Grammy Awards: Bruno Mars, Hillary Clinton and other highlights

Political satire and #MeToo movement were the hot topics at 2018 ceremony

Bruno Mars accepts the Album of the Year gong for 24K Magic
(Image credit: Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NARAS)

Bruno Mars was the big winner of the 60th Grammy Awards last night - but was almost overshadowed by a surprise appearance from Hillary Clinton performing a “Fire and Fury” spoof.

The American singer-songwriter claimed a total of six prizes, including Album of the Year for 24K Magic, edging out competition from Jay-Z’s 4:44, Lorde’s Melodrama, Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN., and Childish Gambino’s Awaken, My Love!, reports the BBC. Mars also claimed Song of the Year, Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song for That’s What I Like.

But it was a bad night for female artists, who won only 17 of the total 86 awards. Lorde, Lady Gaga and Kesha were among those who were overlooked.

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Here are some of the evening’s highlights:

Lamar and U2’s Bono and the Edge opened the ceremony, in New York City’s Madison Square Garden, with a “thrilling”, politically charged medley that won a standing ovation, says Rolling Stone magazine. The show started with soldiers marching onstage before an American flag, as Lamar performed a medley of his hits including XXX.

Comedian Dave Chappelle spoke the first words of the evening: “I just wanted to remind the audience that the only thing more frightening than watching a black man be honest in America is being an honest black man in America.”

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Former presidential candidate Clinton made a surprise cameo, starring in a video sketch spoof in which she read excerpts from Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff’s expose about the Donald Trump White House. She was joined by Cher, Snoop Dogg and others, who also pretended to audition to read an audio version of the book, providing a “moment of levity in a ceremony that covered several serious topics”, reports CNN.

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Political website The Hill called the satire “blistering”, but the president’s son Donald Trump Jr showed his contempt in a tweet afterward.

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Ed Sheeran won Best Pop Solo Performance for Shape of You, beating Kesha’s Praying, a ballad about abuse that has resonated with the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct. “When Sheeran’s name was called instead of Kesha’s, the energy in the room seemed to drain away, as though an opportunity for a moment had just been lost,” the Los Angeles Times says.

Kesha was joined onstage by other female singers, including Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello and Andra Day, after giving an emotionally charged performance of her hit song - written about the alleged abuse she suffered at the hands of her producer Lukasz ‘Dr. Luke’ Gottwald. Kesha “led the charge” of celebrities wearing white roses in support of the Time’s Up campaign to fight harassment, reports the Daily Mail.

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Elton John - who just days earlier announced his retirement - teamed up Miley Cyrus for the “ultimate duet”. The pair performed his hit Tiny Dancer, in celebration of John and writing partner Bernie Taupin receiving the Recording Academy President’s Merit Award, says People magazine.

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Kesha and her female colleagues weren’t the only ones who faced disappointment at last night’s awards. “Mars’ victory was rap’s defeat,” says Sky News says. Despite getting eight nominations, Jay-Z left empty-handed, while Lamar’s wins was limited to rap-only categories.

Click here for the full list of winners.

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