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Women seize the Grammys spotlight, and big prizes

Mikael Wood, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper won the award for pop duo performance with "Shallow," from their movie "A Star Is Born," which felt only right. After all, what musical moment got more mileage online in the last 12 months than Gaga's "whoa-oh-oh" yowl from that pitch-perfect power ballad?

As if to prove the point, the singer performed "Shallow" on Sunday's show, refashioning it into a kind of art-metal extravaganza sure to be endlessly memed in the days ahead.

And the show -- long scorned for pairing young up-and-comers with past-their-prime veterans for performances proudly referred to as "Grammy moments" -- also did better balancing old and new.

Miley Cyrus and Shawn Mendes, both in their 20s, performed his "In My Blood" together, while Lipa joined St. Vincent -- as opposed to, y'know, Judy Collins -- to mash up a couple of their tunes.

Even the inevitable tributes to aging icons felt fresher than usual, in large part because Dolly Parton and Diana Ross took control of their own salutes, singing with real gusto (if not always a clear sense of pitch, as in Ross' case).

Keys, in a lovely sequence that had her playing two pianos at the same time, paid tender homage to some of her favorite songs, which had to have been the first time Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable" and "Lucid Dreams" by the rapper Juice WRLD were in such close proximity.

Not everything worked, of course.

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One dreadful Grammy moment had Post Malone jamming with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which did nothing for either act. And a celebration of Motown Records -- the label that arguably laid the groundwork for black American pop -- was fronted for some reason by ... Jennifer Lopez.

Perhaps this number could have illustrated how Motown's glorious songs reached beyond specific cultures to unite people of all backgrounds. But Lopez didn't do anything to "Dancing in the Street" or "Please Mr. Postman" to make that point; it was pure high-level mimicry -- as professional as it was meaningless.

But those off notes were exceptions in a program that went some way toward restoring the Grammys' battered reputation.

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