Some high- and low-lights from the 61st annual Grammy Awards telecast Sunday night:
After last year’s Grammys relegated women performers to a background role, the first 40 minutes of the broadcast were filled with an array of strong female voices: Camila Cabello, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Dolly Parton and a real rock star — Michelle Obama — who got the kind of ovation most of the night’s performers could only dream about.
THE ‘A STAR IS BORN’ FREIGHT TRAIN
The Grammys love their Hollywood tie-ins, but as “A Star is Born” costar Lady Gaga accepted her best pop duo/group vocal performance for “Shallow,” she used the opportunity to make a tear-filled plea. “I’m so proud to be part of a movie that addresses mental health issues … A lot of artists deal with that … if you see someone who’s hurting, don’t turn away.”
Amid a bevy of women whose careers she influenced, Dolly Parton demonstrated that she’s still got a few more lessons to teach, whether investing her classic “Jolene” with mountain-soul heart-ache, bringing stripped-down poignancy to Neil Young’s “After the Goldrush,” or elevating her recent song “Red Shoes” to the gospel heavens.
Post Malone somehow got shoe-horned into a Red Hot Chili Peppers song as a guitarist, which makes no sense at all, in the head-slapping tradition of Linkin Park and Paul McCartney (2006), Stevie Wonder and the Jonas Brothers (2009), Deadmau5 and Foo Fighters (2012) and so many more.
A COUNTRY DETOUR WINS BIG
Kacey Musgraves collected a country album of the year award for “Golden Hour,” a decidedly personal and nontraditional take on the music she loved since she was a kid. Her performance of “Rainbow,” draped in the symbolic colors of the LBGTQ pride flag, spoke to the album’s progressive perspective.
THE BEST ANDROID-FUNK SINGER ON THE PLANET
Janelle Monae channeled some Prince and melded it with alien flair on “Make Me Feel,” which only underlined the power of her latest album, “Dirty Computer.”
COTTON CLUB CONNECTION
Cardi B tipped her hat to legendary French entertainer and activist Josephine Baker with a randy performance straight out of 1920s nightclub, whether writhing atop a grand piano or strutting in peacock feathers.