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Memorable Hits And Misses of the Grammy Awards

The highs and lows of the Grammy Awards since 2011. From Lady Gaga's David Bowie tribute to Taylor Swift thinking she won.

Memorable Hits And Misses of the Grammy Awards
Image: Billboard

The 59th Grammy Awards may boil down to the battle of the superdivas as Beyoncé leads the nominations with nine nods for her successful album, Lemonade. But in each of the three top categories, she will square off against Adele, who is nominated five times. The 2017 Grammys will mostly hew to the biggest pop hits of the moment, as other leading nominees include Drake and Rihanna, each with eight nods, and Chance the Rapper, who climbed the charts as an independent musician and has seven nominations in five categories, including Best New Artist.

Image: AllMagNews
To prepare everybody for the approaching 2017 Grammys that is set to take place in February, we look back at some of the hits and misses of previous Grammy Award ceremonies. What we can foresee is that the only thing we know for sure about the Grammys is that nothing is certain.


(2016) Kendrick Lamar’s performance was one of the night’s best as it featured dancers, neon lights and fire, and a few expletive bleeps, too. The commanding rendition of “The Blacker the Berry” and “Alright” wrapped with a map of Africa, with the city of Compton imprinted in it, and received a standing ovation.

Image: Footwear News
(2016) Taking the stage with a crimson hairdo inspired by David Bowie’s early look, Lady Gaga – an Oscar nominee for best original song this year – paid a splashy tribute to the many personifications of Bowie with a medley of 10 of his best-known songs.

Image: Tribune International
(2015) Sam Smith picked up four Grammy awards in total. Upon receiving the Song Of The Year honour for his hit, "Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)", the British singer said, "I'm having a really, really, really good night." While onstage for his Record Of The Year win, Smith said, "This is the best night of my life", adding, "I want to thank the man I fell in love with last year. Thank you so much for breaking my heart because you got me four Grammys."

(2015) With her back to the audience, Sia performed her hit song "Chandelier" with none other than actress Kristen Wiig, who showed off some spot-on dancing skills in a magnetic performance.

(2015) The Grammys show ended just like it started – with a performance. Dressed in all white, Beyoncé took the stage to sing "Take My Hand Precious Lord" before Common and John Legend linked up for "Glory" from the civil rights movie Selma.

Image: Conversations About Her
(2014) Hip-hop siren and megastar mogul Beyonce opened the Grammys with husband and hip-hop tycoon Jay Z, singing the track "Drunk in Love." The pair amassed massive cheers from the audience. They are pop culture’s first couple, true royalty – the music world’s contemporary version of Old Hollywood romance.

(2014) You never go wrong playing hits. It’s always a crowd-pleaser when you bring out the old masters. How special to see Yoko Ono dance along to Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr – a Beatles reunion of sorts. Better still was witnessing Willie Nelson onstage with Kris Kristofferson and hearing them sing “Highwayman”.

Image: E!
(2013) Justin Timberlake sang his new hit “Suit and Tie” in a charmingly smooth falsetto, and then had hip hop icon Jay-Z join him on stage. It was one of the best performances of the night.

(2013) LL closed out the show with a medley that included a little old school hip hop with Chuck D of Public Enemy and a shout out to the Beastie Boys. On “Whaddup”, Travis Barker (Blink 182) proved why he is one of the best rock drummers in the business and Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) threw down on lead guitar. The collaboration could pave the way for some future performances. Is this the beginning of a new supergroup? Chuck D said, “Who knows?”

(2012) The big winner was Adele, who walked off with six Grammys and delivered an inspiring performance of her hit song, “Rolling in the Deep”. Adele mounted the stage to claim the first of her many trophies, this one for Best Pop Solo Performance for “Someone Like You”. The British songbird thanked the doctors “who brought my voice back”.

(2012) One of the buzziest performances of the night was the inspired mashup of Rihanna and Coldplay, who mixed R&B and rock in their first live duet.

Image: Us Weekly
(2012) Indie darling Bon Iver beat out Nicki Minaj and Skrillex to snag Best New Artist. “When I started to make songs, I did it for the inherent reward of making songs,” he said. “So I’m a little bit uncomfortable up here.”

Image: CBS News
(2011) Arcade Fire’s album The Suburbs received the Album Of The Year honour, although it lost to The Black Keys for Best Alternative Music Album. They were noticeably a bit shocked, beating out Eminem, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. “What the hell,” Win Butler said in his acceptance speech. The band also performed “Ready to Start” during the ceremony.


Year in, year out, somebody always gets snubbed or worse, completely robbed. And let’s not even talk about the awkward acceptance speeches, embarrassing reactions and unusual performances. So let's look back at all the moments the Academy just wants to forget.

(2016) If you didn’t want to give poor Sofia Vergara a hug after being forced to stand on stage in that horrifying taxi costume, we don’t know what’s wrong with you. Pitbull is bad enough on his own. But add in his torture of Sofia Vergara and it just makes you want to storm on stage and save her.

(2015) Creepy speech cutoff music cutting out Nicki Minaj’s cleavage. There there were Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj presenting an award together – insert caption: ‘When you are trying to look cute while your partner presents the whole group assignment’.

(2014) Taylor Swift thought she won Album Of The Year at the 2014 Grammys. It was an extremely awkward moment caught on camera. So we don't blame Taylor at all for her harmless Album of The Year slipup. Taylor's nominated album Red and Daft Punk's Random Access Memories both start with 'R' so we can see how for a split second, she would think she won.

Image: The Verge
(2013) Justin Bieber was not nominated for any award and he was not pleased. The Bieber did not make an appearance at the Grammys. Instead, he hosted Saturday Night Live and then announced he would do a live stream starting at the same time as the Grammys. Bieber vowed to “play some new music and reply questions”. Due to technical difficulties, he couldn’t do either. He sent a tweet to his fans saying, “Since nothing is working and I’m super upset, I feel I’ve got to make it up to you.”

(2013) Bruno Mars performing his own song during a Bob Marley tribute. Questionable.

(2012) Not only was Queen Bey's fourth album not nominated for Album Of The Year, her soulful set wasn't even gifted with a nod for Best Contemporary R&B Album. Maybe it didn't deliver her usual chart-topping numbers. *Major snub*

(2011) Christina Aguilera tripped on stage! After tearing the roof off the joint during an Aretha Franklin tribute, Xtina almost blew out her ankle trying to walk off the stage in high heels. Ouch!