Pyrotechnics, politics and Prince: top Grammy performances

 13 Feb 2017 - 10:45

Pyrotechnics, politics and Prince: top Grammy performances
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Recording artists Tim McGraw (L) and Faith Hill speak onstage during The 59th GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images/AFP.

AFP

Los Angeles: The Grammy Awards on Sunday brought some of music's top stars to the televised stage with performances that ranged from heartfelt tributes to intense political statements.

Here is a look at some of the key performances:

- Mother Beyonce -

Making her first public appearance since announcing she was pregnant with twins, Beyonce delivered a New Age celebration of motherhood before the massive global televised audience.

Beyonce was introduced by her proud mother Tina before an image of the 35-year-old singer, her baby bump openly visible between her shimmering bra and beaded panties, flashed on the screen. She was also shown with her mother and daughter Blue Ivy, all in gold.

The real Beyonce then appeared wearing a golden crown and flowing cape alongside dozens of female dancers, who made formations around her as they turned the stage into a sea of flowers.

After spoken word incantations on the power of women, and renditions of her songs "Love Drought" and "Sandcastles," Beyonce -- whose music has become increasingly edgy -- looked out to her husband Jay Z and daughter Blue Ivy, who were both beaming.

- Bruno Mars goes purple -

Bruno Mars channeled Prince with an electrifying performance in which the young star uncannily impersonated the late pop icon.

Morris Day and The Time -- who co-starred in Prince's classic film "Purple Rain" -- opened before Mars arrived, clad in a glittery purple jacket and ruffled white shirt.

Mars dug in to his electric guitar for the charging solo to "Let's Go Crazy," his facial expressions even appearing like those of Prince, who died in April from an accidental overdose of painkillers.

- 'President Agent Orange' -

In the most politically charged moment of the evening, leading rappers came together to denounce President Donald Trump and his anti-immigration stance.

Busta Rhymes -- on stage with A Tribe Called Quest and Anderson .Paak -- mocked Trump's appearance and vowed to keep opposing him.

"I just want to thank President Agent Orange for perpetuating all the evil you've been perpetuating," Busta Rhymes said in a mock award acceptance speech.

"We come together! We the people!" he shouted as fellow performers knocked through a wall on stage -- a reference to Trump's plan to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

At the end: the artists chanted: "Resist! Resist! Resist!"

- Lady Gaga goes metal -

Lady Gaga found herself at ease as a metalhead as she danced at a maddening pace in a collaboration with Metallica.

Famous for her audacious outfits, Lady Gaga donned a Metallica T-shirt and shorts as she raced across stage and then stage-dived as fireballs shot up from the stage.

The energetic performance suffered a glitch, though, as the microphone was off on Metallica frontman James Hetfield -- who in a bit of quick thinking shared a mic with Lady Gaga.

- Katy Perry returns -

Returning to the live stage after a brief hiatus, pop superstar Katy Perry offered a subtle political critique with an armband that read, "Resist."

Perry, one of the top celebrity backers of Hillary Clinton's unsuccessful presidential campaign, sported newly blonde hair as she sang on a stage transformed into a revolving house.

She sang her new song "Chained to the Rhythm" -- whose lyricism warns of media bubbles -- with reggae legend Bob Marley's grandson Skip, who joined her at the end with a triumphant arm embrace.

- The robots are back -

The reclusive French duo Daft Punk performed for the first time in public in three years as they joined R&B sensation The Weeknd.

Daft Punk, who never show their faces, swapped their robot outfits for a look that was more "Star Wars" as they wore Darth Vader-like capes and masks.

The duo, who produced The Weeknd on recent tracks, gave a more elaborate house music beat to the songs as the Staples Center lit up with lasers.