An award show that is three and a half hours long is an award show that is in dire need of an editor. Like many people, I felt that the Grammy Awards ceremony on Sunday night dragged on forever, and when someone who enjoys watching baseball on TV thinks that a program is boring, you know it’s a real issue.
Three and a half hours is always going to be too long, but this year it felt worse because of the overwhelming number of performances that were ballads. If the songs had been more upbeat and the atmosphere had been more energetic, watching might have felt less like a chore.
A lot of the performances weren’t even relevant to the night’s awards and could have easily been cut to save time or allow those who were actually nominated (like Lorde) to perform. Here’s how I would have edited the show. If you still have the ceremony saved on your DVR, read on to see what performances you should watch and what you should skip.
KENDRICK LAMAR – “XXX”
WATCH. Lamar’s performances are always memorable and electric. Plus, he is a nominee in multiple categories that will be presented later on, so he’s one to keep an eye out for.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
LADY GAGA – “Joanne”/“A Million Reasons”
WATCH. Ideally, skip the first part (Joanne) and try to find out where she transitions into “Million Reasons.” “Joanne” is the first of the night’s many boring ballads. “Million Reasons” is also slow, but it’s a nominee for Best Pop Solo Performance.
SAM SMITH – “Pray”
SKIP. He’s not nominated, and it’s another ballad with nothing added to make the performance interesting. If he had to perform, it should have been one of his hits.
LITTLE BIG TOWN – “Better Man”
MAYBE WATCH. The group is nominated for multiple Grammys for this song, which Taylor Swift wrote, but if that doesn’t interest you, feel free to skip ahead.
JON BATISTE/GARY CLARK, JR. – Fats Domino and Chuck Berry Tribute
WATCH. This upbeat tribute was one of the most enjoyable moments of the night. I prefer award show tributes to those who have passed to be celebrations of their work, and this one delivered.
LUIS FONSI/DADDY YANKEE – “Despacito”
WATCH. While it is nice to finally have this song performed by both of its artists on American primetime TV, it didn’t have the energy that I was hoping for, and they were both out of breath at times. That being said, the song is up for multiple awards, so the performance is a must-watch.
CHILDISH GAMBINO – “Terrified”
WATCH. I’m not sure why he chose to perform this song over “Redbone,” but Donald Glover’s vocals are very impressive and seeing his Lando Calrissian mustache has made me more excited for the Han Solo movie than anything else so far. He’s nominated in multiple categories tonight, so this is a must watch for that and also for a sneak peek at the extremely talented kid who will play young Simba in the live-action Lion King movie.
PINK – “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken”
SKIP. Another boring performance of a ballad that is not nominated for anything. Her song “What About Us” is actually up for an award and would have been a bit more upbeat.
(SUBWAY) CARPOOL KARAOKE SKIT
SKIP. It’s too long and not funny. You’re not missing anything.
BRUNO MARS/CARDI B – “Finesse”
WATCH. Bruno is up for multiple awards, and this is one of the rare performances of the night that has a ton of energy. And to top it all off, it’s ‘90s nostalgia overload, which is always a plus in my book.
STING/SHAGGY – “Englishman In New York/Don’t Make Me Wait”
SKIP. Why was this necessary? They were both in the carpool karaoke skit, and now they get to perform a medley when they’re not even nominated. Why didn’t Lorde get this spot?
DJ KHALED/RIHANNA/BRYSON TILLER – “Wild Thoughts”
MAYBE WATCH. It’s more upbeat than the majority of the songs, but it’s not nominated, and the performance felt like it was lacking something. Still, it was one of the more visually interesting performances of the night, which is saying something about the show as a whole.
MAREN MORRIS/ERIC CHURCH/BROTHERS OSBORNE – “Tears In Heaven”
WATCH. This tribute to the victims of the Los Vegas shooting was not as emotional as I was expecting, but it is still worth watching.
Theo Wargo/Getty Images
KESHA – “Praying”
WATCH. This was hands-down the most emotional performance of the night and is going to be talked about for weeks to come.
U2 – “Get Out Of Your Own Way”
SKIP. Just like Sting, U2 wasn’t nominated, so why was this needed? It feels like the Grammys are pandering to an older audience with these performances. If you need older viewers that badly, why don’t you nominate these artists you presume they listen to?
SPOKEN WORD ALBUM SKIT
WATCH. This is the most controversial skit of the night. If you aren’t already spoiled, watch it so you know what everyone is buzzing about.
ELTON JOHN/MILEY CYRUS – “Tiny Dancer”
SKIP. I love Elton John, but again, this was not necessary. The Grammy producers might think that older people will enjoy this, but you know what else old people like? Going to be early! Cut this filler out, and we could have this show down to 3 hours easily.
BEN PLATT – “Somewhere”
SKIP. As a theater kid, I hate to say this, but you can go ahead and skip this performance as well. This performance was to honor the great Leonard Bernstein who would have turned 100 this year, but the performance was pitchy and underwhelming. I wish Platt would have sung something from the “Dear Evan Hansen” album, which won earlier, instead.
PATTI LUPONE – “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina”
WATCH. I’m a hypocrite because this goes against all the advice I’ve given so far. It’s not nominated, it’s a ballad, but it’s a Broadway legend singing a legendary song in the same key she sung it in almost 40 years ago. It’s show stopping and amazing.
SZA – “Broken Clocks”
WATCH. This performance is a little underwhelming, but SZA was nominated in multiple categories and is someone I think is destined to return to the Grammy stage.
CHRIS STAPLETON/EMMYLOU HARRIS – “Wildflowers”
MAYBE WATCH. This was not the Tom Petty tribute I necessarily wanted, but it was nice and segued into the In Memoriam segment.
LOGIC/ALESSIA CARA/KHALID – “1-800-273-8255”
WATCH. Performances of this song are always touching, even if they are always the same. Plus, it was nominated for Best Song, so even if it didn’t win it is worth a watch.
And that’s the show! Did you have a favorite performance? Let us know in the comments!