Every Oscars Musical Performance Ranked!!

Here’s a look at some of the best and worst performances of the night!!

5. “I’ll Fight” – Jennifer Hudson

This was a bit rough. Much of the issue seemed from extremely poor mixing as Hudsons voice overpowered the orchestration behind her to the point that I found myself genuinely unsure if the vocals were in the correct key or not. She also seemed somewhat unsure and the the key and tempo were unsteady. That being said, Jennifer Hudson is a remarkable talent and a true professional who powered through these difficulties for a performance she can be proud of.

4. “The Place Where Lost Things Go” – Bette Middler

Here, we had another mixed bag, though much more on the positive side. The mix was, again, atrocious, letting Middler’s voice bully the orchestration back entirely. However, Bette’s voice was much softer and her performance was extremely heartfelt. Tonally, her voice doesn’t seem to have lost all that much over the years and considering the generally sentimental nature of the track and the film themselves, this came off as an enjoyable, if slightly flawed, interpretation of a nice song.

3. “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions” – Queen and Adam Lambert

What a way to start a show! Finding themselves without a host, the Oscars chose Queen, in their newest iteration anyway, to open the show with a flashy performance of one of the most iconic cuts in their catalog. The show was, admittedly, far more show than substance and Adam Lambert falls woefully short of Freddy Mercury’s otherworldly excellence. Overall, however, this was a fun and exciting way to open the night.

2. “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” – Gillian Welch and David Rawlings

What a pleasant surprise this was. Much like the film for which the song was written, this performance was an unflinching callback to a sound and a genre that has been absent from the cultural zeitgeist for quite sometime. Welch and Rawlings crafted an intimate experience with harmonies that were absolutely air tight. The instrumentation was subtle and melodic and the performance was one of the most overall enjoyable experiences of the night

1. “Shallow” – Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper

Going into the night, it was this performance which had the most buzz surrounding it. After an odd and disappointing rendition of the song at the Grammy ceremony, Lady Gaga was set to redeem herself tonight with Bradley Cooper by her side and she did so quite admirably. Though Cooper was noticeably uncomfortable and had some pitch problems in the opening line, his harmony work was excellent and Gaga’s powerhouse voice carried the moment to one of the most memorable of the ceremony.

Reward Rewind: 61st Grammy Awards

The 61st Grammys are in the books! Let’s take a look at some of the most memorable parts of the night!

Best Performance: Natural Woman – Yolanda Adams, Fantasia, and Andra Day

There were many excellent performances at the 61st Grammy awards, from Jennifer Lopez’ Motown medley to a perfectly choreographed piece from Janelle Monet, but none of the were quite as powerful as the tribute to the queen of soul herself, Aretha Franklin. All three women gave heartfelt and moving performances of one of Aretha’s most infamous tracks. The harmonies were air tight and the solos were remarkable. A fitting tribute to the queen.

Worst Performance: Shallow – Lady Gaga

Let me preface this by saying that I not only love this song, but the soundtrack from which it came as well. It’s a strong centerpiece to a great album and I also generally like Lady Gaga. That being said, her performance here was jarring to say the least. Her decision to sing Bradley Cooper’s part as well as her own was strange and hurt the conversational aspect of the track, her pronunciation and vocal inflections were manic and distracting, and worst of all, her dancing was simply bizarre. It’s a shame as she’s very talented and the track is excellent, but this performance was a big missed opportunity.

Most Surprising Win: Invasion Of Privacy – Cardi B (Best Rap Album)

Cardi B became the first solo woman to win a Best Rap Album Grammy last night and I certainly couldn’t have guessed this before it happened. Judging by Cardi’s nervous but endearing acceptance speech, neither could she. While Invasion of Privacy was one of the better records in the lineup, it was up against several juggernauts. Drake’s Scorpion and Travis Scott’s ASTROWORLD would have been infinitely less surprising as both featured their fair share of radio hits and name recognition. Ultimately, however, Cardi B took home a much deserved win for her studio debut.

Worst Win: Pharrell Williams (Producer of the Year, Non-Classical)

I went back and forth on whether I should mention this one as the only reference to it came from a quick mention by Alicia Keys. However, it’s just too egregious to ignore. Kanye West produced five albums this year, each of which was not only extremely successful, but found much of their success thanks to Kanye’s production. His decision to cut the albums’ runtime below 30 minutes and his more raw style has been incredibly influential this year. While I haven’t loved all of his output this year, there is simply no way to deny the impact he’s had on the industry this year.

Best Win: Golden Hour – Kacey Musgraves (Album of the Year)

This was another of the most surprising choices by the committee. I would’ve ranked Golden Hour as the single least likely winner as country music gets very little recognition in this category and other records offered more of a cultural importance and diversity factor. That being said, this was an extremely fun listen with great instrumentation and really heartfelt lyrics and vocals from Kacey. It’s nice to see some reward for an album that made an attempt to step out of the box and though it wasn’t the most experimental piece of work to come out this year, it was daring and unique in it’s own right. It’s an exciting win for very talented young woman with a bright future.