try to one-up each other, meaning that even if a performance isn’t great, it goes down swinging (we might throw Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” witch-fest into the latter category).
Here are some observations from EW’s crew on the inside, including our view of Taylor Swift, when she wasn’t caught on camera dancing in the crowd.
Surprise! Fire is hot: Don’t judge me, but I wasn’t expecting the night’s many pyrotechnics to send heatwaves all the way up to my balcony seat. Metallica’s sprinting flames to kick off their performance of “One” with pianist Lang Lang were especially toasty. I honestly can’t imagine what that feels like when you’re James Hetfield — not to mention Katy Perry, who was burned at the stake in her very own L.A. Witch Trial.
Taylor Watch: Swift knows how to maximize her awards-show camera time, dancing enthusiastically to any performance over a certain BPM, most notably for Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons’ performance, for which she and her friend were the only people in their section even standing up. One of the sweetest Taylor moments we witnessed was during Lorde’s center-of-the-arena performance of “Royals.” Instead of watching the big screens in front of her, Taylor turned all the way around in her front-row seat to see her friend’s Grammy debut with her own eyes. Oh, and about that dancing: EW caught a quick Instagram video of Taylor positively getting down to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.”
The Standing O’s: Speaking of “Get Lucky,” nothing got the Staples Center crowd dancing like the robots’ collabo with Stevie Wonder. While her midtempo single didn’t have the crowd dancing, Lorde did get a standing ovation at the end, as did an acrobatic Pink once she wrapped up her bombastic vocal duet with Fun.’s Nate Ruess. But when it came to crowd response, nothing worked them up quite like…
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love” love-fest: The only thing more powerful than the rap duo’s marriage-equality single? Having 33 couples get married during the song. You saw on TV that celebrities like Katy Perry (who caught one couple’s bouquet) and Keith Urban (who teared up) had emotional reactions to the proactive performance, but what you didn’t see is that the cheering continued well into the commercial break. What could have seemed like a stunt hit exactly the right chord.
I wasn’t alone in Staples: Check out some tweets from EW executive editor Jason Adams and music editor Leah Greenblatt (new to Twitter — follow her!) below:
Jason Adams’ night at the Grammys:
Leah Greenblatt’s night at the Grammys: