CBS’ broadcast of The Grammys kept saying it was “music’s biggest night.” I suppose that’s true–the first performance of Imagine Dragons with Kendrick Lamar!–but the phrase was repeated so much it’s almost as though the show was trying to convince us it was important.
This was a theme all night. Upcoming performances were advertised not really as songs but as “Grammy moments.” When 33 couples were wed on stage during a performance of “Same Love,” the official Grammys Twitter account made sure to place it in historical context immediately.
This was a moment of love that will never be forgotten #GRAMMYs
— The GRAMMYs (@TheGRAMMYs) January 27, 2014
See also: Why the Grammys Don’t Matter
It was the type of hype machine usually reserved for WWE events, as if Vince McMahon blew off the Royal Rumble to produce the Grammys. The people behind every TV awards broadcast want to make a show with a lasting impression. This year, instead of just attempting to make memorable content, the show additionally told us how legendary every performance was. It was an odd choice, considering 33 couples, including many same-sex ones, really did get married on stage! It was a stupid TV stunt–mass weddings are usually reserved for cults and halftimes of basketball games–but it was unique. It didn’t need additional hype.
But in 2014, apparently people need to be told what they’re watching is important so they’re pushed to post about it on Twitter and Facebook, to share these moments we’re told are instant classics. With such a forward-thinking Grammys show–one designed to create chatter on social media–it’s appropriate to recap it in such a way, too. Yes, here are the 2014 Grammys, recapped in animated GIF.
I actually tuned in early to watch E!’s two-hour red carpet pre-show. This is the first image I saw, a commercial:
Yes! Macklemore for Dr Pepper. Look how exhausted he is when he takes that sip, and how excited he must be to drink Dr Pepper and get paid for it. That’s the kind of brand synergy for the social media age. And, what do you know:
— Dr Pepper (@drpepper) January 27, 2014
Dr. Pepper paid to promote this tweet. A step for equality, I guess, at least in branding.
E’s pre-show also included a 360-degree camera gimmick. This was supposed to make it easier to see the stars’ dresses, but it ended up less-than-useful. Imagine how much better we’d be able to see Katy Perry’s cool dress if she just twirled here?
I am glad E! prepared me, though, for spinning women would be a recurring theme at the Grammys. The broadcast opened with a Beyoncé performance, and–what do you know?–she was spun around in a circle.
Jay-Z eventually joined her, and the two danced like they’re the coolest people in the world. (They might be.)
Just once, I want to dance this well this effortlessly. This was a good start.
Then, pretty much nothing GIF worthy happened for an hour. C’mon, artists! If you’re not coming up with a move to make a good GIF in 2014, you’re missing the whole point of television. (Erhm.) Fortunately, the surviving members of Nirvana and Paul McCartney were able to help us out.
Or, I dunno, maybe Krist Novoselic just dressed funny and Pat Smear chewed gum. Still, it was something.
Fortunately, Pink then got things back on track by being spun around again! If there’s one thing the Grammys needed, it was a Cirque du Soleil-style intro to a song by Pink and the dude from fun.
And then, we were saved. The rest of the Grammys (in GIF format at least) was pretty much the Taylor Swift show.
That’s right: Headbanging Taylor Swift! On a night with quite a few old rockers performing, Swift showed them all up with her hair whips.
But things got better. Not too long after Swift’s performance was one by Imagine Dragons and Kendrick Lamar. A mashup of “Radioactive” and “m.A.A.d city” wasn’t exactly something I was looking forward to, but it turned out well! If I can replace the original “Radioactive” — one of last year’s biggest earworms — in my brain with this one, I will be thrilled.
They did some headbanging of their own, too.
Then, something glorious happened. The camera cut to a front-row Taylor Swift. Standing. Dancing. Dancing about as well as I can dance. I didn’t know you were just allowed to get up and dance at the Grammys! It was undoubtedly the highlight of the show.
Did it distract from the well-received performance? Maybe. Do I care? No! I just want to watch it again. Again and again and again. Fortunately, I have an alternate angle:
Swift caught some heat on Twitter for dancing right in the front row, but I think it’s misplaced. Why shouldn’t you be allowed to dance at on “music’s biggest night”? This should be encouraged. It’s a big concert! Everyone should get up and dance next year.
Bruno Mars got an award from Gloria Estefan and Hackers actor Marc Anthony, and danced on stage. This was cute, sure, but what I mainly wanted to point out is that Estefan’s dress makes it seem like she was just stabbed in the neck and torso. Quite the look!
Then, OK, yeah, 33 couples–it was supposed to be 34, so I guess one couple got cold feet–were married by Queen Latifah while being serenaded by Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, Mary Lambert, and Madonna! And then Dr Pepper tweeted about it. We did not see if Taylor Swift danced to this, unfortunately. But congratulations to the 33 happy couples! You got married on TV like The Bachelor.
Eventually, Daft Punk won Album of the Year. And, apparently, the two French dudes who dress in robot masks are really into American awards.
Or maybe they were on the fritz? I dunno. But, let’s go back a few seconds to the Album of the Year announcement. Let’s check Taylor Swift’s corner…
Well, I know someone who really wanted that award! Maybe even more than the robots. What happened here: The album winner, Random Access Memories begins with an ‘R’ just like Taylor Swift’s Red! To Swift’s credit, the people around her have much more embarrassing reactions.
But think about it: Taylor Swift was shut out at the Grammys last night. And who had the best GIFs and reactions and is getting lots of social media buzz? Taylor Swift! She’s playing chess and every other artist is playing checkers.
Okay, maybe there are two other artists on her level. Still.