Bruno Mars – Finesse
Bruno Mars stormed out at the start of the show looking like the days when Bell Biv DeVoe, Tony! Toni! Toné! and After 7 were duking it our for Favorite Soul/R&B Band, Duo, or Group. His set wasn’t especially flashy (save some tasteful pyro), his setpiece didn’t have much of a theme compared to Fifth Harmony’s post-apocalyptic wasteland, and we’ve already heard him do “24k Magic” on Saturday Night Live. But, still, he was the most electric performer of the night – maybe the most electric performer pop music has right now – and his show was choreographed somewhere between James Brown and Broadway. Mars pulled off the fluid popping and locking of the era that “24k Magic” recalls and covered Funkadelic’s “(Not Just) Knee Deep” for good measure. He reacted to the insane accents of his band like Prince or Michael Jackson would, setting a night’s bar for physical performance that no one would (or could) match.