Music’s biggest night has just graced the world of entertainment, bringing with it an array of stellar performances, talented successes and memorable celebrity moments. The 66th Annual Grammy Awards, hosted by Trevor Noah, rather swiftly became one of the most raved about shows this awards season. From Dua Lipa’s sizzling opening act to Tracy Chapman’s first stage appearance in years and a curation of poignant In Memoriam tributes, the show skirted perfection.
Ahead, we present our pick of the six best performances – in no particular order – at the 2024 Grammys that had the audience immersed in pure wonder.
The red-haired pop star set the stage ablaze with her electrifying opening performance. Employing a metal scaffold construction that visually transfixed the audience, Lipa powered through the stage with her newest songs “Training Season” and “Houdini” – both of which being the first singles from her yet-to-be-titled third studio album. Lipa’s signature formula was on full play as she ushered in her incoming DL3 era, decked out in a black dominatrix-inspired outfit. Of course, she did not miss out on delivering an energetic rendition of her hit song from the Barbie soundtrack which earned her two Grammy nominations. Needless to say, Lipa quite literally “Dance(d) the Night” away!
Eilish’s powerful number “What Was I Made For?” did not only make millions sob in the movies, rather the masterpiece’s influence extended onto awards season – both moving hearts and winning two awards, Song of the Year and Best Song Written for Visual Media. Donning a gorgeous attire that serves as a nod to the 1965 Poodle Parade Barbie, Eilish performed her tear-jerking hit on the Grammys stage while her brother added lustre with the piano. The brother-sister duo were accompanied on stage by a small orchestra, uplifting the overall performance of the much-adored Barbie ballad.
Luke Combs & Tracy Chapman
Since Luke Combs’ cover of Tracy Chapman’s 1988 hit single “Fast Car” left a marvellous mark upon its release last year, the country singer has been anticipating his chance to praise the original maestro. His dream was finally realised atop the Grammys stage – Combs, who rarely makes live performances, joined the country star to perform a stunning duet rendition. It was a raw full-circle moment, and albeit the two singers belonging to different music eras, their duet accented the sheer power of music – how tunes and words carry such brilliance. The mutual respect that Combs and Chapmans shared for each other was so clear, allowing them to simply let loose and enjoy their time onstage. With a standing ovation and praises that were shared in abundance, the duo’s performance was a surprise much welcome.
The sensational songstress entered the awards show as the most-nominated artist with nine nominations, three of which she proceeded to win: Best Progressive R&B Album, Best R&B Song and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. SZA delivered a performance perfectly described as a sultry marvel – against a grungy alley backdrop and a lighted dumpster, the star wooed in a leather trench coat and wide-brimmed hat. Lulling the audience to the yearning tune of “Snooze”, she seamlessly transitioned into her ultra-vengeful “Kill Bill”. With blood-red lighting sheathing her, sword-wielding dancers worked alongside SZA as she crooned her harmonious murder ballad. But, that was not all she had to give – later in the night, SZA surprised on stage with an impressive performance of her yet-to-be-released song, “Saturn,” this time raising an enchanted forest in her midst.
As part of the In Memoriam segment where star-studded homages honoured massive talents, Annie Lennox’s heartfelt paean to the late Sinéad O’Connor brought tears to the eyes. Delivering a passionate rendition of O’Connor’s 1990 famed number, “Nothing Compares 2 U”, the renowned new wave icon amplified her tribute to the pioneering Irish singer by underscoring a matter both are revered for: political activism. As the beautiful ballad came to a close, Lennox, who had a single glitter-decorated tear upon her face, raised her fist in solidarity with Gaza: “Artists for ceasefire! Peace in the world!” A tribute par excellence, Lennox’s performance gracefully showered love on the late O’Connor’s artistry as well as her unwavering advocacy for the Palestinian cause.
Once she received her first-ever and (massively overdue) Grammy win for her funk-influenced single “Flowers”, the pop culture sensation took the stage to perform her record-breaking hit. Swathed in stardom since a very young age as Hannah Montana, Cyrus’ rockstar-raspy vocals have through the years evolved and been accompanied by an array of elements, including steel balls and foam fingers. Though it was when she brought glory to the Grammys stage as her truest self that she shined brighter than ever before – delightfully unpolished, her performance was filled with raw vocals and impressive ad-libs scattered throughout. Dominating the stage in her bedazzling ensemble, she imprinted in everyone’s minds yet again how she has and always will be a show-stopping wonder.
Featured image by recordingacademy on Instagram.