This year's Grammy Awards were three-and-a-half-hours of somber moments that threatened to bog the entire evening down. Thankfully, there were some pretty great highlights that broke through the gloom—aside from the red carpet style. Legends were brought to the stage in big ways (Paul McCartney performed with Kanye West and Rihanna, and Annie Lennox joined Hozier for a two-punch performance) and Sam Smith made everyone smile with his joyful acceptance speeches. Beck surprised everyone (especially Kanye) with his Best Album win and Sia sung Chandelier with a dancing Kristen Wiig. And then there was Prince.
Without further ado, here are our favorite moments from the Grammys that managed to make the whole night worthwhile.
Sam Smith Sweeps
We adore Sam Smith, so his four wins (he was nominated for six) weren't a surprise to us. Winning Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist, and Best Pop Vocal Album, the bashful Brit had plenty of great moments. Check out the montage video from The Guardian above to see some of Smith's best reactions and his acceptance speech in which he thanks the man who broke his heart—"I want to thank the man who this record is about, who I fell in love with last year. Thank you so much for breaking my heart, because you got me four Grammys."
A photo posted by Sam Smith (@samsmithworld) on Feb 8, 2015 at 9:03pm PST
Smith also took to Instagram throughout the night to voice his excitement through a series of photos. If you weren't already in love with him, you probably are now.
Sia Continues Rebellion Against Visibility
Performing Chandelier in a corner as per usual, Sia was a breath of fresh air on a night when everyone seems to want camera time. Lately she's been bringing new guests on to perform with Maddie Ziegler, the 12-year-old dancer who is her muse of sorts, and this time it was Kristen Wiig. Nailing the desperate and emotional choreography, Wiig was a fantastic partner for Ziegler and further proved she's so much more than a comedian.
Beck Confuses the Youth
In a surprise win, Beck took the awards for Album of the Year and Best Rock Album with Morning Phase and the youth of America collectively uttered, "…who?" As the 44-year-old's first album since 2008's Sea Change, Morning Phase brought the eternally youthful star back in a big way. With the record topping most best-of lists, there is something so simple and effortless about Beck's 12th album that just can't be topped—sorry Beyoncé. The fact that he won an award isn't surprising, but the fact that he won two of the most coveted Grammys is. Typically the awards show doles out the trophies to radio's pop darlings and Beck certainly doesn't fit that category. Which is why many young viewers took to social media to express their confusion over this "unknown" beating out Bey and Sam Smith.
Kanye Tries to Out-Kanye Himself
Continuing his mission to make sure everyone knows how amazing Beyoncé is, Kanye rushed the stage during Beck's acceptance speech for Album of the Year. Sure, the moment lent some laughs and gave us a fantastic reaction shot from Jay Z (in which he looks horrified one moment and blissful the next), but more than anything it just made me cringe. Is Kanye ever going to get tired of being a walking parody of himself? To make himself look even more childish, he called Beck out for his failure to respect artistry during E!'s post-show coverage. "Beck needs to respect artistry, he should have given his award to Beyoncé. At this point, we tired of it. What happens is, when you [the Grammys] keep on diminishing art, and not respecting the craft, and smacking people in the face after they deliver monumental feats of music, you’re disrespectful to inspiration." I'm just going to put that right there and let it sink in.
I guess Kanye hasn't realized that expecting the Grammys to continually reward artistic achievement is like...well, like expecting Kanye to behave like an adult.
Prince is Better Than You
Whenever Prince shows up anywhere, it's like a unicorn has walked into the building and this time that unicorn was dressed as an orange Creamsicle. Exuding the kind of cool one can only be born with, Prince walked out on stage (with a cane, mind you) to present Best Album and as usual, the crowd went nuts. As if his mere presence wasn't enough, he gave the world many facial expressions that immediately swept the internet.
By the time he strolled on stage like a boss, the crowd had already gone through hours of moody speeches and dreary performances thanks to the current political climate. All Prince had to do was deliver the perfect eyeroll and I'm-too-famous-for-this smirk, and he didn't disappoint. Never leave us, Prince.
Taking to the stage to perform Take My Hand Precious Lord (which was Martin Luther King Jr.'s favorite song), Beyoncé proved that she doesn't need Kanye ranting on her behalf to show us all that she's amazing (she already has 20 Grammys). With an all-male gospel choir at her back, she nailed every note and looked like an angel while doing it. As much as we loved her performance—because she's basically perfect and it was a gorgeous way to comment on the needless deaths of black men in the past year—the song was a pretty bummer way to end the night and would have done better earlier in the broadcast. Admit it, you would rather listen to her singing about getting down in the back of a limo than sing gospel.
Maybe Prince should have closed the night out instead.