A METHOD TO THEIR MADNESS

Mother Mon­ster re­turned big time, Janelle Monáe mes­mer­ized and Brandi Carlile shouted with a whis­per. Some of the win­ning Grammy per­for­mances Sun­day:

Los Angeles Times - - THE GRAMMYS -

Lady Gaga sang an emo­tional ren­di­tion of “Shal­low” at the Grammy Awards, turn­ing the duet from the Os­car-nom­i­nated film “A Star Is Born” into an al­lGaga af­fair that fur­ther pro­pelled Sun­day’s per­for­mance-driven tele­cast.

The singer re­turned to her fierce pop roots, and un­like her film al­ter ego, Gaga did not shy from the cam­era. In­stead she em­braced the ex­treme close-ups and dance el­e­ments of the song, opt­ing for glitz on the smoke­filled stage rather than the stripped-down per­for­mance of the sin­gle. — Nardine Saad Janelle Monáe: Dressed in black-and-white rubber, Monáe com­manded more than a pi­anist for her fre­netic, mes­mer­iz­ing take on “Make Me Feel.”

Few con­tem­po­rary artists com­mand a stage as con­fi­dently as Monáe, and her pre­cisely chore­ographed per­for­mance served as a re­minder. In her first Gram­mys tele­cast in 2011, she joined Bruno Mars and B.o.B. for a med­ley. Fit­tingly, on a night when women owned the stage — as per­form­ers and win­ners — Monáe was solo, front and cen­ter, singing the “Make Me Feel” lyrics: “It's like I'm pow­er­ful with a lit­tle bit of ten­der/An emo­tional sex­ual bender/Mess me up, yeah, but no one does it bet­ter/ There's nothin' bet­ter.”

The same could be said of her Grammy set. — Ran­dall Roberts Camila Ca­bello: In an ex­tra­or­di­nary year for Latin mu­sic, the Gram­mys asked Ca­bello to kick off the tele­cast. Her zesty, col­or­ful “Ha­vana” was a fine start for the tele­cast, the per­for­mance open­ing in­side a neon­lighted bed­room set that, within a minute, dropped her out into a Ha­vana street scene.

She was joined by the im­mac­u­lately dressed Young Thug for his verse, along with peer J Balvin and stan­dard-bear­ing Cuban trum­peter Ar­turo San­doval.

Bonus points to Ricky Martin, who emerged at the end of her show with a new rak­ish mus­tache and a wel­com­ing nod of recog­ni­tion from one Latin-pop cross­over hit to an­other. — Au­gust Brown

Brandi Carlile: She sent a pow­er­ful mes­sage at the Gram­mys on Sun­day: Some­times less re­ally is more.

On a cav­ernous stage filled with just her band and the soft­est of spot­lights, the Amer­i­cana dar­ling bran­dished an acous­tic gui­tar for an un­var­nished ver­sion of “The Joke,” which was up for song and record of the year. The ac­com­pa­ny­ing album, “By the Way, I For­give You,” also was up for album of the year and scored Carlile three awards in the Amer­i­cana cat­e­gories in the pre-tele­cast cer­e­mony. — James Reed Dua Lipa, St. Vin­cent: The tag team per­for­mance by Bri­tish dream pop singer Dua Lipa and St. Vin­cent — teased dur­ing a com­mer­cial break as “two ex­cit­ing artists shar­ing one Grammy mo­ment” — saw them con­nect­ing as if mir­ror im­ages of each other.

With match­ing black bobs, they moved through a med­ley of St. Vin­cent’s Masse­duc­tion and Lipa’s hit with Calvin Har­ris, “One Kiss,” and did so as if hop­ing to mass-se­duce all 25 mil­lion or so view­ers. — Ran­dall Roberts Travis Scott: The Gram­mys couldn’t get Don­ald Glover or Kendrick La­mar to per­form, but Travis Scott brought enough guests to the stage for the both of them. Scott’s mini-med­ley started re­gally, with guest vo­cal turns from James Blake and Philip Bai­ley (of Earth, Wind & Fire) for Scott’s “Stop Try­ing to Be God.” But soon enough, dozens of dancers rushed the stage to head-bang and cir­cle-pit or climb a mesh cube, where Travis rapped “No By­standers” from the in­side.

Scott’s per­for­mance was in line with his mosh­ing, noise-driven solo sets where he art­fully trans­lates that base­ment-show en­ergy onto arena stages. He makes aggression poignant, and me­lan­choly melodies feel all­con­sum­ing. No box can con­tain him, and this one didn’t ei­ther. At the end, he too scaled the cube and dove off the side to crowd-surf. If the Gram­mys couldn’t land many of rap’s big­gest names tonight, Scott did his best to help carry the genre on his own shoul­ders. — Au­gust Brown

Robert Gau­thier

CAMILA CA­BELLO is joined by Ricky Martin for a per­for­mance of her hit “Ha­vana.” Martin’s ap­pear­ance was a nod from one Latin-pop cross­over star to an­other.

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