Grammy Awards 2018: Kendrick Lamar, Kesha and Lady Gaga give memorable performances

PHOTO: Rihanna, left, and Kendrick Lamar accept the award for best rap/sung performance for "Loyalty." at the 60th annual Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden, Jan. 28, 2018, in New York.PlayMatt Sayles/Invision/AP
WATCH Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars win big at 2018 Grammys

Kendrick Lamar kicked off the 60th annual Grammy Awards kicked off Sunday night inside New York City's Madison Square Garden with a powerful performance.

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The rapper, who took home five awards this year, performed a medley of his hits from his latest project, "Damn." With help from background dancers, who began the performance wearing Army fatigues, Lamar, 30, started off his performance by rapping, “XXX," in front of an American flag.

The words, "This is a satire by Kendrick Lamar," flashed behind him as he performed.

Lamar was joined onstage by Bono and The Edge before he began a live rendition of "DNA."

When comedian Dave Chapelle popped up onstage, many thought he signaled the end of Lamar's performance, but he was actually in on the act.

"Hi. I’m Dave Chapelle," he began. "And I just wanted to remind the audience that the only thing more frightening than watching a black man be honest in America is being an honest black man in America. Sorry for the interruption. Please continue.”

Lamar then concluded his six-minute performance, receiving a standing ovation and much praise online from celebrities.

PHOTO: Pink performs Wild Hearts Cant Be Broken at the 60th annual Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden, Jan. 28, 2018, in New York.
SLIDESHOW: IN PHOTOS: The 60th annual Grammy awards

There were other stand-out performances Sunday night, including a touching tribute to those who lost their lives last year at concerts around the world. Country artists sang a rendition of Eric Clapton's 1992 hit "Tears in Heaven" as handwritten messages from loved ones flashed onstage.

Here were our other favorite performances:

Lady Gaga

PHOTO: Recording artist Lady Gaga performs onstage during the 60th annual Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City. Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Recording artist Lady Gaga performs onstage during the 60th annual Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City.

The singer continued to honor her late aunt with this year's Grammy performance. Sitting at a piano draped in oversized feathers -- which looked reminiscent of angel wings -- Lady Gaga started her performance by saying, "This is for my father's late sister, Joanne."

"Joanne" is also the name of her 2016 album, which was recognized at this year's Grammy Awards.

"This is for love and compassion even when you can't understand," she continued before performing her album's title track.

Before Lady Gaga transitioned into performing, "Million Reasons," which was nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance, she said, "Time's up," referencing the movement spearheaded by Hollywood.

Childish Gambino

The actor turned rapper turned singer gave a memorable performance at this year's Grammys with a song from his latest album called "Awaken, My Love."

Wearing all white, Childish Gambino paid homage to his album's 1970s R&B/soul vibe with a stripped down version of "Terrified" in his debut performance at the Grammys.

The singer got help in the form of 9-year-old stand-out singer, JD McCrary, who wowed the audience inside Madison Square Garden and those watching at home alike. McCrary is set to star in the forthcoming "Lion King" movie.

Kesha

PHOTO: Kesha performs Praying at the 60th annual Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden, Jan. 28, 2018, in New York.Lucas Jackson/Reuters
Kesha performs "Praying" at the 60th annual Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden, Jan. 28, 2018, in New York.

Kesha, backed by an army of female singers and songwriters all wearing white, sang "Praying" at the 60th annual Grammy Awards.

"Praying," released to much fanfare, is the singer's first solo single in nearly four years. It also scored a Grammy nomination.

Kesha, 30, explained what the song meant to her in an essay on Lenny Letter, the website run by actress Lena Dunham.

"This song is about me finding peace in the fact that I can't control everything -- because trying to control everyone was killing me," she wrote last year. "It's about learning to let go and realize that the universe is in control of my fate, not me."

Janelle Monae introduced Kesha's moving performance on Sunday, which brought tears to host James Corden's eyes.

"We come in peace, but we mean business," she began. "And to those who would dare try and silence us, we offer you two words: Time’s up."

Monae, 32, added that sexual misconduct and harassment is "not just going on in Hollywood. It's not just going on in Washington. Its' right here in our industry as well."

"We also have the power to undo the culture that does not serve us well...let’s work together -- women and men -- as a united music industry," she concluded.

Kesha then took the stage, wearing all white, joined by a chorus of female singers such as Andra Day, Cyndi Lauper and Bebe Rexha to sing her song, "Praying."

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