When Jennifer Lopez was announced as the Grammys‘ pick for the show’s Motown tribute performer, some music fans were skeptical about the selection, but for the most part, many viewers were unaware that she’d be delivering the performance. However, once she hit the stage, that skepticism exploded into full-blown befuddlement from viewers who didn’t understand J-Lo’s selection for a Motown tribute when she has no connection to the era or the sound.
Her performance also included other confusing cameos from the likes of Ne-Yo and show host Alicia Keys, and some critics noted that Ne-Yo, an actual artist who had been signed to Motown at one point, wasn’t given the same prominence. “That was all about Jlo and that performance was about her dancing,” wrote one user. “That was NOT about Motown at all. Neyo as a Motown artist didn’t even get his shine and fair time!” Others seemed bothered that the choreography seemed to focus on her dancing and not the contributions of Motown’s artists to the musical landscape. Another irate fan tweeted, “JLo was really up there doing the salsa to MOTOWN.”
Even corporate accounts couldn’t help getting in their shots. The account for The Root wondered, “Y’all didn’t want Mary J. Blige in this dancery? Kelly Rowland ain’t want to bump like this? Ciara didn’t want to level up on stage? HOW did we get to the point where someone thought a J Lo Motown tribute was ok during #BlackHistoryMonth?” Some others saw it as a teachable moment, using the reaction to the performance to highlight the history of the iconic label. All in all, the performance — although eye-catching and professionally entertaining — fell short of many viewers’ expectations. Check out some of the reactions below.