The Grammy Awards are, at least in theory, meant to honor the best in popular music. But every year, it’s the minor moments that seem to earn the most buzz.
Sure, Daft Punk won best album. Macklemore cleaned up in the rap categories. But that all pales in comparison next to GIFs of Taylor Swift dancing and the petulant, profanity-laden tweets of rock stars. These moments are unscripted, unglamorous, and frequently kind of mundane — but they’re a recurrence of the pleasant trope that stars, beneath their updos and designer dresses, are actually just like us!
Consider some of the buzziest and most GIF-ed moments from last night’s show. There was the doe-eyed T. Swift, apparently expecting to win album of the year — and recovering, gallantly, when Daft Punk’s name was called. (Related: Taylor Swift dancing, always, everywhere.)
There were many, many scenes of people dancing in the crowd. Yoko Ono! Katy Perry! Paul McCartney! It turns out celebrities also like music and also sway, somewhat gracelessly, under the influence of certain songs.
There was Tegan & Sara’s much-retweeted commentary on the awards, presented as texts between the two sisters as they watched on their respective TVs.
And then there was Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, who fired off an angry and unprintable tweet after the Grammys began rolling credits during his show-closing performance with Dave Grohl, Josh Homme and Lindsey Buckingham. (Stars — they don’t all have PR consultants!)
Worse was Macklemore’s text to Kendrick Lamar, in which he apologized for “robbing” Lamar of the best rap album award — and then Instagrammed the screenshot to his 2.6 million fans. Once you get past the initial oddness of all that (Macklemore has Lamar’s number? They send casual texts?) you’re left with the sour taste of a faux-apologetic humblebrag broadcast to millions of people. Then again, you probably see your pals do that kind of thing on Facebook all the time … albeit with a smaller audience.
Wherefore the fascination with these little tidbits of humanity, you ask? I’d like to think it’s reactionary, a counter-narrative to the moneyed gloss of the Grammys and the massive corporate industry they represent. But in all likelihood, everyone’s probably just gawking. And don’t think for a second that the “stars,” like us or not, don’t know they have an audience.