The Columbus duo's pants-less win and fiery turns from A Tribe Called Quest and Chance the Rapper highlight the annual awards telecast
Twenty One Pilots bandmates Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun might've earned their first Grammy, taking home the win for best pop duo or group performance for the song “Stressed Out,” but the pair managed to lose their pants en route to the stage.
The Columbus duo accepted its award sans-knickers, owing to a Grammy-viewing party that took place at Joseph’s house years ago.
“As we were watching, we noticed every single one of us was in our underwear,” Joseph said. “And seriously, Josh turned to me ... and he said, ‘If ... we ever win a Grammy, we should receive it just like this.’”
Here’s the band’s full acceptance speech:
“The story, it starts in Columbus, Ohio, and it is a few years ago, and it was before Josh and I were able to make money playing music. And I called him up, and I said, “Hey, Josh, you want to come over to my rental house and watch the Grammys?” And he said, “Yeah, who is hanging there?” And I said, “A couple my roommates coming to watch the Grammys with us.” And as we were watching, we noticed every single one of us was in our underwear. And seriously, Josh turned to me — and we were no one at that time — and he said, ‘If we ever go to the Grammy, if we ever win a Grammy, we should receive it just like this.’
So, not only is this amazing, but I want everyone who is watching at home to know that you could be next. So watch out, okay. Because anyone from anywhere can do anything. And this is that.”
The Grammy victory capped a rise that has seen Twenty One Pilots progress from selling out the 2,200-capacity Express Live in 2012 (click here to read Alive’s interview with the duo) to packing the Schottenstein Center in 2015.
The rest of the evening belonged to Adele, who won five Grammys, including album of the year for 25, and Beyonce, whose arty, earth-motherly turn on a two-song Lemonade medley served as an early highlight in a telecast that was in dire need of one during a first-half slog.
Adele opened the evening with a shaky version of her hit song “Hello” and also delivered a stately — if safe — tribute to George Michael, who died in December. Safe could rightly describe a bulk of the ceremony, which also featured Bruno Mars turning in a clean-cut, “High School Musical”-esque tribute to late icon Prince, Pentatonix potentially killing off the brief a cappella renaissance kicked off by “Pitch Perfect” and Katy Perry ditching her usual technicolor teenage dreams to sing about being “happily numb … living in a bubble.”
Fortunately, A Tribe Called Quest temporarily burst this bubble, breaking through a prop designed to look like President Trump’s would-be border wall as it launched into a ferocious “We the People.”
“I’m not feeling the political climate right now,” guest rapper Busta Rhymes announced. “I just want to thank President Agent Orange for perpetuating all of the evil that you’ve been perpetuating throughout the United States. I want to thank President Agent Orange for your unsuccessful attempt at the Muslim ban. When we come together. We the people!”
The song ended with the performers standing onstage, fists raised in solidarity as Q-Tip repeated a call-to-arms: “Resist. Resist. Resist.” (A marked difference in tone from the “persist” armband worn earlier in the evening by Perry.)
While Tribe dwelt in this current political hellscape, Chicago’s Chance the Rapper — a Grammy winner three times over for best new artist, rap album and rap performance — turned to the heavens for inspiration in a similarly chill-inducing, gospel-tinged medley of “How Great” and “All We Got,” both off the excellent Coloring Book.
It was a rapturous, rafter-shaking turn from the 23-year-old Breakaway Music Festival alumni, who closed his time onstage bounding back and forth in front of a bevy of musicians and robe-clad gospel singers. “Music is all we got,” he shouted. And in that moment, at least, the music was enough.