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Attending the Grammy’s

The Grammy Awards have been an annual spectacle in my household for as long as I can remember. This year, however, instead of lounging on my couch watching the awards on TV, I sat in the hard plastic seats of The Staples Center in Los Angeles, watching the 59th Annual Grammys in person.

En route to the ceremony, I walked down the same red carpet as some of the biggest names in music. I was shocked to see that this experience greatly differed from what I had seen on TV. News stations lined the perimeter of the busy room, and cameras flashed in every direction. What I had previously seen on television was not the same chaotic environment that I was observing.

Shortly after taking my seat, I scanned the arena. Nearly every famous music artist of my generation, and those of the past, filled the seats in front of me. I was overwhelmed looking out into the audience to see Chance The Rapper, Beyoncé, Rihanna and John Legend, to name a few, sitting in the same plastic seats as me. As the house lights dimmed, a spotlight outlined a silhouette on center stage. The audience turned in synchronization towards a woman standing confidently beside her microphone. Adele opened the night with her hit single Hello, which fell nothing short of remarkable.

Just a week after announcing her pregnancy with twins, Beyoncé also delivered a captivating performance singing “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles,” from her nine-time nominated album Lemonade. The singer owned themes of feminism and motherhood in her performance, where images of her daughter Blue Ivy appeared on a large screen.

But Beyonce’s performance was hardly the only memorable moment of the night. After the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance Grammy was awarded to 21 Pilots, members of the group, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun, appeared on stage in their underwear.

On stage the two told a story that took place before their career in music took off. When watching the Grammy Awards with a group of friends, Joseph and Dun noticed that they were in their underwear. At that moment they vowed that if they ever did accept an award, they would do so in their boxers.

This was the first time in the night where what was happening on stage did not follow the words scripted on the teleprompter for the presenters to read.This off-script moment made the show more compelling, and the audience thoroughly enjoyed this candid change of direction. As if this unexpected turn of events wasn’t enough, the host of the Grammys, James Corden seized the opportunity to take the Grammys even further off script.  The next thing I knew, Corden stood on the same stage in his underwear.

At every commercial break, the aisles filled with commotion, and chatter overtook the large arena. Some celebrities stood up from their seats conversing with one another, while others left my field of vision. Stage managers shouted out directions, calling for seat fillers to fill in the gaps of the audience. What was being seen on TV did not reflect the true nature that was present inside of the stadium. As the break drew to a close, the chaos around me only grew louder. The yelling of “30 seconds,” rung heavy in my ears. “In 5, 4, clap for the Grammys,” an announcer shouted, in which the audience replied with a cheerful applause.

Despite the intensively staged show, to watch musical icons perform act after act was a surreal experience. Adele performed a tribute to singer George Michael, who died last December at the age of 53. Just seconds into the song, she stopped her performance, reminding us that humanity exists on live television. Adele defied the carefully choreographed staging of the show when asking the band to restart and acknowledging her mistake. A true talent, she then delivered her extensively practiced tribute, where the audience erupted in a standing ovation, confirming why Adele left the night with five Grammy Awards.

Music artists also addressed the political hurdles that the nation continues to face as a result of the newly-elected President Donald Trump. Singer Katy Perry debuted her single Chained To the Rhythm, ending her performance by shouting “no hate!” with the constitution as her backdrop. Rappers Busta Rhymes and Anderson .Paak addressed President Trump’s immigration ban before leading into their song We The People. The audience rose from their seats united, vigorously cheering their support for the artists’ sentiments. A sense of humility filled the room, a feeling that could not have been felt so powerfully from behind a TV screen.

Written by Culture Editor Olivia Abrams 


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