The 58th annual Grammy Awards kicked off at the Staples Center in Los Angeles with none other than Taylor Swift performing “Out of the Woods” in a sparkly black jumpsuit and a tight bob.
With seven nominations this year — and two awards already under her belt from before the start of the telecast — Swift was hoping to dominate the conversation Monday night, though she was little seen until the end of the evening, when she won for Album of the Year.
In her acceptance speech, Swift made an oblique reference to Kanye West, advising women everywhere to ignore those who would try to “take credit for your fame,” among other things.
Resident host LL Cool J, hosting the ceremony for the fifth time, tried to eschew talk of politics or protests by keeping the focus on the music.
“With all that divides us today, our shared love of music unites us,” the host offered from the stage before promising that all performers would be singing live and remembering highlights from past years’ ceremonies.
He also teased a live broadcast from the Broadway musical “Hamilton” facilitated by Stephen Colbert.
The first award to be officially handed out during the broadcast was for Best Rap Album, introduced by Ice Cube and his son and “Straight Outta Compton” star O’Shea Jackson Jr. Kendrick Lamar took home the award for “To Pimp a Butterfly,” beating out the likes of Dr. Dre, Drake and Nicki Minaj.
Lamar, the most nominated artist of the night, also earned four trophies before the show started.
Switching musical gears, Carrie Underwood and Sam Hunt took the stage for the first of the evening’s many team-up performances, working up a mash-up of Hunt’s “Take Your Time” and Underwood’s “Heartbeat.”
The Weeknd followed with a double-header of “Can’t Feel My Face” and “In the Night” before Andra Day and Ellie Goulding teamed up for another duet mash-up of “Rise Up” and “Love Me Like You Do.”
Best Country Album went to Chris Stapleton for his release “Traveller.”
“I’d like to thank Taylor Swift for glitter-bombing me before,” Stapleton joked, referring to the falling glitter during Swift’s opening performance as he accepted his award.
LL Cool J brought out late night host James Corden to introduce a tribute to Person of the Year honoree Lionel Richie, who won his first Album of the Year Grammy 32 years ago.
The medley included performances by John Legend, Demi Lovato, Luke Bryan and more.
Legend kicked things off, belting through “Easy” before handing it off to Lovato for “Hello.”
After Bryan worked through “Penny Lover,” Meghan Trainor got into it with “You Are the Sun, You Are the Rain” and Tyrese followed it up with perennial favorite “Brick House.”
Then it was time for Richie himself to take the stage, leading the super-group through “All Night Long.”
After a performance by Little Big Town of “Girl Crush” in a glowing, white circle surrounded by a string section, Stevie Wonder took the stage with Pentatonix for the first of the evening’s tributes to those the music community has recently lost, saluting Earth Wind and Fire’s Maurice White with “That’s the Way of the World.”
Wonder and company then handed out the Song of the Year award, with the results written in braille so that only Wonder himself would know who won.
Ed Sheeran for “Thinking Out Loud.”
The tributes continued, with the surviving members of the Eagles taking the stage with Jackson Browne to pay their respects to the late Glenn Frey with a rendition of “Take it Easy.”
Then it was back to the Grammy team-ups, with Best New Artist nominees Tori Kelly and James Bay serenading each other with Bay’s “Let it Go” and Kelly’s “Hollow.”
Over the course of a relatively uneventful Grammy night, the theater world easily stole the show on a live broadcast of the opening number of the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton,” direct from New York and led by the show’s star and creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Shortly after, the show won Best Musical Theater Album, and Miranda and company accepted in rhyming style from the stage in New York.
Nomination leader Kendrick Lamar then took the stage as part of a chain gang for a riveting jailhouse rendition of “The Blacker the Berry,” a tribal, flame-licked “Alright” and a strobe-light strafed, lightning-fast new track, bringing down the house and marking one of the most electrifying and pointed performances of the night.
Album of the Year nominees Alabama Shakes won for Best Rock Performance for “I Don’t Want to Fight No More,” with singer Brittany Howard giving a heartfelt acceptance speech.
“This is beautiful, and I promise we’re going to keep going,” she said.
The band later returned to the stage to perform the track.
Fans miffed over the fact that Adele’s “25” wasn’t eligible for any nominations this year got at least a piece of satisfaction when the singer took the stage, introduced by Bruno Mars, to perform “All I Ask.”
Look for her to be collecting a lot of Grammy trophies a year from now.
This year marked the first time Justin Bieber had ever won a Grammy, and he celebrated with a medley performance of “Love Yourself” and “Where Are U Now” with collaborators Skrillex and Diplo.
Last year’s Best New Artist, Sam Smith, was on hand to name this year’s recipient of the award, Meghan Trainor.
A tearful and overjoyed Trainor tried to make it through her acceptance speech.
“I am a mess, I have to go cry,” she concluded.
In one of the night’s more uncomfortable moments, Lady Gaga and Nile Rogers paid tribute to the late David Bowie by trying to cram as many of his hits into as short a time as possible, switching from song to song at breakneck pace.
Speaking of tributes, Bonnie Raitt introduced a tribute to blues legend B.B. King featuring Gary Clarke Jr. and newly minted Grammy winner Stapleton offering a stirring rendition of “The Thrill is Gone.”
Dave Grohl offered a touching tribute — in speech form only — to Motorhead’s Lemmy before introducing the debut of Alice Cooper, Joe Perry and Johnny Depp’s new band, the Hollywood Vampires, featuring ex-members of Guns ‘n’ Roses, screeching feedback and excessive smoke and pyrotechnics.
After showing off an original number, they launched into a tribute to Lemmy with Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades.”
The aging rockers were followed by the much younger Joey Alexander, a 12-year-old jazz pianist and this year’s youngest Grammy nominee.
In one of the evening’s more awkward transitions, Common and Recording Academy president Neil Portnow spoke out against streaming as a poor source of income for artists before leading into the In Memoriam montage.
As previously mentioned, Swift took home Album of the Year, while Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson won Record of the Year for “Uptown Funk,” accepting the award from presenter Beyonce.
For a complete list of winners, click here.