What's better than Macklemore & Ryan Lewis performing "Same Love" at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards? How about performing alongside Madonna, who added her hit "Open Your Heart" to the performance? Want a bonus? How about Queen Latifah and 33 gay and straight couples lined up to get married in what Yahoo Music recounted (Jan. 26) as possibly the most "touching" Grammy performance ever?
Every year the Grammy Awards gives us much to talk about, and the 2014 version was no different. But while the other 55 Grammy ceremonies left us debating whether or not this or that artist should have won, applauding the winners we wanted to win, or devaluing the artist, their music, or the industry for allowing those to win we sorely wanted to see go home empty-handed, the 56th Annual Grammy Awards gave us something extra. And although a few of the duets were as questionable as they are every year, when Macklemore & Ryan Lewis hit the stage to perform "Same Love," little did viewers know that they were watching the run-up to one of the greatest performances in Grammy history -- perhaps even the greatest.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis cleaned up on the night, taking home four Grammies, but their biggest and most rewarding moment may have come when they performed their Song of the Year nominated "Same Love," a song that breaks down the politics of intolerance that disallows gay marriages or same-sex unions to take place. The guys and Mary Lambert (also featured on the hit single) had the crowd on their feet. And since the ceremony has been unable to allow an artist to do a solo act in two decades -- and the audience had been forewarned via CBS' non-stop promoting of the 2014 show -- it was no surprise that the second half of the duo would show up somewhere during the song.
But Queen Latifah? Didn't the previews promote Madonna? What was going on?
It was quickly explained that there were 33 couples from the LGBT community all dressed up and waiting to get married. A very enthusiastic Queen Latifah, who recently announced that she was gay and even more recently was deputized by Los Angeles County so she could perform the mass wedding, ran through the basic rites and pronounced the couples married.
And just as Queen Latifah happily shouted the finalization of the marriage ceremony, Madonna stepped on stage looking every bit, according to most late night comedians describing her entrance afterward, like the female version of an iconic Kentucky chicken fast food franchise symbol. Regardless, she still sounded like the singer who has placed 38 songs in the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100, including 12 No. 1s. One of those No. 1 songs, "Open Your Heart," folded into Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Same Love."
One of the best moments in the history of the Grammys, without doubt...
And if you were to doubt it, then those doubts can be laid to rest with the words of Paul Williams, who, along with Nile Rogers and Daft Punk, accepted the 2014 Grammy award for Album of the Year.
"You know, I just got a message from the robots," he said, after having the gramophone trophy placed in his hands by one of the robotic duo, "and what they wanted me to say is that as elegant and as classy as the Grammy has ever been is the moment we saw those wonderful marriages. Same love is as fantastic…" [the camera caught music legends clapping and cheering, a Sir Paul McCartney fist-pumping the air] "…and it's the height of fairness and love and the power of love for all people at any time in any combination."
The 2014 Grammy Awards were held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and shown live on CBS Television.