10 moments that defined the 2016 Grammy Awards

Kendrick Lamar: Winner of Best Rap Album and raiser of "ism" awareness.

Kendrick Lamar: Winner of Best Rap Album and raiser of "ism" awareness.

This year marked the 58th annual Grammy Awards. As usual, the Taylor Swifts and Ed Sheerans of the world walked off with their share of trophies. To see a complete rundown of who won what on Monday night, look elsewhere. These are 10 moments that defined a simultaneously over and underwhelming night of music.

1. Lil’ Bow Wow has shed his former identity

Please, it’s Shad Moss now. If the red carpet host going by Shad Moss looked a little too familiar, it’s probably because it was rapper Bow Wow — formerly known as Lil’ Bow Wow — in his real-name costume. The child rapper who once delivered the line “Now basketball is my favorite sport / I like the way they dribble up and down the court” in his hit Kurtis Blow cover for the 2002 film Like Mike was interviewing more successful artists during the pre-Grammy red carpet walking.

In 2009, Bow Wow signed to Lil Wayne’s Cash Money Records, but his debut on the label never came to fruition. In September, he signed with Diddy’s label Bad Boy Records, so we’ll see if we ever get that ever-so-anticipated record. In the meantime, here's Moss struggling against a countdown clock to last night's show: 

2. You must only win two Grammys to host the Grammys

For the last five years, LL Cool J has hosted the Grammys. Why? No other host has reigned for this long aside from Andy Williams, who hosted each year from 1971-1977. Williams recorded 44 albums in his lifetime, three of them going platinum and 17 going gold. LL Cool J — which seriously stands for Ladies Love Cool James — has won two Grammy Awards, both for Best Rap Solo performance in 1992 and 1997. @TheGrammys It’s time for a fresh face.


3. If you’re Taylor Swift, you can perform first, cover the entire crowd with glitter, and only Chris Stapleton will be mad

Swift kicked off last night’s show with a performance of “Out of the Woods” from 1989, which later won Album of the Year. The song ended with an explosion of blue glitter, falling on the million-dollar dresses and suits of Kendrick Lamar, Meghan Trainor, and Mark Ronson, all of whom would later take the stage to accept awards — a bold move by Swift. Somehow, only country artist Chris Stapleton mentioned the inconvenience while accepting his award for Best Country Album.

4. Lionel Richie really loved his own tribute, or at least he acted like it

Lionel Richie received the high honor of a several-song tribute medley, tipping a hat to his long, rich career. He sang along in his seat while a seemingly random assortment of artists — Demi Lovato, Luke Bryan, John Legend, Meghan Trainor, and ... Tyrese Gibson from The Fast and the Furious — performed songs like “You Are,” “Hello,” and and “Penny Lover.” It was precious. He took the stage for a performance of “All Night Long,” easily his best hit.

5. Kendrick Lamar wasn’t the only one addressing -isms

Lamar’s performance of “The Blacker the Berry” and “Alright” left audience members and at-home viewers no choice but to engage with themes of racism and inequity in the U.S. But Lamar wasn’t alone in attempting to make the Grammys about more than just celebrating rich people. While reading the award sheet for Song of the Year in braille, the legendary Stevie Wonder said, “We need to make every single thing accessible to every single person with a disability.”

6. Ed Sheeran is garbage

Somehow, Ed Sheeran’s cheesy song “Thinking Out Loud” beat out Black Lives Matter anthem “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar and undeniable smash hit “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift for song of the year. It’s astonishing. Also, Ed Sheeran is really rich, but apparently not rich enough for a hairdresser ¯_(?)_/¯

7. Skrillex still has his guitar chops

Before becoming a founding father of contemporary EDM, Skrillex, aka Sonny Moore, played guitar and sang in emo band From First to Last. And they were really popular. They had this song called “Emily” that any really sad teenager in the mid-2000s could probably play on guitar.

During Jack Ü’s (Skrillex and Diplo) performance of “Where Are Ü Now” featuring Justin Bieber, Moore replaced his usual synth/computer set-up for an actual guitar, proving that: 1) The song sounded a lot better with the computer noises, and 2) He can apparently still play guitar.

8. Sam Smith is actually Mac Miller

Here's Sam Smith; here's Mac Miller. Try and tell the difference! 

9. Johnny Depp has ruined Johnny Depp

The night’s biggest clusterfuck was a performance by a “supergroup” we’re supposed to care about made up of Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, and Joe Perry called the Hollywood Vampires. It was about as awkward to watch as you might predict. Johnny Depp is a good actor and had a relatively untarnished reputation, until tonight.

10. The Grammys don’t understand what people like


To wrap up a really confusing evening, Grammy bookers decided a good way to cap it off would be a performance by two of music’s most-mocked musicians: Pitbull and Robin Thicke. It would be interesting to see just how steeply the ratings fell off during those last three minutes of the three-and-a-half hour show.