The Grammys: Bruno Mars sweeps top prizes, winning record, song and album of the year

Bruno Mars won every category in which he was he nominated – in stark contrast to Jay-Z who was up for eight trophies but won none

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 January, 2018, 7:50am
UPDATED : Monday, 29 January, 2018, 12:48pm

Bruno Mars went six for six at the Grammys, winning all of the awards he was nominated for with his energetic and upbeat 90s-inspired R&B album.

Mars won album of the year for “24K Magic,” record of the year for the title track, and song of the year for the No 1 hit, “That’s What I Like,” on Sunday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

“Oh my God. Thank you guys so much. Wow,” said Mars.

Mars has now won 11 career Grammys.

Jay-Z, the leading nominee with eight, walked away empty-handed. He lost in the rap categories to Kendrick Lamar, who won five awards, including best rap album for “DAMN.” and best rap song for “HUMBLE.” He has a career total of 12 Grammys.

“This is special man. I got a lot of guys in this building that I still idolise today,” said Lamar, naming Jay-Z, Nas and Diddy as inspirations.

At the end, Lamar closed with: “Jay for president.”

Lamar kicked off the Grammys with a powerful and poignant performance featuring video screens displaying a waving American flag behind him, as background dancers dressed as army soldiers marched and moved behind. He was joined Sunday by U2’s Bono and The Edge, and also Dave Chappelle – who told jokes in between Lamar’s performance.

At one point, Lamar’s background dancers, dressed in red, were shot down as he rapped lyrics, later coming back to life as fire burst to end the six-minute performance.

But the night’s top performer was Kesha, who gave a passionate performance with the help of powerful women behind her, including the Resistance Revival Chorus.

She was joined by Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, Julia Michaels, Andra Day and Bebe Rexha for her Grammy-nominated song, “Praying.” Dressed in white, they won over the audience and hugged at the song’s end as some audience members cried, including Hailee Steinfeld.

Kesha, who earned her first pair of Grammy nominations this year, has been in a legal war with former producer and mentor Dr Luke. Janelle Monae introduced the performance with strong words.

“We come in peace but we mean business. To those who would dare try to silence us, we offer two words: Time’s Up,” Monae said. “It’s not just going on in Hollywood. It’s not just going on in Washington. It’s here in our industry, too.”

Before the performance, Maren Morris, Eric Church and Brothers Osborne performed an emotional rendition of Eric Clapton’s “Tears In Heaven” – written after his son died – in honour of the 58 people who died at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas last year. The names of the victims were displayed behind them as they performed.

The performances were two of the show’s serious moments. Dozens of artists and music industry players also sported white roses in support of the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements against sexual abuse and harassment.

“Black is beautiful, hate is ugly,” rapper Logic said onstage after performing suicide prevention attention “1-800-273-8255.” The performance, also with Alessia Cara and Khalid, included a group of suicide attempt and loss survivors selected by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Sting’s performance was somewhat political as he sang his 1987 song, “Englishman in New York,” which includes the lyrics, “Oh, I’m an alien, I’m a legal alien, I’m an Englishman in New York.”

Mars gave an energetic and colourful performance of “Finesse” with breakthrough rapper Cardi B; Pink was a vocal powerhouse while she sang “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken”; and Rihanna, DJ Khaled and Bryson Tiller teamed up for a vibrant performance of “Wild Thoughts.”

Cara, who was shaking as she accepted the award for best new artist, beat out SZA, Julia Michaels, Khalid and Lil Uzi Vert.

“Thank you to my parents and my brother for believing in me,” she said, also urging the crowd to “support real music and real artists because everyone deserves the same shot.”

Chris Stapleton won three awards, including best country album, best country song and best country solo performance.

“We always try to make great records … and I guess this is a testament to that,” Stapleton said.

The Rolling Stones picked up their third career Grammy – for best traditional blues album for “Blue & Lonesome,” while Ed Sheeran won best pop vocal album. Emmy and Golden Globe winner Childish Gambino, who picked up best traditional R&B performance, gave a smooth and sultry performance of “Terrified” in all-white featuring screeching high notes. Gambino was joined by young singer-actor, JD McCrary, who matched his vocals and sings on the original track.

Little Big Town, who sang their Taylor Swift-penned No. 1 hit “Better Man,” also won best country duo/group performance with the song. Lady Gaga won over the audience with a rousing performance of the songs “Joanne” and “Million Reasons,” while Sam Smith gave a powerful performance of the song “Pray

The Weeknd, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Reba McEntire, LCD Soundsystem, Portugal the Man and Shakira also won early awards. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, both Oscar and Tony winners, won best musical theatre album for “Dear Evan Hansen,” shared with Tony winner Ben Platt.

