Live Blog: 2017 Grammy Awards
Sunday, February 12, 2017
This is NPR Music's live blog of the 2017 Grammy Awards. The telecast of the awards show is scheduled to run from 8:00 until 11:30 p.m. ET. We'll be here the whole time, updating this post with every award or performance.
11:39 p.m. Aaaaaaand Adele picks up the last award of the night, Album of the Year, for 25. As she did in 2012, she won all three of the night's top awards, but this year there's an asterisk, and Adele acknowledges what everybody's thinking by insisting she can't accept an award that should have gone to Beyonce's Lemonade, then sort of accepts the award anyway. It's a genuinely emotional speech, a slightly confusing moment, and the 59th Grammy Awards end with something of a whimper. --Jacob Ganz
11:36 p.m. The show's running long, so Tim McGraw and Faith Hill dispensing with pleasantries in announcing that Adele has won yet another award, Record of the Year for "Hello." This time she lets Greg Kurstin (who also won Producer of the Year, Non-Classical) give the first speech, then thanks her manager and asks Beyonce to be her mom. Bey just has one last chance. --Jacob Ganz
11:25 p.m. Now the In Memoriam segment, which — we don't have to tell you how many great ones we lost in the last year. --Jacob Ganz
11:22 p.m. In his annual address to the Grammy audience, Recording Academy president Neil Portnow jumped softly into the political fray, referencing things — I think he's talking about music — that bring us together and help to cohere our "more perfect union." Then, predictably, Portnow called for reforms to the consent decrees which dictate songwriter remuneration and copyright laws that regulate usage of music. --Andrew Flanagan
11:15 p.m. Chance the Rapper, laser-focused and as charismatic as ever after wins for Best Rap Album and Best New Artist, delivers the dense and timely verses of "How Great" — "Devil will win employee of the month by the dozen / 'Til one score and three years from the third when he doesn't / My village raised 'em a child, come through the crib and it's bustin' / You meet anyone from my city, they gon' say that we cousins" — into "All We Got" with a full church choir, which made the pair, from Coloring Book, as beautifully dense live as they are on record. --Andrew Flanagan
11:10 p.m. The guy James Corden just asked to get up from his folding chair is Max Martin, who writes every single hit you hear on the radio and barely ever gives interviews. It's unclear if Corden knew who he'd displaced. --Jacob Ganz
10:55 p.m. The long-awaited Grammy tribute to Prince kicks off with a performance by The Time, meant to evoke the moment when "Purple Rain" was performed at the Minneapolis club First Avenue. After a short set, Morris Day and his crew roll off stage as the studio recording of Prince leading off "Let's Go Crazy" plays before lights go up on Bruno Mars and his band, in Revolution drag. Mars kills. He's as prepared as ever — no flubs here — but he's like a Westworld host in eyeliner: the definition of the next best thing. --Jacob Ganz
10:50 p.m. Solange (who made NPR Music's favorite record last year) introduced A Tribe Called Quest alongside Anderson.Paak and Busta Rhymes performing a medley that kicked off with "Can I Kick It?" before Busta Rhymes popped up to thank "President Agent Orange and his unsuccessful attempt at a Muslim ban" before moving into "We The People" from Tribe's newest record, We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service. Q-Tip ended the utterly monumental performance with repeated calls to "resist" — it was the most fervently and successfully political presentation of the night so far. --Andrew Flanagan
10:39 p.m. Adele wins another trophy, for Song of the Year — the award for songwriters, as opposed to recording artists — calling it her "favorite song that she's ever done." Adele beat out Beyonce and ... some other folks for the award. It's her fourteenth Grammy award. --Andrew Flanagan
10:33 p.m. Nothing against Carly Rae Jepsen or Little Yachty, but the sole reason this Target-sponsored, Mike Will Made It-produced remake of "It Takes Two" exists is the parade of products in the background that I will decline to mention here. --Jacob Ganz
10:29 p.m. While we're all singing along to this Bee Gees tribute (and imagining who we'd book to perform in place of Tori Kelly, Demi Lovato, Little Big Town and Andra Day, who were the Grammy's picks), here's the moment when we remind you that there's an hour left in the show and just the three big awards left to go: Record, Song and Album of the year. --Jacob Ganz
10:18 p.m. Normally, Sturgill Simpson's live show is furious to the point of being unintelligible, but he shows some restraint on this version of "All Around You" backed by The Dap-Kings (whose former band-leader, Sharon Jones, was memorialized by Dwight Yoakam in the introduction to this performance). --Jacob Ganz
10:13 p.m. James Hetfield (sporting a GBH patch on his denim vest — ups to street punks!) shreds his guitar — with an initially inactive mic — while Lady Gaga body-shreds on a furious kick of "Moth Into Flame." There were actual flames; along with the moth tattoo that covered Gaga's back, the moths seemed to be the GQ-cum-grunge stage dancers. --Andrew Flanagan
10:05 p.m. Chance The Rapper picks up his 3rd Grammy of the night, beating his collaborator Kanye West, along with Drake, DJ Khaled, Schoolboy Q, De La Soul for Best Rap Album. In his acceptance speech, Chance shouts out SoundCloud rather than Apple Music, where he exclusively released Coloring Book last year. --Jacob Ganz
9:56 p.m. Adele just stopped her tentative performance of "Fastlove," the show's tribute to the late George Michael, as it was getting going, swearing, apologizing and mouthing "f---" before jumping back into the 1996 hit. "I don't want to do this like last year," she said, referencing her performance at last year's ceremony. It's really live, folks. --Andrew Flanagan
9:50 p.m. Maren Morris and Alicia Keys sing the heck out of Morris' "Once," from her debut, Hero. --Jacob Ganz
