Tonight’s Grammy Awards opened with an American Flag waving on a screen in the background. People dressed as soldiers marched on stage with shoes that lit up orange in the black light. In the middle of the crowd of soldiers, Kendrick Lamar appeared and began rapping his song “XXX”. His rap abruptly ended and the works “This Is a Satire by Kendrick Lamar” appeared above. Soon, Bono and The Edge appeared on stage, performing “American Soul.”
The stage soon became chaotic, with the soldiers crowding around Lamar in a furious marching dance. Soldiers tumbled around him and then a sound that seemed like a gun shot stopped the performance. Everything went black. Next, Dave Chappelle appeared on stage, joking about Lamar “being an honest black man in America.” This was just a brief interruption as Lamar transitioned into another performance, rapping “New Freezer” with the help of a single drummer.
Another bang was heard and Chappelle appeared briefly again. Lamar picked back up his performance, surrounding by people completely dressed in red. Each of them got picked off one by one, falling to the ground with what appeared to be gun shots again.
Following the performance, Grammys host Corben walked through the crowd to dish on the acts set to perform tonight. Prior to the show airing, James Corden walked the red carpet and gave E! red carpet host Ryan Seacrest the inside scoop about the opening performance. Corden dished that Dave Chapelle, Bono, The Edge and Lamar were all teaming up for a truly unique opening. Part of U2’s performance was reported to be pre-taped from a barge in the middle of the Hudson river. A source previously told Variety that, “The pre-taped performance will play, and then the show will cut to the band onstage with Kendrick Lamar at Madison Square Garden, presumably performing “Get Out of Your Own Way,” the song from U2’s latest album “Songs of Experience” that featured Lamar.”
Kendrick Lamar is one of tonight’s lead nominees, with 7 nominations tonight. He is nominated in the following categories – Best Music Video, Album of the Year, Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song, Best Rap Performance, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, and Record of the Year. According to ABC News, Lamar actually was awarded the Best Rap Album, Best Rap Performance and Best Music Video in a pre-telecast. The artist in the lead with 8 nominations tonight is Jay-Z.
Other performers set to take the stage tonight include Cardi B, Bruno Mars, Sting, Patti LuPone, Rihanna, Elton John, Cyndi Lauper, Miley Cyrus and many others. Several tributes to artists we lost this year, Broadway legends and causes will take place as well. The show broadcasts like from Madison Square Garden in New York City.
After Lamar’s performance tonight, Twitter blew up with praise for Lamar showing his voice and power in his set. And not long after his win, he picked up his fourth Grammy award for 2018. Accompanying Lamar on stage for his win was Rihanna, who hasn’t performed at an awards show for a while. She is set to take the stage later tonight.