Chappelle won best comedy album during the televised show.

“I am honoured to win an award, finally, and I wanted to thank everyone at Netflix, at ‘Saturday Night Live,’ at ‘The Chappelle Show,’” he said.

Puppies were passed to the losers of best comedy album, including Jerry Seinfeld, Sarah Silverman and Jim Gaffigan.

Posthumous Grammys were also handed out to actress Carrie Fisher, singer Leonard Cohen and engineer Tom Coyne, who worked on Mars’ “24K Magic” album. Double winners included Jason Isbell, Justin Hurwitz and CeCe Winans.

The winners in key categories

Album of the Year: Bruno Mars, “24K Magic”

Record of the Year (for overall performance of a song): Bruno Mars, “24K Magic”

Song of the Year (for songwriting): Bruno Mars along with songwriters Brody Brown, James Fauntleroy and Philip Lawrence and production team The Stereotypes, “That’s What I Like”

Best New Artist: Alessia Cara

Best Pop Vocal Album: Ed Sheeran, “Divide”

Best Pop Solo Performance: Ed Sheeran, “Shape of You”

Best Rap Album: Kendrick Lamar, “DAMN.”

Best Rap Song: Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.”

Best Rap Performance: Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.”

Best Rap/Sung Performance: Kendrick Lamar featuring Rihanna, “LOYALTY.”

Best R&B Album: Bruno Mars, “24K Magic”

Best R&B Song: Bruno Mars, “That’s What I Like”

Best R&B Performance: Bruno Mars, “That’s What I Like”

Best Rock Album: The War on Drugs, “A Deeper Understanding”

Best Rock Performance: Leonard Cohen, “You Want It Darker”

Best Alternative Music Album: The National, “Sleep Well Beast”

Best World Music Album: Ladysmith Black Mambazo, “Shaka Zulu Revisited: 30th Anniversary Celebration”

Best Dance/Electronic Album: Kraftwerk, “3-D The Catalogue”

Best Music Video: Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.”

Best Country Album: Chris Stapleton, “From a Room, Volume 1”

(Note: the SCMP’s live coverage of the Grammy Awards, seen below, has now concluded )

11.02pm Eastern time) 12.02pm HK time): Bruno Mars on Sunday completed a sweep of the top three awards at the Grammys as he won Album of the Year for his fun-loving “24K Magic.”

The Hawaii-born artist’s third studio album, which generated hits including the title track, won out in a category that had included a record three hip-hop nominees including Jay-Z’s “4:44” and Kendrick Lamar’s “DAMN.”

10.35pm Eastern time (11.35am HK time): Bruno Mars is the winner of the Grammy Award for record of the year for “24K Magic”, adding to his song of the year trophy for “That’s What I Like”.

It is Mars’ fifth win, and he gave a shout-out to his father. Mars says, “My father, if you’re watching this, dad I love you. Look at me pop, I’m at the Grammys right now!”

Mars is having a big night, previously performing his song “Finesse” with Cardi B.

He beat out several other top nominees, including Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar, for the record of the year honour.

10.10pm Eastern time (11.10am HK time): In one of the more striking moments of a pointedly political Grammy Awards, host James Corden gathered celebrity readers – including Hillary Clinton – to read from Michael Wolfe’s bestseller “Fire and Fury” about US President Donald Trump’s White House.

In a pre-taped segment, Corden said a shoo-in winner to next year’s Grammys would be the audiobook recording to “Fire and Fury”.

Snoop Dogg, John Legend and Cardi B were among those who tried reading from Wolfe’s book. Cardi B said: “He lives his life like this?!”

But the star cameo was Clinton who read a brief excerpt from the book.

Earlier in the broadcast, U2 performed in front of the Statue of Liberty. And Camila Cabello spoke passionately as “a proud Cuban-Mexican born in Havana” on behalf of immigrants. Cabello said, “This country was built by dreamers for dreamers chasing the American dream.”

10pm Eastern time (11am HK time): Bruno Mars is the winner of the Grammy Award for best song of the year for his hit “That’s What I Like”.

Mars beamed as he accepted the award and thanked a group of men he said helped him create the song.

It is Mars’ fourth win on Sunday. He also won for best R&B song and best R&B performance for “That’s What I Like,” and best R&B album for “24K Magic”.

9.50pm Eastern time (10.50am HK time): Kesha has performed the song “Praying” after a powerful introduction from Janelle Monae. Monae said she is standing in solidarity with all young women in entertainment, “and to those who would dare try and silence us, we offer you two words: Time’s Up.”

She continued to say that time is up on pay inequality, discrimination, harassment and abuses of power. Kesha was joined onstage by a chorus of women, including Bebe Rexha, Andra Day and Cyndi Lauper.