9:39 p.m. Bell and Clark present the nominees for the Best Urban Contemporary Album, which goes to Beyonce for Lemonade. Given that she's going up against Adele, who completely dominated the last Grammys she was eligible for, in 2012, the Grammys know that this is their one guarantee to show Beyonce winning an award. She seems to know it too, with a touching prepared speech which underlines her purpose in making Lemonade: to highlight "the profundity of deep Southern culture" and to give black children, including her own, images of great (and award-winning) art by people who look like them. --Jacob Ganz
9:36 p.m. Gary Clark and William Bell (who won for Best Americana Album tonight) perform the blues standard "Born Under a Bad Sign," written by Bell and Booker T. Jones and first recorded by Albert King in 1967 for Stax Records. --Andrew Flanagan
9:32 p.m. Katy Perry performs new single "Chained To The Rhythm" with Skip Marley in front of a set that might reference Alyson Shotz's Mirror Fence. (Not sure whether or not Katy Perry standing in front of the preamble to the Constitution counts as a political statement.) --Andrew Flanagan
9:18 p.m. You knew he'd reference Car Pool Karaoke, and he pretended to be doing so under duress, but host James Corden's pileup of stars — John Legend, Jennifer Lopez, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, Ryan Tedder and Neil Diamond — in a mini-version of Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" was pretty uninspired up until the very last moment, when Beyonce and Jay Z's daughter, Blue Ivy Carter ran up alongside the cardboard car cutout. Best moment of the entire gimmick was the look on Blue Ivy's face when Corden announced that the next performance would be from Bruno Mars. --Jacob Ganz
9:15 p.m. Best Country Music Performance goes to newcomer Maren Morris, whose first record debuted at the top of Billboard's Country Albums Chart. Out of four nominations, this is the last for her tonight and the only win. --Andrew Flanagan
9:10 p.m. Dev Hynes, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Snoop Dogg cameo in the most bizarre ad for sneakers (right?) I've ever seen, featuring a hearty choral cover of Frank Sinatra's "My Way." --Andrew Flanagan
8:56 p.m. Beyoncé's Grammy unveiling comes courtesy of an introduction from her mother, Tina Knowles, and moves quickly into a video-assisted performance of "Love Drought" from Lemonade, which prominently features her pregnant stomach (she's having twins, but you probably already knew that), along with a carpet of flowers, dozens of dancers and a headpiece that looks like a halo from a medieval painting of a saint.
That's followed by a seated performance of "Sandcastles." Beyoncé is scheduled to headline Coachella in April, though some have speculated that her pregnancy will keep her from that stage. We may have just seen a preview of how she'll pull it off. --Jacob Ganz
8:50 p.m. David Bowie wins his fifth award of the night for Best Rock Song for "Blackstar." Before tonight, the iconic rock star had only one one Grammy, for a short-form music video in 1984. Bowie, who died in January 2016, has won every category he's been nominated in so far. --Andrew Flanagan
8:43 p.m. On stage, Ed Sheeran channeled reggaeton-by-way-of-Bon-Iver for his sorta sensitive/sorta creepy (sample lyrics: "kiss in the taxi" and "I'm in love with your body") new song "Shape of You." --Andrew Flanagan
8:33 p.m. After he and drummer Josh Dun bizarrely drop their pants on the way to the stage to pick up the award for Best Pop Duo/Group performance, Twenty One Pilots' singer Tyler Joseph tells a pretty adorable story about watching the Grammys with Dun years ago in their underwear, and making a promise to accept their first award the same way, if they ever made it to the stage.
That's a pretty classic 21P moment — a little off-putting at first, but self-aware, vulnerable and not a little bit charming in the end. --Jacob Ganz
8:28 p.m. Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood perform their '80s synth love-pop homage "The Fighter," which took place in a real-life iTunes music visualizer. --Andrew Flanagan
8:15 p.m. Chance the Rapper picks up the first Grammy of the night: Best New Artist, after Jennifer Lopez is the first to subtly reference the political climate ("Our voices are needed now more than ever"). Chance ignored the playoff music in claming his victory "in the name of the Lord," and dedicated the win to "all of Chicago."
The list of remaining awards we'll actually see on TV tonight is pretty small. All that remains is eight awards: Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Best Rock Song, Best Urban, Contemporary Album, Best Rap Album and Best Country Solo Performance. --Andrew Flanagan
8:05 p.m. Adele kicks off the telecast with a performance of "Hello," which was the first single from her album 25. Adele, who is up for awards in each of the three major categories — Record, Song and Album of the Year, picked up two Grammys before the official ceremony began: Best Pop Vocal Performance for "Hello" and Best Pop Vocal Album for 25.
Other winners from the pre-telecast ceremony include David Bowie, who picked up four Grammys, including Best Rock Song and Best Alternative Music Album, and Drake, who won two trophies for "Hotline Bling." --Jacob Ganz
7:55 p.m. It's a Grammy tradition to announce the vast majority of awards — 75 out of 84 golden gramophones — before the telecast has begun.
Remaining for the telecast are questions of politicization by presenters, winners and performers — longtime producer Ken Ehrlich was exceedingly diplomatic on the subject in an interview with Rolling Stone earlier this week — as well as how the show will more fundamentally pivot (and parry) to meet a starkly different climate from the past year's.
Next year the awards will take place at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, the first time they would have been held on the East Coast since 2003. --Andrew Flanagan
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.