Grammys: 15 Memorable Moments From the 60th Annual Show

9:12 PM 1/28/2018

by Kara Haar, Michael Waters, Zoe Haylock, and Deirdre Durkan

Kendrick Lamar and Kesha give powerful performances, and many more highlights from Sunday night's ceremony.

kendrick lamar and kesha_Performing_Grammys_Split - Getty - H 2018
Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS; Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Kendrick Lamar opened the show with a politically potent performance, James Corden passed out puppies, and Kesha addressed the Time's Up movement with an emotional performance.

The 60th annual Grammy Awards took place on Sunday in New York and were hosted by James Corden.

The Hollywood Reporter complied a list of the most memorable moments from the show.

  • Kesha's Emotional Performance

    Camila Cabello, Cyndi Lauper, Bebe Rexha and more songstresses joined Kesha onstage for a rendition of her song, "Praying." Dressed in all white and carrying white roses, the women made a powerful #MeToo statement. 

    As she sang, Kesha grew more and more emotional until the end of the song, when the women all joined in for a group hug. Kesha's "Praying" was nominated for best pop vocal performance and its album Rainbow was up for best pop vocal album. 

  • Kendrick Lamar's Politically Charged Opener

    Kendrick Lamar opened the awards show with a politically charged performance. Surrounded by men in militaristic uniforms and masks, Lamar began by standing in front of an image of an American flag. He performed his hit “XXX" and was joined onstage by U2's Bono and the Edge.

    The singer shifted into his hit "DNA" with a message behind him that read: "This is a satire by Kendrick Lamar." Each man dressed in a red hoodie around him appeared to be shot down in a likely nod to the black Americans who have been killed by police violence.

    Comedian Dave Chapelle interrupted the performance twice to crack jokes. “The only thing more frightening than watching a black man be honest in America is being an honest black man in America,” he said. “It looks like he’s singing and dancing. But this brother is taking enormous chances.” Fireworks and a standing ovation ended Kendrick's performance.

  • 'Fire and Fury' Spoken Word Auditions

    In a comedy bit with host James Corden, stars including John Legend, Cher, Snoop Dogg, Cardi B and DJ Khaled pretended to audition for a spoken-word album by reading excerpts from Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House

    "Trump won't read anything. He gets up halfway through meetings with world leaders because he is bored," John Legend read.

    The last to recite a passage from the book was surprise guest Hillary Clinton. "One reason why he liked to eat at McDonalds: Nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely premade," Clinton read.

  • Country Stars' Tribute to Gun Violence Victims

    In an emotional tribute, the Brothers Osborne, Eric Church and Maren Morris performed Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven," dedicated to the victims of deadly attacks at concerts over the past year, including the May suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, and the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on Oct. 1 that left 58 dead and 851 injured. Osborne, Church and Morris all performed at that festival.

    Displayed behind the performers on Grammys night were the names of the victims who lost their lives during the attacks.

    "To honor those who lost, we wanted to come together and honor the memory of the music souls so suddenly taken from us," Morris said.

    "May they all rest in piece," John Osborne added. 

  • Pink Gives Scaled-Back But Meaningful Performance

    Unlike her past performances, which have included scaling skyscrapers and acrobatics, Pink took a more simple approach at the Grammys. She took the stage with only a microphone and a sign-language interpreter. Wearing a white, off-the-shoulder T-shirt and blue jeans, the singer performed "Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken." She signed with her hands while singing certain lyrics.

  • Logic's Powerful Performance of "1-800-273-8255"

    After the tribute for all the artists lost in the past year, Logic, Alessia Cara and Khalid performed "1-800-273-8255." The last musician honored in the tribute was Linkin Park's Chester Bennington, who took his own life in 2017. 

    "1-800-273-8255" gets its title from the National Suicide Prevention Hotline phone number. During the performance, the trio was joined onstage by suicide survivors donning white T-shirts emblazoned with the hotline number and positive messages. The track was nominated for song of the year and best music video. At the end of the performance, Logic took a moment to comment on the recent women's empowerment movements, immigration, discrimination and more. 

    Said Logic, "Together we can build not just a better country, but a world that is destined to be united." 

  • Lady Gaga's Emotional Performance

    Dressed in a pink gown, Lady Gaga dedicated her Grammy performance to her father’s late sister, Joanne.

    “This is for love and compassion, even when you can’t understand,” she said.

    She gave an emotionally raw performance playing a white, feathered piano that appeared to symbolize an angel. She sang her single “Million Reasons" and finished the performance by lying on the piano. Near the end of the song, Gaga said, "Time's up," referring to the movement to end sexual harassment in the workplace.

