BTS shook up the joint, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak of Silk Sonic grooved in Elvis jumpsuits, a vamped-up Lady Gaga paid homage to Tony Bennett (after a remote introduction by Bennett himself), and the industry-popular Jon Batiste took away the night’s top prize.
Those were just a few numbers on the hit parade from Sunday’s 64th Grammy Awards show. The recording-industry spectacle swept through MGM Grand Garden, the show’s first telecast from Las Vegas.
For some additional Vegas flair, the young rapper Baby Keem won the Grammy for Best Best Rap Performance. That victory was for “Family Ties,” Keem’s collaboration with his cousin Kendrick Lamar.
Silk Sonic, which is tearing up Dolby Live in a residence run, won Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song for “Leave The Door Open.” Even in accepting the award, the duo moved in tandem, rising dramatically from their seats.
“We are really trying hard to remain humble right now,” .Paak said. “But in the industry, we call this a clean sweep.” As expected, Silk Sonic opened with a tribute to Vegas “777,” from the album “An Evening With Silk Sonic. Both stars donned Elvis-styled jumpsuits, shouting “Bar full of liquor, cash for the strippers, it’s gonna get weird tonight, so no pictures.” The duo does not allow the use of cell phones inside Dolby Live.
“Even if you don’t have a girlfriend, they just stole her from you,” host Trevor Noah said as the song closed.
MGM Grand Garden was designed as both an arena and a music club. The lower super-VIP level was filled with nominees sitting at cocktail tables, with an oversized lounge feel. This allowed Noah to venture to the famous figures in the crowd. Among the nuggets he discovered, “Lil Nas X is actually taller than Nas.”
Batiste, the multi-instrumentalist bandleader for “The Late Show With Steven Colbert” earned a thunderous standing ovation for winning Album of the Year for “We Are.”
“I believe this to my core. There is no best musician, best artist, best dancer or best actor,” Batiste said as the roar subsided. “The creative arts are subjective, and they reach people at a point in their lives when when they need it the most.” Batiste also won for “Cry,” the video for “Freedom” and his collaboration with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross on the soundtrack for “Soul.”
Fro the country community, Chris Stapleton won his third Grammy for best country solo performance for “You Should Probably Leave.” The Theatre at Resorts World headliner Carrie Underwood performed a powerful version of her single, “Ghost Story.” The disquieting song is about haunting an ex-lover.
Noah of “The Daily Show” and a frequent Strip headliner, hosted. He took an early slap (as it were) at Will Smith. “We’re going to be listening to some music, we’re going to be dancing, we’re going to be singing, we’re going to be keeping peoples’ names out of our mouths, and we’re going to be giving out awards …” The Grammys were the first major awards show since the March 27 Oscars telecast.
BTS, which plays four sold-out shows at Allegiant Stadium on Friday and Saturday and again April 15-16, turned in a terrific performance of “Butter” early in the show. In the expertly produced number, band members wore Bond-style suits and shades, crept up the stage’s fucshia-colored staircase, and dodged lasers criss-crossing the stage. The choreography was super-tight and the energy extreme.
Afterward, Noah shouted, “Are you kidding me? What was that!” Later, Noah sat with the band and spouted some verbiage in what seemed Korean. “How’s that? Will it get me through the airport?”
Gaga was backed by NoMad Library resident headliner Brian Newman and the horn section from Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns. Bennett brought her to the stage via recorded video for a medley of “Love for Sale” and “Do I Love You.” The production was a sample of her Dolby Live production, “Jazz + Piano.”
The night featured a lengthy tribute to the late Foo Fighters drummer, Taylor Hawkins. Foo Fighters, who won three awards, were originally scheduled to perform during the telecast. Bille Eilish turned in a numbing performance of “Happier Than Ever,” in an ankle-deep water in bedroom set, while wearing T-shirt with Hawkins’ portrait across the front.
The Grammys also chiseled out time for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. His update from the war-ravaged country, “Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos. We are fighting Russia, which brings horrible silence with its bombs. The dead silence. Fill the silence with your music. Tell the truth about the war on your social networks, on TV. Support us in any way you can any, but not silence. And then peace will come to all our cities.”
The ceremony moved from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles to Las Vegas because of escalating COVID-19 cases from the omicron variant in January. The uncertainty of the pandemic forced the rescheduling. After Sunday’s telecast, the show contracted for two more years in L.A.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.