The 2023 Grammys Provided Exciting Performances Alongside the Typical Controversy

The 65th Grammys was nothing short of what viewers wanted. Controversy is running high, celebrity looks are still being talked about and records were set. With performances from Harry Styles, Lizzo, Bad Bunny and so many more, Feb. 5 was a big day for musicians and devoted fans. 

The Grammys, as a whole, has been surrounded by controversy for some years now, as the nominees and winners are allegedly biased and lack diversity. With Grammy winners and nominees chosen by a small selection of eligible Recording Academy professionals, it is easy for the awarded artist to reflect the personal opinions of whoever voted. 

Ella Rustin, a third-year communications and media major at Seattle University, feels that smaller artists deserve recognition, but the Grammys internal structure prevents that.

“The Recording Academy is an institution that largely caters to the mainstream standards of music,” Rustin wrote to The Spectator. 

While nominations and winners are a hot topic, the performances during the show also generate conversation. Every singer who had the privilege of performing at this year’s Grammys understood the assignment. Some of the fan favorites came from Harry Styles, Lizzo and Bad Bunny. Rustin emphasized their admiration for Bad Bunny’s opening performance of “El Apagón” and “Después de la Playa.” 

“He is an extremely influential artist in music right now,” Rustin wrote. 

Alina Terry, a 2022 graduate of Eastern Washington University in marketing, is a Spokane local and music enthusiast who watched the Grammys. She expressed her love for several performances including Kacey Musgraves and Steve Lacey. 

“It was really cool that Steve Lacey had Thundercat with him,” Terry said. 

Other performances, like Harry Styles, had to accommodate for production malfunctions—in this case, the stage spinning in the opposite direction. Despite his rough performance, the audience still enjoyed his different take of his hit song “As It Was.” Taking it back to the original music video, Styles included a spinning turntable and dancers to accent his sparkly outfit. 

Courteney Hori, a third-year nursing major at Seattle U, enjoyed Harry’s performance and was impressed by his ability to keep the show going despite the stage mishap.

“Harry had that malfunction where the table was supposed to spin a certain way, but when they went to perform, it spun the other way, so then they had to improvise on the spot,” Hori said. 

When it comes to awards seasons, there is no way to keep everyone happy. Awarding only one person an honor as prestigious as a Grammy will always result in unsatisfied nominees and fans. This year’s Album of The Year winner garnered a lot of discourse. The nominees included ABBA, Harry Styles, Beyoncé, Adele, Bad Bunny, Mary J. Blige, Brandi Carlile, Coldplay, Kendrick Lamar and Lizzo. The award was given to Harry Styles for “Harry’s House.” However, Beyoncé fans disagreed with the final decision.  

“For as influential of an artist as [Beyoncé] is, she deserves AOTY. She has continued to inspire and influence many artists in the industry,” Rustin wrote to The Spectator. 

Styles fans, however, were beyond excited for the idol’s huge accomplishment. Hori and Terry, both Styles fans themselves, were excited that one of their favorite artists won the award.

“I was so proud of him, and it was a really good album, so I think Harry deserved it,” Hori said.  

The other massive milestone that was reached at this year’s Grammys came from Viola Davis. As the 18th person in history to achieve this, Davis won a Grammy for the narration of her audiobook “Finding Me,” the last award she needed to complete her EGOT (Emmys, Grammys, Oscars and Tony Awards).

“She’s super talented, and it’s really cool to see a woman of color rise to the top like that,” Terry said. 

Another reason why the Grammys are widely anticipated is for the red carpet looks that typically include fashion-forward pieces and styles. This year was no exception with Lizzo’s orange, floral cape and dress; Doja Cat’s all black, leather dress; Shania Twain’s spectacular polka-dot suit; and Beyoncé’s pink and gold futuristic look, among other boundary-pushing outfits.

“I absolutely loved all the fashion,” Terry said. “One of my favorite parts is seeing everyone’s outfits,” Terry said. 

Overall, the 2023 Grammys had no shortage of outstanding performances, heartwarming acceptance speeches and fashion statements. You can watch any red carpet walks, performances or awards that you might have missed on the Grammys website.