Photo courtesy of Slaven Vlasic of FilmMagic | Bruno Mars poses in the press room during 60th annual Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28th in New York City.

The Grammy Awards are regarded as the highest musical achievement, and for recording artists, it is as an acknowledgment from the music industry and fans around the world. The Grammys categories span from Best Improvised Jazz Solo to Best Rap Album.

The 60th Grammy Awards celebrated the achievements of Bruno Mars who, fresh off the “24K Magic” Tour, swept six categories, most notably: Best R&B Album, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year.

Just one Grammy Award shy of Mars, rap-sensation Kendrick Lamar earned five awards. Lamar won Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song, and Best Music Video.

Along with Lamar and Mars, Alessia Cara won the award for the Best New Artist, stirring some controversy among fans. Cara beat out Khalid, Lil Uzi Vert, Julia Michaels and SZA. This is not the first time that the Best New Artist award has created controversy. In 2010 Lady Gaga was excluded from this category because she was “ineligible” based on the Grammy’s old category requirements.

Now artists must fulfill criteria outlined on the Recording Academy’s website. Artists “must have released a minimum of five singles or one album, may not have entered this category more than three times and must have achieved a breakthrough into the public consciousness and impact the musical landscape.” Additionally, fans have criticized the Recording Academy’s judging process which invites industry insiders to vote anonymously for awards.

One thing that is unfortunately consistent throughout all types of awards shows are snubs, and this year has proved to be no exception to the phenomenon. One of the biggest snub victims this year was Ke$ha.

Ke$ha was nominated for 2 Grammys and who came up shy in both of categories, but the”bigger snub” was her loss for Best Pop Solo Performance. Ed Sheeran won the Grammy for his song “Shape Of You” and needless to say, the masses were not happy following Ke$ha’s electrifying performance during the awards show that night.

The next notable snub fell upon Jay-Z. Jay-Z went into the ceremony with eight Grammy nominations. However, he didn’t leave with a single win. Finally, there is “the Alessia Cara situation.” Alessia Cara won Best New Artist at the Grammys this year, however, her first album released in 2015 making her a new artist in 2015-2016. This has been a point of contention among fans rooting for artists who put out albums during 2017.

The Grammy celebrations, in addition to the awards, are known for their high energy performances and this year’s performers did not disappoint. From fun romps to politically driven satires, there was a wide array of performances this year that made the 2018 Grammys stand out from years past.

The performances kicked off with Bruno Mars, this year’s big winner, who teamed up with hip-hop sensation Cardi B as they performed their hot new single, “Finesse,” on the Grammy stage. “Finesse” is a smooth and upbeat track that takes inspiration from the late 80s and 90s regarding the style, choreography and costuming of the performance and music video. “Finesse” is undoubtedly a hit, debuting at #3 on the Billboard Top 100 Songs chart.

The next performer of the night was Logic, who put on an emotionally charged performance. Logic dropped his third studio album, “Everybody,” in May 2017. His song “1-800-273-8255”, which features Khalid and Alessia Cara, was one song off the album, nominated for Song of the Year, for its poignant message about the value of life and having a desire to live and be happy.

Logic took the stage with Khalid and Alessia Cara as they performed a gut-wrenching, heart-warming rendition of the song. Following the song, Logic proceeded to give an emotional bombshell of a rallying speech leading off with, “Black is beautiful. Hate is ugly,” followed by “Women are as precious as they are stronger than any man I have ever met.” Logic used his words to empower women to continue showing their strength and to use the power they hold to speak out and speak up.

Another incredible performance of the night was delivered by Kendrick Lamar who performed his set titled, “This Is A Satire By Kendrick Lamar.” Lamar has been known for his incredibly captivating performances dating back to 2014. Performing a medley of his own verses, Lamar’s performance was electrifying and eye-opening to the psyche of Kendrick Lamar. Highlighting everything he’s been through on his climb to the top.

Arguably, the most important and the most emotionally difficult performance of the night came from Ke$ha. Ke$ha recently broke ties with her longtime producer, Dr. Luke. Ke$ha has been through a legal battle with the producer after accusing Luke of “sexually, physically, verbally, and emotionally abusing” her during the past several years they’ve been working together. Finally, without Dr. Luke, Ke$ha released the song “Praying,” which she performed. Ke$ha’s performance was exhilarating and emotionally charged by years of pain and misery put into this one song. All in all, the 60th Grammy awards were a night to remember, highlighted by strong and political performances.