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Beyoncé took the Grammys stage on Sunday night in a glimmering gold gown that highlighted her pregnant form, claiming her body as a physical manifestation of the miracle of life and the culmination of a long line of powerful women, with a headdress that hinted at Renaissance-style depictions of the Virgin Mary. 

After a handful of performances that fell visually flat (with the exception of The Weeknd's performance in a fortress of synthy solitude) and a charmingly proud introduction by Miss Tina, Bey returned to show what an iconic interlude really looks like. Her experiments combining live performance with video have long been artistically groundbreaking, and it seems like the success of Lemonade has only piqued her interest in the format of blending highly stylized visuals, spoken word and performance.

Surrounded by earth mother figures in robes, both real and in hologram form (including depictions of the women in her family portrayed as saints and icons), Beyoncé performed "Love Drought" before sitting down in her own garden of musical Eden for "Sandcastles," two of the most emotive ballads on Lemonade. She finished with four words that will define her performance: "Let it be glorious."

 

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