    Gaga has won six Grammy awards and was nominated this year for best pop solo performance for “Million Reasons” and best pop vocal album.

  • Childish Gambino's "Terrified" Performance

    Childish Gambino performed the song "Terrified" from his album "Awaken, My Love!". As Donald Glover, who raps under the name Childish Gambino, belted out the falsetto lyrics, 10-year-old JD McCrary joined him onstage. McCrary is no stranger to working with Glover. He'll be playing the younger version of Glover's character, Simba, in the upcoming Lion King live-action movie. 

    Childish Gambino was nominated for five awards, winning one. 

  • James Corden Hands Out "Consolation Puppies"

    The other best comedy nominees did not go home empty-handed after Dave Chappelle took home the Grammy in that category. Host James Corden handed out "consolation puppies" instead of the coveted gold gramophones — though Corden warned Seinfeld that his puppy had apparently been known to bite.

    Presented by Trevor Noah, the best comedy album Grammy went to Chappelle's The Age of Spin & Deep in the Heart of Texas. In his short speech, Chappelle thanked Netflix, his family, and ended with, "See you on Monday." 

  • Tony Bennett and John Legend Duet on "New York, New York"

    Ten-time Grammy winner John Legend and 18-time Grammy winner Tony Bennett took the stage together to present the first award of the evening, for best rap/sung performance. The duo broke into a rendition of Frank Sinatra's hit "New York, New York." For the first time in 15 years, the Grammy Awards took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Meanwhile, Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna's "LOYALTY" took home the award in the category, beating out Danger Mouse's "Chase Me," Rapsody's "Sassy," Jay-Z's "The Story of O.J." and Cardi B's smash hit "Bodak Yellow."

  • Janelle Monae's Time's Up Moment

    While introducing Kesha's emotional performance, Janelle Monae gave a powerful speech referencing the Time's Up movement. 

    Monae, who has six Grammy nominations from previous years, spoke out against pay inequality, abuse, discrimination and harassment "of any kind." 

    "Time's up for the abuse of power," the singer declared. "You see, it’s not just going on in Hollywood, it’s not just going on in Washington. It’s right here in our industry as well."

  • Bruno Mars Wins Album of the Year

    Bruno Mars took home album of the year, presented by Bono and The Edge, for 24K Magic. Producers Shampoo Press & Curl, engineers and mixers Serban Ghenea, John Hanes and Charles Moniz, and mastering engineer Tom Coyne were all winners as well.

    Mars beat out Childish Gambino's "Awaken, My Love!", Jay-Z's 4:44, Kendrick Lamar's DAMN. and Lorde's Melodrama. Mars began his acceptance speech with a shoutout to his fellow nominees. "You guys are the reason I'm in the studio pulling my hair out," he said. "Thank you guys for blessing the world with your music."

    He dedicated his award to the "heroes" that influenced his music. 

    Mars took home seven awards throughout the night, including song of the year for "That's What I Like" and record of the year for "24K Magic."

  • Bruno Mars and Cardi B Light Up the Stage During "Finesse"

    Bruno Mars and Cardi B got the internet buzzing when their surprise remix of Mars' song "Finesse" dropped. The video takes its inspiration from the '90s TV show In Living Color. Tonight, the two Grammy-nominated artists brought the music video to the stage. Bright lights, geometric shapes and a rainbow of colors accompanied their lively back-and-forth.

    While presenting best comedy album, comedian Trevor Noah couldn't help but comment on the throwback performance. 

    “I love that song. It takes me back, like way back to when Trump wasn’t president," Noah joked.

  • Shaggy and Sting Join James Corden for "Subway Karaoke"

    James Corden invited Sting and Shaggy to join him for a special New York edition of "Carpool Karaoke." "In Los Angeles, we do 'Carpool Karaoke' in the carpool lane. Here in New York we do it a little different," Corden said.

    The three sat on a subway train in New York City with a boom box and miniature guitar while singing Sting and Shaggy's new single "Don't Make Me Wait" along with Shaggy's hit "It Wasn't Me." New York locals on the train started yelling and getting annoyed with the impromptu performance. The skit ended with Corden getting punched in the nose by a construction worker.

    "Whose stupid idea was this?" Corden asked as the three sat back down on the subway seats.

    "Wasn't me," said Shaggy.

  • Rihanna, DJ Khaled and Bryson Tiller's Joined Performance

    The “Wild Thoughts” singer drew the crowd to their feet, as she performed in a festive pink dress with a flower tucked behind her ear along with DJ Khaled and Bryson Tiller.

    Earlier in the evening she joined Kendrick Lamar on stage to accept the best rap/sung performance award for "Loyalty."