Lorde did not perform at the 60th Grammy Awards, despite the fact that she was nominated for the coveted Album of the Year award for her album Melodrama. In a controversial production move, the 21-year-old superstar singer was not asked to perform a solo song at the annual awards show while her male counterparts and fellow Best Album nominees Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars, and Childish Gambino were all offered solo performances from their Grammy-nominated albums.
While she wasn’t offered a solo spot at the Grammys, Lorde was approached by Grammy Awards producers to perform in a group tribute to the late Tom Petty. In the end, Lorde declined to participate in a group performance of the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers classic, “American Girl,” according to Variety.
Interestingly, Lorde is actually a self-described Tom Petty fan. Last year, while performing at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Lorde teased the beginning of her song, “Liability,” by singing a few bars of Petty’s 1976 hit “American Girl.” At the time, Lorde said she was “the biggest Tom Petty fan ever.” The fact that Lorde turned down a chance to sing one of her favorite Tom Petty songs at the Grammy Awards proves just how upset she was over the solo performance diss.
Lorde wasn’t the only one who was upset. Lorde fans were furious that the New Zealand singer-songwriter was not asked to perform solo at the 2018 Grammy Awards. Angry fans took to social media to lash out over the fact that Lorde was only asked to participate in a group tribute to Tom Petty. Some fans slammed the Grammys for allowing host James Corden to suck up precious airtime with silly skits, while others wanted to know why Sting was featured in both a pre-taped sketch about “Subway Karaoke” and a live performance with Shaggy.
Lets take a moment to remember Lorde didn't perform tonight because they only offered her a spot on the Tom Petty tribute and not her own performance like they did every other Album Of The Year nominee. #Grammys2018— Lisa Lagace (@lisalagace) January 29, 2018
So Sting gets TWO slots of air time but there was no room for Lorde? Ok #Grammys— Jessica Goodman (@jessgood) January 29, 2018
As the night goes on, it becomes increasingly puzzling why the #Grammy overlords deemed that Lorde, the only woman nominated for album of the year, wasn't given a performing slot and yet Sting (up for no awards) and Bono (ditto) were— stuart emmrich (@StuartEmmrichNY) January 29, 2018
sure glad the #Grammys made room for Sting playing a minor 30-year-old hit instead of giving Lorde her own song.— Sam Adams (@SamuelAAdams) January 29, 2018
Number of Onstage Appearances at last night’s Grammys:— Aléx Young (@AlexYoung) January 29, 2018
Note: Neither Sting nor Bono were nominated for a single award.
Grammys executive producer Ken Elrich addressed the Lorde outrage after the live awards show aired.
“These shows are always a matter of choices, and we know we have a box and the box gets full and filled up,” Ehrlich told reporters, according to Billboard.
“Lorde] had a great album, album of the year is a big honor, but there’s no way we can really deal with everybody. Sometimes people get left out that shouldn’t, but on the other hand, we did the best we can to make sure that it’s a representative and balanced show.”
While Lorde didn’t sing (or speak) during the 2018 Grammys, her dress included a hidden message. In a unique fashion statement, Lorde pinned an excerpt from one of Jenny Holzer’s Inflammatory Essays to the back of her red Grammys gown.
“My version of a white rose — THE APOCALYPSE WILL BLOSSOM,” Lorde captioned a photo of the back of her dress.
While the quote appeared to be in support of the #MeToo movement, some Lorde fans think the powerful message she had sewn into the back of her dress also served as a subtle comment on her Grammy Awards snub.