With a Canadian invasion in full swing ( Drake, Justin Bieber and The Weeknd stacked nominations like it was going out of style) and Lady Gaga's red-carpet ensemble baring the promise of something spectacular to come, black tie-clad industry heavyweights packed into their stadium seats for the GRAMMYs - and on Music's Biggest Night, the only rule is that anything can happen. We've rounded up a few of the highlights from inside the Feb. 15 extravaganza, including some you might not have seen on your TV screens.
WHERE IS YOUR GUITAR NOW
Justin Bieber's highly anticipated performance saw the singer on the small stage for a stripped-down version of "Love Yourself" before moving the the main stage to belt out Where Are Ü Now with Jack Ü (comprised of DJs Skrillex and Diplo). As the Stratford native, who won his first-ever GRAMMY earlier in the night, took off his guitar he seemed to get a little caught up in the straps before grabbing the instrument and smashing it on the stage. He then bolted off to join the DJs for their chart-topping track.
A performance as breathtaking as Kendrick Lamar's politically charged "The Blacker The Berry" and "Alright" doesn't come along every year, and the show-stopper had the stadium at a stand-still as the crowd took in every second. The rapper, who scored five of the 11 trophies that made him the night's most-nominated star, was also one of few acts to utilize the entire stage, moving from a prison scene to a giant bonfire (we could feel the heat!) with glowing tribal dancers. Finally, he introduced a third song on a barren part of the stage but with the screens cutting wildly to different views of his face, during which the stadium was already getting to its feet for a standing ovation.
Famous friends and fans couldn't wait to share their excitement on Twitter:
I had to charge my phone so I am late but @kendricklamar !!!!!!!!!!!! WOW.
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) February 16, 2016
— Pharrell Williams (@Pharrell) February 16, 2016
— Taraji P. Henson (@TherealTaraji) February 16, 2016
The night's other biggest ovation was for Lady Gaga, who blew the world away with her tribute to David Bowie, one that will surely go down in history. "Space Oddity," "Fashion," "Fame," "Let's Dance" and "Heroes" were among the 10 tracks she performed, which she called "the greatest honour anyone has ever given me" in a behind-the-scenes Intel spot. What started with Gaga's face on the screen wearing Ziggy Stardust makeup and mutating in out-of-this-world colours opened up to a dynamic and thrilling medley with numerous costume changes that ended with a screen bearing colourful swirls and David Bowie's face.
A surprisingly simple yet striking performance by Tori Kelly and James Bay earlier in the evening also had the room on its feet, as did the Lionel Richie tribute - a feast for the ears as Demi Lovato performed "Hello," John Legend took on "Easy" and Meghan Trainor nailed "You Are" before the man himself took to the stage emblazoned with his name for "All Night Long."
We were holding onto our seats when Johnny Depp and his rock supergroup, the Hollywood Vampires, paid tribute to Motörhead's Lemmy Kilmister. As Alice Cooper wailed on the microphone, the actor and Aerosmith's Joe Perry shredded their guitars with opposing solos. It was the first live performance of their new single "As Bad As I Am," and no rock debut is complete with a little fire - and a spoken-word portion by Johnny (in an English accent, no less). After, the audience was riveted as flames lit up the smoky stage and Lemmy's face appeared on a screen behind the band for his iconic "Ace of Spades," and the stadium was filled with bright white beams dancing in every direction to near-seizure-inducing proportions.
In the name of ending with a bang, one of the evening's big surprises came as another trio took the stage. Pitbull, Blink-182's Travis Barker and Robin Thicke closed the show after Travis adorably walked the carpet with his kids. As Pitbull performed his hit "El Taxi," which includes a shout-out to Sofia Vergara, the Modern Family star took the stage, shimmying away with his backup dancers in a glittering taxi costume.
TEARS FOR FEARS
Walking into the stadium, everyone who held a coveted ticket was given a rubber wristband to wear during Taylor Swift's performance. As she debuted "Out of the Woods,' the baubles lit up and danced to the tune, a breathtaking spectacle indeed - but one not quite good enough to distract the tearful 26-year-old from a missed note in her performance.
— Taylor Swift Updates (@1989TUpdates) February 16, 2016
[On a side note: It's hard not to watch Taylor during the entire show, from pulling a little girl onto her lap to chatting animatedly with friends during breaks, cheering wildly and singing along to lyrics front row centre.]
Taylor wasn't the only perfectionist in the room who felt let down by her performance. Though 54% of our readers included Adele in their dream collaboration (teaming her up with a famous fan, Drake), the powerhouse vocalist performed on her own in the middle of the auditorium on a round platform. She dazzled in a red gown standing by a piano, but appeared upset following the rendition of "All I Ask," during which a microphone fell on the piano strings. Silver lining: She treated herself to In-N-Out burger following the show.