Taylor Swift won the big prize. Kendrick Lamar was dramatic. But on a night when Grammy watchers were expecting fireworks from that pair of big stars, they found competition from an unlikely source: the Founding Fathers.
Credit Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of “Hamilton” for giving an uneven 58th Annual Grammy Awards one of its standout moments. Here are five things that dominated the show:
Taylor Swift lays it down
For most of the night, all people heard from Taylor Swift was the opening number, "Out of the Woods," and her cheer when Ed Sheeran won song of the year.
But her win for album of the year brought her to the podium -- and she let loose with a rousing speech.
"As the first woman to win album of the year at the Grammys twice, I want to say to all the young women out there, there are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame," she said. "But if you just focus on the work and you don't let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you're going, you'll look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you who put you there. And that will be the greatest feeling in the world."
To whom could that speech possibly have been directed? Social media immediately seized on a certain furiously tweeting rapper who had proclaimed, "I made that b*tch famous."
I wish I could go back to 2009 and tell everyone, you know that Kanye and Taylor Swift thing you're all talking about? IT'S STILL HAPPENING
— Todd in the Shadows (@ShadowTodd) February 16, 2016
That rapper, who goes by Ye, had been conspicuously silent during the broadcast. One wonders how he'll respond in the morning.
'Just you wait'
"Hamilton" is sold out well into the fall, and no wonder: Miranda's combination of hip-hop, history and histrionics showed the Grammys' Los Angeles audience that New York was very much in the house.
The troupe performed the show's opening number, "Alexander Hamilton," with its muttered demand, "Just you wait." When Miranda first appeared as Hamilton, the cheer was so loud it overwhelmed one of his lines.
Social media reacted with pleasure.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) February 16, 2016
— Andrew LaSane (@laptop_lasane) February 16, 2016
Well, if you can't see it on Broadway, there's always the cast album, which won a Grammy on Monday night.
Kendrick Lamar takes flight
First Kendrick Lamar won best rap album for "To Pimp a Butterfly." Then he performed a rousing number, including "Alright" and "The Blacker the Berry," that literally included a roaring fire.
The audience jumped to their feet with a standing ovation.
— VH1 Music (@VH1Music) February 16, 2016
"Daily Show" host Trevor Noah couldn't help but reference Kanye West, who was probably setting fire to his keyboard after watching Lamar.
"Kendrick is what Kanye would have been if the Kardashians didn't get him," he tweeted.
Still a Wonder
The awards were full of tributes, but perhaps none was as moving -- and simple -- as the a cappella performance of Earth, Wind & Fire's "That's the Way of the World" by Stevie Wonder and Pentatonix.
Wonder also struck a blow for people with disabilities. Noting the winner was in Braille in his envelope, he mocked the others on stage: "You can't read Braille, na na na!"
Then he got serious.
"We need to make every single thing accessible to every single person with a disability," he said.
Go Stevie Wonder with that accessibility message! #grammys
— (((Rachel Sklar))) ❄️ (@rachelsklar) February 16, 2016
Did that sound good to you?
A number of people on social media were commenting on the quality of the audio during Adele's performance of "All I Ask."
Was it her or the engineer?
— Perez (@ThePerezHilton) February 16, 2016
— Lavanya Ramanathan (@lalamasala) February 16, 2016
— Eugene Cho (@EugeneCho) February 16, 2016
Adele don't worry boo. 70 million people heard you nail that song LIVE in a car at 10 am in the morning so it's all good.
— Justin Case ™️ (@jphilzZz) February 16, 2016
"70 million people heard you nail that song LIVE in a car at 10 am in the morning so it's all good," tweeted Justin Phillips.
Indeed. The Grammys are nice, but Carpool Karaoke will always be with us.