It may not have been as exciting as Beyonce's or as enthusiastic as Macklemore's will presumably be, but Lorde's performance at the 2014 Grammy Awards was fantastic all on its own merit, thanks to the 17-year-old's gorgeous voice and formidable stage presence. Singing her hit "Royals," Lorde, up for four awards at tonight's show, earned a huge ovation for her performance, proving that sometimes pure talent is more impressive than elaborate sets or flashy CGI.
Despite "Royals" ubiquity on the radio, Lorde made the song sound brand new, thanks to an odd, suspenseful arrangement that's unlike anything she's done in past performances. The song started with a gorgeous, haunting repetition of "Baby I rule," the last line of the chorus, and from there, "Royals" took on a whole new life. Lorde's strong voice rang through with stunning clarity, letting the little oddities about the performance — the lighting, her pants (seriously, have we ever seen her not wearing a dress?), those nails — get notice without acting as distraction.
It would've been nice to hear Lorde sing another, less-famous song from her repertoire, like "Team" or "Ribs," but it's not surprising she chose "Royals" for the performance. It's the song most people associate her with, and while it's definitely overplayed, it's a gorgeous song that most people still aren't tired of hearing — and the new arrangement definitely helped to spice things up.
Really, though, even if the performance had just been a standard, predictable version of the song, it'd still be impressive. Remember, Lorde is 17; few other teenagers can command a stage with as much confidence, and look as cool doing it, as she does each and every time she steps up to perform.