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Wonder and the a cappella group stood at the center of the stage to perform a rendition of “That’s the Way of the World” after Wonder shared a few words about the late artist. “Maurice White, may you rest in eternal bliss and peace,” he said.
The acts then presented the award for song of the year, but Wonder took a moment before announcing the winner, Ed Sheeran‘s “Thinking Out Loud.”
“You can’t read it, you can’t read braille, na na na!” sang Wonder, teasing how only he could read the winner’s name as he paused. Then, to loud cheers, he added, “We need to make every single thing accessible to every single person with a disability.”
It was previously announced that Earth, Wind & Fire, who will be one of the night’s several lifetime achievement award recipients, would pay tribute to White when they present the award for record of the year later in the night. But Wonder and Pentatonix were last-minute additions over the weekend.
On Sunday, Page Six reported that addition was due to pressure from the music industry to diversify the Grammys all-white tribute lineup.
In a year where the usual In Memoriam presentation wouldn’t be enough to honor the stars that music has lost this past year, a handful of the night’s performances were devoted to tributes: Lady Gaga to David Bowie; the Eagles for Glenn Frey; Chris Stapleton, Bonnie Raitt and Gary Clark Jr. to B.B. King; and the Hollywood Vampires (Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper, Duff McKagan and Joe Perry) to Lemmy Kilmister.
Taylor Swift, Adele, Kendrick Lamar and The Weeknd also performed when LL Cool J hosted the Grammy Awards live on CBS from Staples Center in Los Angeles.
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