Memorable Grammy moments: Political performances, a Canadian first and Rihanna's dance moves

White roses on the carpet, an emotional performance by Kesha and a big Canadian win topped the list of the most memorable moments at Sunday's Grammy Awards.

Bruno Mars, Kendrick Lamar win big at music show that had a sombre tone

Kesha performs onstage with Cyndi Lauper, at left and Camila Cabello, at right, for an emotional performance of her song Praying. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

White roses on the carpet, an emotional performance by Kesha and a big Canadian win topped the list of the most memorable moments at Sunday's politically charged Grammy Awards.

Bruno Mars was awarded six trophies including album, record and song of the year. The singer-songwriter saluted fellow nominees Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino in his thank you speech.

Lamar, for his part, delivered a powerful performance about politics and race early in the night. He dominated in the rap category, taking home five Grammys for his album DAMN. and songs LOYALTY and HUMBLE.

Singer Kesha performed a moving rendition of her song Praying as a tribute to the #MeToo movement. The lyrics of the song describe a tormentor she urges to seek redemption.

The pop star, known for hits like TiK ToK and Your Love Is My Drug, has been embroiled in a high-profile legal battle against hitmaker Dr. Luke after accusing him of sexual and physical abuse in 2014. He has denied any wrongdoing and is suing for defamation.

Joined on stage by a group of female artists including Andra Day, Camila Cabello, Julia Michaels and Cyndi Lauper, Kesha got a standing ovation and embraced the singers in tears afterwards.

Many stars, including Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Kelly Clarkson and Sam Smith, wore or carried white roses in support of the campaign to end sexual misconduct.

Kesha, at centre, is embraced by a multitude of female artists after they performed Praying. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Politics in performance

Lamar opened the show with a medley of his latest tracks with a giant American flag as a backdrop and dancers dressed in army fatigues and later, red hoodies. As he rapped, they fell down to the sound of gunshots.

"I just wanted to remind the audience that the only thing more frightening than watching a black man being honest in America is being an honest black man in America," said comedian Dave Chappelle, who appeared on stage halfway through the number.

Kendrick Lamar opened the show with a six-minute medley that spoke about politics and race relations. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Logic performed 1-800-273-8255, his song about suicide prevention. The rap artist addressed women, immigrants and abused individuals from the stage.

"On the behalf of those who fight for equality in a world that is not equal, not just and not ready for the change we are here to bring, I say unto you, bring us your tired, your poor and any immigrant who seeks refuge for together we can build, not just a better country, but a world that is destined to be united."

He performed the hit anthem alongside Canadian pop singer Alessia Cara and Khalid.

Alessia Cara and Logic perform the song 1-800-273-8255, about suicide prevention. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)

A Canadian first

Cara, 21, took home a Grammy for best new artist. The Here and Stay singer-songwriter from Brampton, Ont., is the first Canadian to win the coveted award. Drake, Justin Bieber, Feist and Alanis Morissette have all been nominated in the past but never won.

Leonard Cohen won best rock performance posthumously for You Want It Darker and Toronto's The Weeknd won best urban contemporary album for Starboy. Both were given out at the pre-televised ceremony.

Alessia Cara, from Brampton, Ont., won a Grammy for best new artist. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton makes cameo

During a night of politically charged music and commentary, Hillary Clinton provided a surprising moment of levity.

In a pre-taped video, host James Corden gathered celebrities including John Legend, Snoop Dogg and Cardi B to read from Michael Wolfe's bestselling book Fire and Fury about the White House under U.S. President Donald Trump.

The star appearance came from Clinton, who also read a brief passage. Corden joked the pretend audiobook recording would be a sure bet for a Grammy next year.

Hillary Clinton makes a surprise appearance on screen reading an excerpt from the book Fire and Fury during a sketch at the ceremony. (Matt Sayles/Invision/The Associated Press)

Rihanna's dance moves were everything

Although the tone was sombre throughout the night, a few lighter performances balanced it out. Bruno Mars and Cardi B brought high energy and a '90s theme to Finesse but Rihanna's dance moves stole the spotlight during Wild Thoughts with DJ Khaled and Bryson Tiller

The superstar, who won a Grammy alongside Kendrick Lamar for Loyalty, added a mix of vivid facial expressions which quickly ascended to meme status on social media and inspired the sharing of instructional videos.