The thing that almost angers me the most about Bruno Mars beating out Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar (and even Childish Gambino) for Album of The Year is that it puts me in the position of having to say anything about Bruno Mars other than that he’s a goddamn delight and I enjoy him very much. Bruno Mars is a goddamn delight and I enjoy him very much. I still don’t think he deserved to win Album of the Year.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about Cardi B’s Grammy debut, which she shared with Bruno Mars in a performance of their infectious hit Finesse. God, I love Finesse so much. This performance was a shot of much-needed energy in a largely lackluster broadcast. The Finesse video is currently one of the favourite things on the Internet so I love that they leaned into the In Living Color theme. So much that I don’t even care that Cardi was seemingly lip-syncing very poorly.
Controversial opinion: the Cardi B version of Finesse is better than anything else on 24K Magic (including the original). That’s more of a compliment to Finesse than a knock to the rest of the songs on 24K Magic but it also furthers my point that it wasn’t worthy of Album of the Year. It’s not even Bruno’s best album! Not to bring it back to this but I KNOW I’m going to get an email that makes the argument that Bruno Mars is a man of colour who sings R&B and wasn’t relegated to the “urban” categories so I should just be happy. I should take this as a sign of progress. Well, maybe I would if Bruno’s win didn’t come at the expense of two of the greatest artists of our generation and their literal masterpieces. Maybe I would if Bruno’s win wasn’t a slap in the face to a genre that was created to express black pain. Maybe I would if Bruno’s win wasn’t for an album that says NOTHING in the year 2018 when so many other artists are channelling their rage into their art, Linda. (I get a lot of “why you so mad?” emails from someone named Linda.) I digress.
Let’s go back to the last five seconds of the performance when Cardi B comes in with the choreography and is basically more adorable than newborn puppies and Luna Legend combined. If they were giving out Grammys for Choreography of the Year, Bruno Mars should win every time. He is, without question, the best male dancer in pop music. Ahem, Justin Timberlake. After the Finesse performance, Lainey texted me, “Bruno out here telling Justin Timberlake he doesn’t matter anymore.” I have a theory that Justin Timberlake can’t dance anymore. The theory is basically just go look at any of the videos he’s released in the past three years. Even before he lost his ability to dance (karma, perhaps? #NeverForget), there was NEVER a point in JT’s career where he could do what Bruno Mars does on that stage. I don’t want the understandable Bruno Mars Grammy backlash to take away from the bliss he delivers with every single performance – especially this performance.
I think I love the Bruno/ Cardi B pairing so much because she is also so good at supplying pure pleasure on her own. I want to link to a tweet but I can’t find it (I hate it when people do this I’m sorry!) so I’m going to paraphrase. Someone wrote that after watching the Grammys last night you would think that Bodak Yellow didn’t exist. Cardi was nominated in two categories but lost them both. As much as I LOVE Finesse, I almost wish she didn’t have to share her only performance on the biggest stage in music. I wish we got Cardi performing Bodak Yellow too.
There really should have just been a camera on Cardi B the whole time. Look at how excited she got that Bono knows who she is!
Finally, my fave Cardi B moment of the night: on the red carpet when she told Giuliana Rancic that she had butterflies in her “stomach and vagina.” She kills me.