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The Best Grammy Performances of 2022

For me, regardless of the controversy and differing opinions on the event, the Grammys are always one of my favorite nights of the year. It's a night that lets me sit down and focus on nothing but the two things I love most— fashion and music— for a couple hours once a year. With remarkable pieces from the world's greatest designers, performances from the best of the best in every genre and appearances by all the greats from the history of the music industry, it's hard to deny the importance of this day in our world's culture.

Past Grammys have featured performances that have been completely unforgettable for me— mostly from artists I otherwise don't pay much attention to. For example, Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons took the stage for a jaw-dropping mashup of 'Radioactive' and 'm.A.A.d city' in 2014. Taylor Swift made history when she said, "So, he calls me up and he's like, 'I still love you,' and I'm like, 'I'm sorry, I'm busy opening up the Grammys'" in her stunning opening performance of 'We are Never Getting Back Together' at the 2014 show. I showed the video of Lizzo's flute falling from the air before she twerked while playing to her hit song 'Truth Hurts' in 2020 to everyone that would listen and Megan Thee Stallion's backup tap-dancers death dropping down a set of stairs literally had me screaming on my couch in 2021.

This year's show was nothing short of incredible, but there were definitely some moments that stole the show.

BTS Brought the magic

Although I still cannot name one BTS song, their energetic performance from this year's event is hard to ignore. With one member starting whispering in Olivia Rodrigo's ear and another starting floating down from the ceiling, my attention was immediately captured— and they brought a performance that, to me, captured everything the Grammys is about. Energetic choreography, stunning vocals and unexpected twists, this performance kept me on my toes from start to finish.

Lil nas x...

If mastering the Grammy's was the assignment, Lil Nax X not only understood it, but set the curve for years to come. It's no secret that he has a stage presence like no other, and one of my favorite things about him is his ability to always be himself and make sure his personality shows in whatever he does. His performance began with projections of news stories about the controversy we all remember from the release of his 'Montero' music video, included multiple costume changes and had intense choreography that had me cheesing in my living room. Jack Harlow made an appearance for a segment of their hit song 'Industry Baby', and while I enjoy his music just as much as the next person, I was glad to see him leave when the choreography picked back up.

The lights, the costuming, the overall presentation— this was my performance of the year.

Billie Eilish literally made it rain

Any Billie Eilish performance I've seen has been relatively the same. She and Finneas generally sit and sing one of her melancholy yet mysterious songs, and although it's always beautiful, nothing exciting ever really happens. Billie's performance this year of 'Happier than Ever' started out seemingly fitting this description— but when the back half of the song picked up, my excitement grew exponentially. As Finneas' guitar got heavier, Billie's excitement and energy grew, and before I knew it, they were jumping and head-banging around the stage and I was joining them from my couch. It only seemed fitting when rain suddenly started falling from the ceiling and the performers went on un-phased. I was totally entranced by the time Billie drew attention to her shirt that featured a photo of late Taylor Hawkins— a shirt that only felt fitting after such an electric and overwhelming performance.

Billie Eilish shocked me, and this is why she was one of my favorites from this year's event.

Cynthia Erivo, Ben Platt, LEslie Odom Jr., and RAchel zegler reinvented the tribute segment

Every year, the Grammys takes a part of their show to honor those we lost in the music industry in the past year. Although it's always meaningful and stunning, I generally am not drawn to my screen the way I was during this year's portion. A brief tribute honoring Taylor Hawkins, who passed away only a few days ago, played before four of Broadway and Hollywood's best sang a stunning mashup of songs by Stephen Sondheim, the infamous composer known for his work in 'West Side Story', 'Into the Woods', 'Sweeney Todd' and other prominent works who passed in late 2021. Their tight harmonies filled the room, and I felt tears come to my eyes as Sondheim's photo appeared at the end.

John Batiste embodied 'freedom'

John Batiste had the most Grammy nominations of the night at 11, and was the winner of Album of the Year for his record 'We Are'. Truthfully, I don't think I knew who he was until he was interviewed on the red carpet before the show, I'm so glad I do now. His cheerful and colorful performance of his single 'Freedom' brought energy and joy all throughout the venue, and even ended amongst those in the front few rows— bringing those attendees to their feet with an undeniable need to dance.

This performance had stunning choreography, colorful yet cohesive costuming and simply brought a big smile to my face, and for this reason, it was one of my favorites of the year.

Ladies and Gentleman, h.e.r.

My only knowledge of H.E.R. comes from her yearly appearances at the Grammys, and this performance was absolutely her most memorable. This was a mashup for the books, with support from Lenny Kravitz, Travis Barker, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis— at one point H.E.R., dressed in a glimmering blue pantsuit, even got behind the drum set and started slapping the circles herself. The energy was absolutely overwhelming and proved the talent of the artists in the most unique and exciting way possible. It proved the versatility of the event, and showcased just how great the people in this industry can be.

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Although these performances were my favorite, there was not a single performance from this year's event that was anything short of incredible. Silk Sonic was smooth and funky, Olivia Rodrigo was beautiful and emotional, Chris Stapleton was exciting and groovy and Lady Gaga once again proved she has no genre limitations.

The Grammys once again blew me away, and I already can't wait to see what this coming year in music brings us for the 2023 event.

Ellie Hawkins

Bradley U '22

Hi! I'm a senior journalism major with political science and public relations/advertising minors at Bradley in my final semester. I'm a mother of a beautiful one-eyed Siamese kitty named Gus, and love singing, thrifting, and watching Sex and the City.
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