The 2018 Grammy Awards were really about one thing—the performances. With only a small handful of awards actually handed out during the live telecast, the show was made up of performances for the bulk of the three-and-a-half-hour runtime.

With a jam-packed show featuring everything from upbeat and energetic numbers, to solemn tributes and numbers rife with political and social commentary, there was quite a lot to watch. While all of the performances brought something different which made them stand out, a few others stood out above the rest.

Kendrick Lamar feat. U2 and Dave Chapelle-- "XXX/DNA/King's Dead" Medley

Kendrick Lamar proved he knew how to open a show, exhibiting one of his best medleys ever, featuring appropriate messages throughout that spoke to current tensions. Featuring an army of hooded soldiers in front of an American flag, a figure in white pounding on a drum and eventually a stage flooded by dancers in red hoodies, who dropped one by one as gunshot sounds rung out, it was some of his best staging ever, and truly drove home the message he was trying to get across. Though U2's Bono and The Edge seemed a bit random, Dave Chappelle's cutting in at points to deliver some commentary also added to the "satire" component of the performance.

Kesha-- "Praying"

Accompanied on stage by Camila Cabello, Cyndi Lauper, Andra Day, Bebe Rexha, Julia Michaels and The Resistance Revival Chorus, this was perhaps the most gut-punching, and yes, relevant, number of the night. With sexual harassment and assault at the forefront of conversation now, and being acknowledged through the appearance of white roses throughout the event, it was notable to see Kesha, who once stood alone as a victim of sexual assault, come out and give it her all on the song she wrote about her experiences with Dr. Luke. Her emotions were clearly all over the place as she sang, as she delivered a performance that was both powerful and seemingly cathartic for her. Everything she has been through clearly still took a toll on her though, as she shook and broke into tears after finishing her number.

Bruno Mars and Cardi B-- "Finesse" (Remix)

For sheer levels of enjoyment in a night where many performances focused on emotional impact, this colorful staging of the duo's remix was a bright spot of fun, dripping with 90s throwback visuals, lots of energy and dancing (as can be expected from any Mars performance), and a dip into Cardi's single "Bartier Cardi."

Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee feat. Zuleyka Rivera-- "Despacito"

Also bringing some of the energy back to the stage was this performance of the undisputed song of summer 2017. While some fans likely felt it was missing something since Justin Bieber skipped the Grammys altogether, the pair's return to the song's roots, performing it entirely in Spanish, proved that while Bieber's involvement helped bring the song more mainstream, he wasn't needed to make it great.

Lady Gaga-- "Joanne/Million Reasons" Medley

Though it wasn't her best performance ever, Gaga's was still one worth noting, as she gave an emotional tribute on a piano covered with angel wings during her first number, before poignantly saying "Time's Up," and switching to her power ballad, "Million Reasons." This performance served as a way of reminding her fans that she is more than entertainer—she's also a true performer with indisputable amounts of talent.

Brothers Osborne, Maren Morris and Eric Church-- "Tears In Heaven"

This emotional performance served as an appropriate tribute to the victims who died at the Route 91 Harvest Fest in Las Vegas last year, allowing their names to scrawl across the background as the performers, who were all present at the event as well, sang their tribute.

Logic feat. Alessia Cara and Khalid-- "1-800-273-8255"

Though this performance didn't stray too much from the one they initially gave of the suicide prevention anthem when it was performed at the VMAs last summer, it was still a moving moment worth watching. Logic's speech at the end also is worth noting because of his references to the #TimesUp movement, as well as tensions in the U.S. related to President Trump's recent comments where he referred to other countries as "s***holes."

Childish Gambino-- "Terrified"

Donald Glover proved he really can do anything with this performance, and his powerful vocals on this number, which continued to scale higher throughout were mesmerizing. The ending, featuring his guest star and future "Lion King" co-star JD McCrary was also a great way to get some subtle hype for the film, because hearing the two sing together definitely got some attention.

Kesha
Kesha's performance of "Praying" at the Grammy Awards, live from Madison Square Garden in New York on Jan. 28, 2018, was one of the most moving and powerful performances of the night.  Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NARAS