Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' performance at the 2014 Grammy Awards tonight will be a memorable one, especially for 68 lucky people. In addition to vocals by Madonna and Mary Lambert, the set will also feature the massive on-air wedding of 34 couples during the hip-hop duo's song "Same Love," the New York Times reports.
Queen Latifah will officiate the nuptials for the couples, whom the Times describes as "gay, straight, old, young, of many races and many colors." The song "Same Love" has become an anthem for LGBT equality over the past year as the fight for same-sex marriage rights gathered steam, and the duo has been active in the cause, joining the United Nations' Free & Equal campaign for LGBT rights this past November. Producer Ryan Lewis said that the Grammy wedding "will be in our minds the ultimate statement of equality, that all the couples are entitled to the same exact thing." (Lewis' own sister Laura and her boyfriend Alex will be among those getting hitched during the performance.)
Grammy organizers acknowledged that the segment will probably be controversial, and that it could be seen by some as trivializing. "I expect that people with all kinds of opinions might voice them, and that’s healthy," National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences president Neil Portnow said, while insisting that the program was serious in its approach. "We don’t need to stoop to the level of trying to find gimmicks and sensationalistic approaches to what we do."
Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich said that the idea for the big wedding grew out of the onstage marriage proposals that occasionally happen at Macklemore & Ryan Lewis shows. The couples selected for the segment were initially only told that the ceremony would take place on live television and just learned in the last couple of weeks that it would happen on the Grammys broadcast.