9.30pm Eastern time (10.30am HK time): Three artists who performed at a country music festival that became the site of the deadliest mass shooting in US modern history honoured those music fans lost at deadly concert attacks with a tearful performance at the Grammy Awards.

Country artists Eric Church, Maren Morris and Brothers Osborne delivered a moving performance of Eric Clapton’s Grammy winning classic “Tears in Heaven”.

Church seemed to struggle to speak before the performance, and Morris’ microphone did not work during most of her remarks. Church said: “All of country music was reminded in the most tragic way then connection we share with fans and the loving power that music will always provide.”

The artists put their own spin on the mournful song in honour of the victims at the Route 91 Harvest Festival last October in Las Vegas, as well as a bombing outside an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, in May.

9.25pm Eastern time (10.25am HK time): Chris Stapleton is the winner of the Grammy Award for best country album.

Stapleton won for his album “From a Room: Vol. 1.”

It is the country singer’s third Grammy win on Sunday. He also won for best country solo performance for “Either Way” and best country song for “Broken Halos.”

9pm Eastern time (10am HK time): Dave Chappelle has won best comedy album at the 90th Grammy Awards for his first comedy album in more than 12 years.

Chappelle was presented with the award Sunday for the double album of his two Netflix specials, “The Age of Spin” and “Deep in the Heart of Texas”.

Chappelle won over Jim Gaffigan, Sarah Silverman, Jerry Seinfeld and Kevin Hart. Chappelle also joined Kendrick Lamar, Bono and the Edge for the broadcast’s opening number. He later presented the award for best rap album to Lamar.

8.55pm Eastern time (9.55am HK time): Bruno Mars and Cardi B took it back to the 90s with their performance of their hit song “Finesse,” a throwback homage with elements of “In Living Color”, New Jack Swing and R&B all thrown in together.

Mars, who won three Grammy awards already and was nominated for three more, including album and record and song of the year, showed off his dance moves with his backing band in colourful matching outfits. Cardi B, the flamboyant rapper behind the mega hit “Bodak Yellow” added her own flair to the performance as well with her rapping and dancing.

8.40pm Eastern time (9.40am HK time): Kendrick Lamar is the winner of the Grammy Award for best rap album. Lamar won for his album “DAMN.” It’s been a big night for Lamar, who won five Grammy Awards, including three during a pre-telecast ceremony. Lamar also opened the show with a blistering performance of several of his songs from the album.

8.42am (9.42am): A partial list of winners in the top categories at the Grammy Awards.

– Best new artist: Alessia Cara.

– Best solo performance: “Shape of You,” Ed Sheeran.

– Best pop duo/group performance: “Feel It Still,” Portugal. The Man.

– Best traditional pop vocal album: “Tony Bennett Celebrates 90,” various artists.

– Best pop vocal album: – “Divide,” Ed Sheeran.

– Best rock album: “A Deeper Understanding,” The War on Drugs.

– Best alternative music album: “Sleep Well Beast,” The National.

– Best rap song: “HUMBLE.,” Kendrick Lamar.

– Best rap performance: Kendrick Lamar.

– Best urban contemporary album: “Starboy” – The Weeknd.

– Best R&B album: “24K Magic,” Bruno Mars.

– Best R&B performance: Bruno Mars.

– Best R&B song: “That’s What I Like,” Bruno Mars.

– Best rap album: “DAMN.,” Kendrick Lamar.

– Best dance/electronic album: “3D The Catalogue.”

– Best jazz vocal album: “Dreams And Daggers,” Cecile McLorin Salvant.

– Best jazz instrumental album: “Rebirth,” Billy Childs.

– Best compilation soundtrack for visual media: “La La Land.”

– Best music video: “HUMBLE.,” Kendrick Lamar.

8.35pm (9.35am HK time): Writer-director-actor Donald Glover has performed at the Grammy Awards as his musical alter-ego, Childish Gambino.

Wearing a white suit and backed by a four-piece band, Glover as Gambino sang “Terrified” from his album “Awaken My Love.” Childish Gambino was nominated for five Grammys Sunday, including album of the year.

Glover/Gambino won a Grammy during the pre-telecast ceremony. Glover also won two Emmy awards last year, for acting and directing his TV series “Atlanta.” His Grammy win Sunday brings him halfway to EGOT status – the title given to those who’ve won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award.

8.30pm Eastern time (9.30am HK time): Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee are performing their hit “Despacito” at the Grammy Awards. The song has become one of the biggest global hits of all time, and its video is the world’s most popular, with five billion views.

“Despacito” is up for three Grammys Sunday, including song of the year and record of the year. The performance brought the crowd to its feet, with some audience members filming the act on their cell phones and singing along.

