For the year’s biggest night in the music industry, the 57th annual Grammy Awards failed to showcase the past year in popular music.
Sam Smith’s hit song “Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)” earned him Grammys for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, while his work on his debut album “In The Lonely Hour” helped him win Best Pop Vocal Album and Best New Artist.
Smith, who consistently won in some categories that also included country-turned-pop favorite Taylor Swift, seemed just as surprised as I was each time his name was called from the stage.
While Smith’s hit song is beautiful and representative of the recent influx of pop songs featuring soaring vocals-over-gospel backgrounds, the past year in popular music brought more to listeners than one good song.
Also up for Best New Artist was female rapper Iggy Azalea, who undoubtedly burst onto the music scene this year with consistent hits and slots featuring her on other hit tracks, but she lost her two televised nods to Smith.
Swift, another female artist who left empty-handed after Smith’s sweep, pointed out that losing a Grammy doesn’t mean the end of an artist’s career, saying, “If you don’t win this award, it’s going to be fine. Just shake it off,” as she announced the nominees for best new artist Sunday night.
Smith wasn’t the only guy shocked about his awards, either. Prolific and influential rock artist Beck won Album of the Year with his “Morning Phase,” beating out Beyoncé’s radical and record-breaking self-titled album, which was released as a surprise December 2013.
Although there was some interference by Kanye West after this announcement, the winners and losers alike last night maintained grace and composure in the face of shocking results.
In addition to how Grammys were awarded, the performances of the night lacked theatricality and relevance to the past year in music.
The night featured performances by classic acts such as AC/DC and Tom Jones and the presence of musical giants such as Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney. While these artists have worked their entire lives to shape the world of music as it is, their performances failed to capture the point of the night, which is to recap and celebrate the things done since last year’s Grammys.
Correction: A prior version of this article stated that Iggy Azalea was nominated for only one award. In fact, she was nominated for four, two of which were televised.