More than the pageantry, the tradition and even the self-flagellation, the determining quality of the awards ceremony is often their gift to be disoriented, just like the Grammys. As a historical narrative, the Grammys are totally inaccurate. They insist, for example, that Beck is a generational talent and that hip-hop is irrelevant. As a show, they are often disconcerting (weigh Kendrick Lamar with Imagine Dragons, Cardi B with Bruno Mars and apparently everyone with a choir). And as a representative body, they are abysmal (less than 20% of recent nominees are women). The ceremonies of the past few years have been so heavy that in the run-up to this year, one critic asked:Can Grammys please anybody?"In what was probably the biggest surprise of the night, the answer was … yes? The best prices of the night have been largely attributed to critical favorites, with Kacey Musgraves's Gold hour Album of the Year and Childish Gambino's "This Is America" Song of the Year and Record of the year. And when critical critics did not win, the choices were generally harmless (for example, Pharrell Williams defeating Kanye West and Boi-1da for the Producer of the Year award). But perhaps the most impressive is that the four-hour show was overall very good. It's the year when the Grammy Awards, intentionally or unintentionally, have followed the habits of modern television, encompassing the next public on Twitter as well as the one who watches exclusively on CBS. From the red carpet to the last moments of the show, this year's Grammys ceremony has been rich in memes and memorable moments. Under their heaviest weight, these moments served as a reprimand to the numbers of previous years. At the beginning of the ceremony, for example, the producers wisely brought out Michelle Obama, flanked by a Rushmore rookie of influential female artists (Lady Gaga, Pinkett Smith Jada, Jennifer Lopez and Alicia Keys). The five women talked about their relationship to music, but their mere presence was more important than their words. By coming together, we have symbolically responded to the bold appeal launched last year by Recording Academy President Neil Portnow for women to "mobilize" in the face of the gender imbalance of the ceremony. The five women looked like an Avengers of the alternate universe. But the night's commitment to women was not just symbolic. The most spellbinding performances of Sunday have been largely by and for the best ladies of the music. Early, Janelle Monáe stunned with a future feminist interpretation of the theater of her single "Make Me Feel"; it featured dancers in reinforcement donning her iconic "PYNK" vaginal pants, as well as a call from "Django Jane" to "let the vagina have a monologue!", Dolly Parton, Living Country icon, introduced Musgraves and Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Maren Morris on stage together for an extended ode to her career. Yolanda Adams, Fantasia and Andra Day gave the late Aretha Franklin R-E-S-P-E-C-T a faithful version of "(you make me feel like) a natural woman". Diana Ross is gloriously glorified on her birthday. And towards the end of the night, Saint Vincent and Dua Lipa crush together their songs "Masseduction" and "One Kiss" to create a truly sensual effect. While some of Sunday's indelible images were programmed, like Keys playing two pianos at a time, others were lucky enough to do so. Cardi BDressed in the flamingo chic ballerina, she shows off her revived romance with her former Offset husband by licking her tongue (#relationshipgoals). Post Malone showed in an outfit that, with its salmon leather and star glitter, seemed to be supposed to be subtitled rather than actually worn. And Drake became a thug by using his acceptance speech of the song Rap Song to say that the Grammy Awards are not worth squatting before cutting his microphone. Hell, even the commercials provided lightness, like when Will Smith's (very, very blue) Engineering was revealed in a new trailer for Aladdin. Do not get me wrong. The Sunday Grammys were not a perfect show. Almost all of the show went on without mentioning 21 savage detention of Savage. And from the point of view of visibility, the show lasted an hour – probably two-too long. But the advantage of these Grammys on social media is that when the series became slow, the online conversation took over. Awards Show Twitter often reflects the worst of the rostrum – judgmental, mean-spirited, superficial, indignant – but this year's Grammys looked more like Twitter from the NBA. The jokes were mostly light, jokes mostly funny, memes were almost created.
All this made it easy to lose track of the number of music stars who were not at Staples Center on Sunday. Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Taylor Swift, Kanye West, Childish Gambino, Adele, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran and Ariana Grande were among the superstars who ignored the "greatest night of music". threatened to be a problem before the show quickly made way for a non-problem during this one. Why? The stars who showed were, for the most part, allowed to be stars. The moments that have become memes are born of unorthodox artists, unpredictable and in tune with culture – not the institutional culture of music, but the wider culture that exists in the ether.