Host James Corden joked that he had never heard the song before and Fonsi and Daddy Yankee should get it on the radio.

8.15pm Eastern time (9.15am HK time): Gary Clark Jnr and Jon Batiste are performing a tribute to Chuck Berry and Fats Domino on the Grammy Awards.

Batiste sat at the piano and kicked things off on vocals with Domino’s “Ain’t That a Shame.” Clark followed on the guitar with Berry’s “Maybelline.”

Clark thanked the two late entertainers “for all the music that you made possible.”

Batiste and Clark then presented the pop solo award to Ed Sheeran for “Shape of You.”

Sheeran did not attend Sunday’s ceremony.

The Grammys: white roses give red carpet a #MeToo moment

8pm Eastern time (9am HK time): Alessia Cara is the winner of the Grammy Award for best new artist, and though she says she’s dreamed of the honour for her whole life, she doesn’t have a speech planned.

Cara nervously accepted the award Sunday evening and urged people to “support real music and real artists.”

Cara said at the beginning of her speech: “I’ve been like pretend winning Grammys since I was kid like in the shower, so you’d think I have the speech thing down but I absolutely don’t … My mind is blown.”

7.45pm Eastern time (8.45am HK time): Kendrick Lamar is the winner of the Grammy Award for best rap/sung performance.

Lamar, who opened the Grammy Awards with a blistering performance, won for his song “Loyalty,” which also features Rihanna.

Lamar accepted the award from John Legend and Tony Bennett. He said upon receiving the award, “This is love.”

Rihanna thanked Lamar for giving her the opportunity to work on the song.

It is the fourth Grammy Award that Lamar won on Sunday, after picking up three in the pre-show.

Lamar had opened the 60th Grammy Awards in blistering style with a performance of “XXX” from his album “DAMN.”

An image of an American flag flickered behind him and an army of dancers accompanied him onstage.

Host James Corden said on the red carpet before the show that viewers could expect “the most unique and bold opening you could ever imagine.”

U2’s Bono and The Edge joined Lamar on stage before the rapper transitioned into “DNA.”

Lady Gaga quickly followed Lamar by performing her songs “Joanne” and “Million Reasons.”

In a nod to the growing women’s movement against sexual abuse, Gaga – who has spoken of being raped – whispered from the piano: “Time’s up.”

6.50pm Eastern time (7.50am HK time): Bruno Mars and Kendrick Lamar are walking into Grammy Awards with three wins each, putting them as favourites for top awards like album and record of the year, while legendary singer Leonard Cohen was posthumously honoured with his first Grammy.

Mars won best R&B album, best R&B performance and best R&B song in the pre-telecast portion of the awards ceremony on Sunday in New York City.

Lamar, whose medley later kicked off the show, picked up best rap album, best rap performance and best music video.

Posthumous Grammys were also handed out to actress Carrie Fisher (best spoken word album, “The Princess Diarist”), singer Cohen (Best Rock Performance for “You Want It Darker”) and engineer Tom Coyne, who worked on Mars’ “24K Magic” album.

Cohen, while a major figure in pop culture and literature, had few hits in the traditional sense and throughout his life was shut out of the Grammys, the premier gala of the US-based music industry.

He died in November.

Fisher, who died in 2016, was also honoured with her first Grammy.

Double winners included Jason Isbell, Justin Hurwitz, CeCe Winans and Chris Stapleton.

“This is unbelievable,” Stapleton said onstage.

The Rolling Stones picked up the third Grammy of their career – for best traditional blues album for “Blue & Lonesome”, while Ed Sheeran won best pop vocal album. Emmy and Golden Globe winner Childish Gambino picked up best traditional R&B performance.

The Weeknd, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Little Big Town, Reba McEntire, LCD Soundsystem, Portugal the Man and Shakira also won early awards.

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, both Oscar and Tony winners, won best musical theatre album for “Dear Evan Hansen”, shared with Tony winner Ben Platt.

Lamar beat out Jay-Z for the three awards he won.

And the Grammys are almost guaranteeing that this year will be historic: four of the five album of the year nominees are rap and R&B-based albums from black or Latino artists. The other big awards of the night – song and record of the year – also are dominated by hip-hop, R&B and Latin music.

It comes a year after The Recording Academy was heavily criticised when Adele won album of the year over Beyoncé.

“Lemonade” was seen as an album that moved the needle and dominated pop culture in different ways than Adele’s colossal sales.

Critics felt the Academy failed to recognise the creative and artistic elements of an R&B-based album, in the same ways they have passed over albums by Kanye West, Eminem and Mariah Carey over the years for projects by rock, country and jazz artists.

Associated Press, Agence France-Presse