Students react to 58th annual Grammy Awards


Taylor Swift wins Album of the Year at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Benjamin VanHoose

The Grammys marked its 58th annual celebration of music Monday night, handing out golden gramophone trophies to Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar, Alabama Shakes, Chris Stapleton and plenty of other artists. 

Swift took home the top prize for her album “1989,” becoming the first female to win album of the year twice. Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” was named song of the year and Bruno Mars’ collaboration with Mark Ronson, “Uptown Funk” received record of the year. Meghan Trainor gave a tear-filled speech accepting best new artist.

As far as award shows go, however, the actual prizes took a back seat to the countless performances and tributes to industry icons who died in the past year. David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Maurice White and B.B. King all got their due as big-name musicians performed mashups of their hits.

Lady Gaga channeled Bowie in her honoring of the star who died in January. Her effects-heavy montage was well received and adds to Gaga’s already big 2016; she snagged a Golden Globe for her performance in “American Horror Story: Hotel,” was nominated for an Oscar for her song featured in the documentary “The Hunting Ground” and sang the national anthem at Super Bowl 50—all within two months.

Grammy guests also took their chance at fashion stardom on the red carpet prior to the show, sporting flashy, stunt outfits and traditional award show attire.

Junior fashion merchandising major Emily Davis said the best dressed attendees of the night were Ciara, Pharrell Williams and Selena Gomez—but had strong feelings against Swift’s ensemble.

“I like something that stands out but is still classy,” Davis said. “I wasn’t a fan of Taylor Swift’s outfit or hair.”

Adele’s record-breaking album “25” may have missed the deadline for qualification in this year’s awards, but she still made an appearance to sing “All I Ask” amidst some technical difficulties.

“I was surprised; Adele’s usually so amazing,” Davis said. “But once I heard it was due to technical problems, it made sense.” 

Rihanna cancelled her performance after doctors advised her to rest her vocal chords as she recovers from bronchitis—a wise decision as she prepares for her impending “ANTI World Tour.”

Swift opened the ceremony with her single “Out of the Woods,” and Pitbull closed the night with a finale that included Robin Thicke and a dancing Sofia Vergara.

Stevie Wonder used his moment at the microphone as a presenter/performer to speak up for those with disabilities. The blind singer read a winner’s name inside an envelope using Braille and stressed the importance of accessibility for every person.

The show itself wasn’t the only trending topic on social media during the broadcast. Gwen Stefani stole a commercial break with a live music video routine of her new single “Make Me Like You.” Presented by Target, the routine had the singer wardrobe-changing through different sets while dancing with a troupe of extras.

Broadway box office hit “Hamilton” earned Grammy love too. The cast performed the opening number of the hip-hop history lesson show and won best musical theater album.

“The ‘Hamilton’ performance was even more stunning than I expected,” said senior theatre studies major Kaitlyn Regan. “The soundtrack is amazing, so it was nice to see them recognized.”

The three-and-a-half hour broadcast, hosted by LL Cool J, aired live on CBS to an estimated 16.1 million viewers. Though those numbers are slightly under last year’s ratings, the network that just had the Super Bowl two weeks ago has little to sweat.

The Grammys are the second-most watched award show just behind the Oscars, its film equivalent. The Oscars, however, are under fire for its lack of diversity among nominees—an issue Grammy voters don’t seem to have.

“There are a lot of different genres that include a lot of different people,” Davis said. “With music you’re not really looking at the person, just their style of music, so it can be anybody.”

Some others feel the Grammys are designed better, with various subcategories to showcase more artists. The Oscars cover all of movies without separating into drama, comedy, horror or other genres. 

“The Grammys’ categories themselves are more diverse—not just the people being considered,” Regan said. 

Rapper Common and president of the Recording Academy, Neil Portnow, took a moment during the show to urge consumers to pay for their music rather than streaming or illegally downloading. They thanked fans who attend concerts, buy tangible copies or pay for subscription services, making it so they can afford to continue to produce music.

“I see both sides, but I think the customer needs convenience and affordability,” freshman advertising major Gregory Kovacs said. “At the very least you can use a streaming service like Spotify, though.”

Benjamin VanHoose is an entertainment reporter for the Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]