Bruno Mars has to be a firm believer that good things come to those who wait. The singer, songwriter, and producer garnered golden gramophones in all six categories in which he was nominated at the 2018 Grammys and shut out arguably the biggest “business” in music, Jay-Z. Bruno Mars accepted his recognition with humility, fun, and gracious nods to all the contenders in his categories.

He described his remembrance of his 15-year-old self, performing with his dad in Hawaii, offering the covers of his most admired music heroes. His hope, then and now, was to bring people together through music.

The 2018 installment of the Grammys comes at a very painful and divisive national juncture, and there needs to be a time for jubilant dancing, but there also has to be the punch of heartfelt truth and personal revelation.

Several fair-haired performers exquisitely articulated their hurts and the strength of the human spirit, across genders and genres. By the end of the night, no one left without feeling the impact.

Ballads with beautiful and deliberate purpose

It was ironic that Bruno Mars critiqued at one point in his night of golden grabs that there were “too many ballads” in the performances. The man ruling the night with his own brand of hip-hop may have temporarily forgotten that it was songs like 2010’s “Just the Way You Are” and more lighthearted love ballads that broke him out into mass audiences.

The ballads for this biggest night of music were never light and exquisitely expressed a most needed message.

Immediately after Kendrick Lamar's politically-charged opening performance, peppered with Dave Chapelle's spot-on commentary, powerful ladies defined presence on the stage. “The only thing more frightening than watching an honest black man in America is being an honest black man in America,” Chapelle interjected, giving much-needed reasons to chuckle.

Levity transitioned to deepest love when Lady Gaga, looking regal in all white, and literally wearing on her heart on her sleeve as she lit into a delicate piano rendition of “Joanne” dedicated to her namesake, the aunt who died of Lupus complications so young. At one point, emotion nearly overtook her lyrics, but then led into “Million Reasons,” which seemed to speak for more than her heart, but for millions of hearts in anguish, silenced too long until this tidal wave of #MeToo could not be held back any longer.

As Lady Gaga rose from her piano bench to belt out the powerful chorus, those hearts were rising in unity. It had to be a “God thing” that the next presenter after her performance was the man who is her dear friend and mentor, Tony Bennett.

Sam Smith opened his heart with his plaintive and yielding song, “Pray,” backed by a Harlem gospel choir, donning white himself. Pink stayed grounded this year, with no aerial miracle moves, but she made her point perfectly clear with “Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken,” wearing a basic white shirt, and singing the song’s words of never being silenced, never being restrained, and never losing freedom to a stunning, silent interpreter at the side of the stage, whose stoic face and elegant hands elaborated the emancipating song.

Not for girls only

Not all of the most moving ballads came from female performers. Chris Stapleton joined with Emmylou Harris to pay tribute to Tom Petty with a simple and stripped “Wildflowers,” that landed straight in the heart and certainly floated to its composer in heaven. Stapleton's blonde locks were more visible since he performed sans his customary hat. Glowing, golden bricks bearing the names of concertgoers lost in Las Vegas and Manchester, England were the backdrop of Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven” performed by the Brothers Osborne, Maren Morris, and Eric Church.

None of the trios made an effort to hold back the emotion pulsing through the moment, and Morris later commented that her only focus was not to break down and cry.

That kind of emotion, for that kind of deserved reason, should never be disregarded. All of these performers had played in that festival that ended fatally for many, and the somber honor was their salute to the departed, their families, and to loyal music fans.

Group hug for the soul

Kesha had already won the Grammy for her album, “Rainbow,” by the time she took the stage, flanked by the best backing choir of voices any singer could ask for, each in their own styles of white, and willing to do more than sing for the woman who fought her own personal siege with producer, Dr. Luke. As she opened with her anthem, “Praying,” Kesha and her chorus stood in united resolve, so much so that it felt like all of New York was singing along with those at Madison Square Garden.

Growing toward the close, though, the truth of the battle, and the cost, came through the voice, and hung in the throat of the singer, causing her to nearly collapse. She was swept in an instant embrace by Cyndi Lauper, Andra Day, and the others among her personal choir. Hers was the moment of the night.

A last sweet and touching ballad seemed all the more so when Sir Elton John took the stage, tinkling the familiar start to his ageless “Tiny Dancer,” before his partner in song, Miley Cyrus, made her entrance in a flowing garnet gown, and sang with all her soul with the composer. The single white rose on the piano was the meaningful symbol of the night. There will not be many performances ever comparable to these filling this Grammy night, but the music and its healing abide eternally.

Great ballads and great talents to sing them will always earn their way to the stage.