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The 5 Best + 5 Worst Moments From the 2016 Grammy Awards

Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images
Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

On one hand, Rihanna — who had to back out of tonight’s (February 15) Grammys broadcast because of bronchitis — missed out on quite a show. On the other hand, she might have had the right idea by skipping out.

While the show’s 58th installment delivered some notable highs (Kendrick Lamar‘s mile-a-minute performance, Lady Gaga‘s assumption of the great Ziggy Stardust), it also took the air out of our tires on more than one occasion (whomever produced Adele‘s set can expect a nice pink slip on his or her desk by 9 a.m.). Look back at the ways the show ebbed and flowed below, and tell us if there was a moment you thought was particularly memorable.

Best: That Hamilton showcase was real cool

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For the first time, The Grammys broadcast a live set straight from a Broadway stage, and — though it was performed inside New York’s Richard Rodgers Theater — it still shook Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Whether you loved it or hated it, the Hamilton cast’s performance will most certainly become a water-cooler moment.

Worst: Demi couldn’t save the Lionel Richie tribute

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After a searingly powerful vocal by the Confident singer, a medley of “Easy” and “All Night Long” was reduced to drunken karaoke thanks to sub-par vocals from Luke Bryant, Meghan Trainor and Tyrese. Even Richie’s eventual contribution couldn’t save the car crash.

Best: There were some truly spectacular vocals

Not that it should have come as any surprise on music’s biggest night… Little Big Town delivered beautiful harmonies, Ellie Goulding and Andra Day were an unlikely match made in heaven and Demi Lovato single-handedly salvaged the tribute to Lionel Richie. Throw in some Tori Kelly vocal-acrobatics, Lady Gaga showmanship and you’ve got solid proof that pop isn’t just computers and producers.

Worst: Relentless social media pleading

Grammy presenters may need cues; Twitter users do not. An occasional call to action is completely acceptable — mentioning Snapchat more frequently than Silicon Valley shareholders in a meeting is not. LL Cool J, Giulana Rancic and friends needed to cool their Vine-jets.

Best: Kendrick Lamar literally set the stage on fire

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Seriously, holy s—. When your craft can eclipse jailhouse sets, neon black-light attacks and frantic camera-pans, you’ve got some truly compelling work on your hands. The Pimp A Butterfly rapper’s “The Blacker The Berry” and “Alright” performances set a brand new standard for Grammys performers, and the set seemed like justice for Lamar previously being relegated to a supporting act for Imagine Dragons.

Worst: Rihanna withdrew from the performance lineup

Not that it’s her fault — being diagnosed with bronchitis the night of the show must have been devastating. We were just looking forward to hearing “Kiss It Better” live. Sigh…

Best: Rock music isn’t dead

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“Wow, all of these nominees are really good,” the PopCrush editors said in unison as Miguel introduced the nominees for Best Rock Performance. Foo Fighters, Florence and the Machine and Elle King were all worthy contenders, but Alabama Shakes got some well-deserved recognition, and Brittany Howard’s speech delivered a beautiful story of how far the group had come.

Worst: Someone sabotaged Adele’s performance (???)

Production started with distracting, in-and-out guitar picks, evolved into faulty audio and knocked the usually ironclad Adele completely off-balance. It was clear by the set’s end that she couldn’t hear what was happening around her, but the consummate pro still gave it her best shot. Now, the question remains: Who’s getting fired?

Update: Adele’s offered an explanation…she seems less upset than we were.

Best: Gaga was a spot-on David Bowie

The red hair and glittery suit were supplementary details: When Gaga stepped onto the stage for a tribute to the late Bowie, she was Ziggy Stardust through and through. Her medley of the icon’s hits was eccentric, over-the-top and a little manic — in other words, spot-on.

Worst: Meghan Trainor, who was nominated for Record of the Year in 2015, won Best New Artist

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In a category spilling over with the talent of Tori Kelly, James Bay and Courtney Barnett, Meghan Trainor — who was nominated for Grammys in 2015 — somehow came out on top. Beyond the fact that her ability paled in comparison, it seemed like a strange technical oversight. Music’s biggest night!!

Check out the 2016 Grammys’ best red carpet looks:

Check out PopCrush’s pre-Grammys interview with Charlie Puth:

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Next: Look at a Full List of 2016 Grammy Awards Winners

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