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Grammys 2018: 20 Best and Worst Moments

Highlights and lowlights, including Kesha, Kendrick Lamar and “Subway Karaoke”

At the 60th iteration of Music’s Biggest Night, Kendrick Lamar owned the opening, Kesha and Janelle Monáe delivered stirring calls-to-arms, Patti LuPone reprised her classic Evita role, and Sting and Shaggy refused to cede the spotlight. Here’s the best and worst of a night where Dave Chappelle played unofficial host and comedians played with adorable pug pups in the crowd.

Best Worst Grammys 2018 Watch Read

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Best: Childish Gambino Teams Up With ‘Lion King’ Pal JD McCrary on “Terrified”

Donald “Childish Gambino” Glover could have played it safe at the Grammys by performing “Redbone” – a Record of the Year nominee and the biggest hit of his music career to date – but instead he delivered a sublimely slinky rendition of “Terrified,” a deep-funk cut from his “Awaken, My Love!” album. The set-up was bare-bones: A guitarist unfurling long, keening lines, a bassist picking out three or four fat notes, a synth player conjuring soothing sheets of noise, and a drummer triggering pre-programmed snaps and flurries of hand-percussion. Wearing a resplendent white tuxedo, Glover sang with leisurely precision, swiveling his hips and draping falsetto couplets across the groove. He was joined by a small cadre of back-up singers during the chorus, and together they pushed “Terrified” towards spooky gospel. The 10-year-old singer JD McCrary, who appears on the album cut and will voice young Simba in the new Lion King remake alongside Glover’s adult version of the character, turned up to lend a hand. The song ended at an impeccable climax, as Childish Gambino did his best impression of Prince’s scream and his singers vamped through an exultant riff again and again. And for those fans who were missing “Redbone,” it soundtracked a psychedelic advertisement for Animojis as soon as the Grammys cut to commercial. 

Best Worst Grammys 2018 Watch Read

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Best: Jon Batiste and Gary Clark Jr. Honor Rock’s Raucous Roots

The Grammys haven’t featured a lot of noteworthy rock moments in the past few years, but the passing of twin icons Fats Domino and Chuck Berry in the same year simply had to be commemorated in some way. This could have led to a sloppy medley of their hits with a stage crammed full of singers, pianist and guitarists, but instead the producers opted for the simple route by putting Jon Batiste and Gary Clark Jr. together on a tiny stage with only a drummer to perform killer renditions of “Ain’t That a Shame” and “Maybellene,” highlighted by electrifying solos from the pianist and guitarist in turn. There may not have been time to play the complete songs, but within just a couple of minutes the pair paid fitting tribute to the two rock & roll forefathers as Chuck Berry’s son Charles Jr. looked on from the audience with pride. 

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