GRAM­MYS’ BIG NIGHT FULL OF STYLE AND SUB­STANCE

Boston Herald - - NEWS -

The Gram­mys can re­cruit any­one to open the show. They picked Camila Ca­bello. Don’t know her? You should.

Part big-bud­get Broad­way num­ber, part po­lit­i­cal state­ment, all per­fect pop jam, “Ha­vana” fea­tured Ca­bello, J Balvin, Ricky Martin, Young Thug and trum­pet leg­end Ar­turo San­doval do­ing most en­er­getic Grammy open­ing in a decade. Google it for the song, the set, the backup dancers, the prop news­pa­per with the head­line “Build bridges not walls.”

Last year #Gram­mysSoMale and Grammy pres­i­dent Neil Port­now say­ing “Women need to step up” dom­i­nated con­ver­sa­tion. For the 61st Awards, Academy vot­ers high­lighted de­serv­ing women, artists of color, and pas­sion­ate, pro­gres­sive mu­sic re­sult­ing in a show (mostly) worth watch­ing.

Af­ter Ca­bello set the night’s tone, host Ali­cia Keys with Lady Gaga, J. Lo, Jada Pin­kett Smith and Michelle Obama spoke of the power of mu­sic to keep us danc­ing and fuel so­cial change. To drive home their point, Janelle Monae proved the fu­ture is fe­male and funky with a mashup of “Make Me Feel” and “Pynk” that Prince must have been smil­ing down on. (Bonus points for all “pop” artists from Monae to best R&B al­bum and R&B per­for­mance win­ner H.E.R. pick­ing up gui­tars and ad­ding rock, folk, soul and more to their sounds and eras­ing ar­bi­trary genre lines.)

Look­ing at the lineup you could pre­dict what would be amaz­ing and what would be lousy (beer bong burnout Post Malone and a flat Red Chili Pep­pers). Stuff you need to dig up on YouTube to­day: best rap al­bum champ Cardi B grind­ing on grand pi­ano so hard Madonna might have blushed on “Money,” Dolly Par­ton with half a dozen su­per­stars do­ing ev­ery­thing from “Jo­lene” to “Af­ter the Gold Rush,” and Brandi Carlile per­form­ing “The Joke” like the folk bal­lad, coun­try barn burner, gospel hymn and rock epic it is.

In keep­ing with the sub­stance-and-style theme flash: Early in the night, Child­ish Gam­bino’s “This Is Amer­ica” — a song and video that ex­am­ined the ugly in­ter­sec­tions of race, racism, vi­o­lence, cap­i­tal­ism, art, and en­ter­tain­ment — won best

mu­sic video and rap/sung per­for­mance.

Many more of big­gest, best and most de­serv­ing names in mu­sic took home golden gramo­phones. Maybe the most nu­anced and vis­ceral song­writer work­ing to­day, Carlile, nabbed best Amer­i­can roots per­for­mance, Amer­i­can roots song and Amer­i­cana al­bum. Right be­hind her, Kacey Mus­graves won huge with best coun­try al­bum, coun­try song and coun­try solo per­for­mance awards. Lady Gaga went home with best pop solo per­for­mance, pop duo/ group per­for­mance and song writ­ten for vis­ual me­dia.

AP PHO­TOS

STAR POWER: From left, Lady Gaga, Jada Pin­kett Smith, Ali­cia Keys, Michelle Obama and Jen­nifer Lopez speak at the 61st an­nual Grammy Awards on Sun­day.

Jed GOT­TLIEB

ROCKIN’: Ricky Martin and Camila Ca­bello per­form ‘Ha­vana’ at the Gram­mys.

DY­NAMIC DUO: Mi­ley Cyrus and Shawn Men­des belt out ‘In My Blood.’

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