A night of a thousand high notes. The 2017 Grammys, held on Sunday, February 12, were jam-packed with dynamic musical performances from big names including Adele, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars. Check out the video above to see Us Weekly’s picks for the top seven performances of the night.
The James Corden–helmed show promised an amazing lineup of artists performing across genres and in tribute to late musical icons, with plenty of high-tech stage theatrics thrown in for good measure. Among those honored were Prince, George Michael, the Bee Gees and Phife Dawg.
But it was Adele, with two performances and Grammys for Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Record of the Year (not to mention for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Pop Solo Performance), who really stole the show.
Below, take a look at Us Weekly’s picks for the best performances of the night.
The British singer bookended the Grammys Sunday night, opening the awards show with a haunting performance of her 2015 hit “Hello,” and ending it by paying tribute to Beyoncé, her fellow nominee for Song of the Year and Album of the Year. “The way you make me feel, the way you make my black friends feel is empowering,” the 28-year-old singer said through tears as she took home the final award of the night.
Even before her big wins, though, Adele had already won over the audience with her emotional tribute to the late George Michael, a slowed-down, orchestral cover of Michael’s usually midtempo dance hit “Fastlove, Pt. 1.” About a minute into her performance, the “All I Ask” singer cursed and asked if it would be OK for her to start over. “I’m sorry, Ken,” she said, referring to the show’s producer, Ken Ehrlich. No apologies necessary. Take two: perfection.
2. Bruno Mars
There is no denying Bruno Mars’ charismatic stage presence, and his electrifying tribute to the late Prince had the entire Grammy crowd on its feet and dancing as he grooved and shimmied onstage, performing Prince’s iconic “Let’s Go Crazy.” The “24K Magic” singer (who also performed his own music earlier in the night) donned a purple sequin blazer and black eyeliner to pay proper tribute to the Purple One, joining Prince’s Purple Rain costars/contemporaries Morris Day and the Time onstage for the last number in the tribute. Even Jay Z and Beyoncé were spotted on their feet dancing!
No one does a live performance quite like Queen Bey. Beyoncé dominated a flower-petal and gold-laden stage with powerful renditions of “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles,” two dynamic songs off her 2016 album Lemonade. The pregnant star showed off her baby bump in a solid gold lace dress and matching veil, alternating between cradling her belly while sitting on a high-back wooden chair and traipsing along a long table with a bevy of backup dancers swaying in unison.
Though her babies prevented her from performing her usual sharp dance moves, the “Sorry” singer’s nearly nine-minute set captivated the audience, and the proud expectant mama couldn’t help flashing an extra-special smile for her husband, Jay Z, and daughter, Blue Ivy, in the front row afterward.
4. Tribe Called Quest + Busta Rhymes
A Tribe Called Quest lost a brother in 2016 in rapper Phife Dawg, and the remaining members — Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White — didn’t let that fact go forgotten, pointing out an empty mic at the end of the stage during their Grammy performance. The three rappers brought Busta Rhymes and Anderson Paak with them to run through some of their most iconic hits, including “Can I Kick It,” and to deliver a powerful political message. “Movin’ Backwards” and “We the People,” off Tribe’s latest album, We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service, saw an entire army of people join the group onstage as they called for opposition to Donald Trump’s immigration ban, and an order to “Resist, resist, resist.”
5. The Weeknd + Daft Punk
This is fusion done right. The Weeknd and Daft Punk set the bar high early in the night with a mashup of their collaborative singles “Starboy” and “I Feel It Coming” off The Weeknd’s Starboy LP. In a performance worthy of plenty of adulating tweets, The Weeknd worked his smooth vocals over Daft Punk’s robotic beats, transporting the audience with their interstellar sound. The Weeknd has been open in the past about how the late Michael Jackson has influenced his career and music. It was appropriate, then, that Paris Jackson, the King of Pop’s daughter, introduced the hitmaker to the stage.
6. Alicia Keys + Maren Morris
These girls were on fire! Alicia Keys and Maren Morris lit up the stage on Sunday when they delivered a seriously heated duet of Morris’ hit “Once.” The pair’s distinct voices harmonized beautifully for the country-soul mashup, set against a simple, tasteful backdrop of candles, chandeliers and tall, arched windows.
7. Ed Sheeran
Nothing fancy, just a boy and his guitar (and his looper!). Ed Sheeran delivered one of the first performances of the night, and the British singer-songwriter did not disappoint with his distinct voice and head-bobbing beats as he performed his latest hit, “Shape of You.” In contrast to some of the other performances of the night, Sheeran’s looked more bare-bones, but what he lacked in stage production, he more than made up with vocal finesse. Sheeran’s performance also closed off a busy weekend: On Saturday, the singer performed on Saturday Night Live in New York City.
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