Loser: The Weeknd and Daft Punk
The gap between entertaining performances and boring performances only widened itself as the night went on. Nothing encourages a night of fun and debauchery like Adele’s “Hello”, especially when performed live so every solemn piano chord sinks into its dramatic tone … to start the whole ceremony. Kelsea Ballerini and Lukas Graham sang a live mashup that no one, literally no one, asked for. Pentatonix reminded the world that not only are they still around and not only is their shtick beyond old at this point, but they’re able to still win Grammys for both.
The Snoozefest headliner was undoubtedly The Weeknd‘s stint with Daft Punk, a highly anticipated collaboration that put itself to sleep. On its own, “Starboy” isn’t the most rowdy song, but the promise of Daft Punk’s first live performance in three years suggested there was plenty to be excited for and, in a live setting, could amp it up. Their walkout fulfilled its sci-fi wants (Was that a glowing pink sword?!), but once they were stationed behind their synths, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter looked like two children who were so excited to wear DIY Darth Vader outfits in a school play that they forgot their lines by the time they took the stage.
A couple head nods and overdramatized pushing of keys fulfilled the role, but it was hard to imagine they were doing something, if anything, on their instruments. By the time The Weeknd transitioned into “I Feel It Coming”, all attention had faded. Visuals can’t save you if the performance itself is lackluster, and boy did The Weeknd’s bit feel like a performance delivered post-nap. —Nina Corcoran