Grammys showcase powerful performances and tributes

In the middle of a packed awards season, all eyes turned toward the music industry Monday night at the 58th annual Grammy Awards. The three-and-a-half-hour show featured a mix of performances and tributes, culminating in the presentation of the most important awards of the evening.

Taylor Swift took home the top award, Album of the Year, for her fantastic “1989,” while Kendrick Lamar took home five Grammys, including Best Rap Album. Bruno Mars walked away with the Grammy for Record of the Year for “Uptown Funk,” while Ed Sheeran won Song of the Year for “Thinking Out Loud.” Meghan Trainor won for Best New Artist and Chris Stapleton won Best Country Album for “Traveller.”

The Broadway sensation “Hamilton,” a musical about the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton, won the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. The cast also performed the opening song from the show, “Alexander Hamilton,” which showcased the incredible nature of the theater medium.

Taylor Swift kicked off the night’s wide variety of musical performances, opening the show with “Out of the Woods,” which provided a strong beginning to an enjoyable show.

Other notable performers included Adele, The Weeknd and Miguel, as well as an understated and enjoyable performance by Alabama Shakes, who also won Best Alternative Album for “Sound and Color.”

With one of the best tributes of the night, Lady Gaga performed a medley of David Bowie songs. Her technically stunning performance started with a motion-tracking projection on her face which featured the lightning bolt from Bowie’s “Aladdin Sane” album cover over her eye which morphed into a spider during the performance. The tribute was wide-ranging and a wholly unique way to honor the recently deceased artist.

The highlight of the night for many, however, was Kendrick Lamar’s performance. Overshadowing the five awards he took home Monday evening, Kendrick proved to a mass audience the importance of his voice on the issue of race. He made a powerful statement that cannot be overlooked. Walking out on a stage made to look like a prison, shackled and dressed in prison garb, Kendrick rapped about race, as well as the place of hip-hop in pop culture.

Despite the show’s incredible length, the 2016 Grammys was a great collection of moments, some important and many simply enjoyable. It was a night to celebrate music and the place it has in our lives and in the popular zeitgeist.