For one night, an awards show understood what it meant to appeal to the masses. And then the 2014 Grammy Awards fired off a culture war missile aimed at those who believe in a traditional definition of marriage.
While the Oscars routinely go political and the VMAs pull out all the shock stops, the annual Grammys telecast eschews overtly dividing moments. Assuming you don’t mind musical genre mashups worth rubbernecking over.
Tonight, LL Cool J emceed another Grammys telecast aimed at the widest audience possible until rappers Macklemore and Ryan Lewis sang Same Love while 33 couples–both straight and gay–got married.
“This song is a love song not for some of us, but for all of us,” said Queen Latifah who officiated the live wedding in front of a church-like setting complete a gospel choir. “Strip away the fear, underneath it’s all the same love.”
No matter where one stands on the issue of gay marriage, it’s impossible to deny in an age of hot button issues it’s among the hottest. The show’s focus suddenly shifted from today’s best singing stars to a soapbox complete with Madonna wearing a white ensemble from a rodeo exhibit. The fact that the sequence aired later in the show than an historic pairing of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr also sent a message.
Country crooner Kacey Musgraves sang from a similar songbook during her live version of Follow Your Arrow, a more appropriate way to send the message about universal feelings of love.
The night otherwise had something for virtually anyone. Not only did the two ex-Beatles share the stage once more, Pink outdid her previous acrobatic Grammy appearance with another airborne performance. Chicago and Robin Thicke blurred the lines between pop music then … and now.
LL Cool J made sure everyone felt comfortable at home, paying homage to music greats and the unifying beauty and love. He even joked that men everywhere need to be better beaus now that Taylor Swift is writing break-up songs with alacrity.
“Gentlemen, behave yourselves,” he said.
The night’s big winners included Daft Punk (Record of the Year, Get Lucky , Album of the Year, Random Access Memories, Best Pop Duo/Group), Lorde (Song of the Year, Royals) and Best New Artist Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.