Could Bruno Mars’ Big Night at the Grammys End Up Being a Bad Thing for His Career?

Of all the biggest takeaways one could take from the Grammys on Sunday night (Jan. 29), one of the least arguable is this: Bruno Mars stays winning.

In fact, no male artist in contemporary pop music has enjoyed a longer undefeated streak this decade than Bruno. His first charting single as a featured artist went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in May 2010, as did his first as a lead artist five months later. He’s topped the chart more times (seven) this decade than any other male artist. Each of his three LPs has been certified multi-Platinum by the RIAA, and in between two of them, he casually tossed off the most ubiquitous smash of 2015, practically as a favor to producer bud Mark Ronson.

Even when latest album 24K Magic looked like it might’ve landed a little soft by his otherworldly commercial standards, Mars managed to turn around his momentum and narrative. First single “24K Magic” stalled at No. 4 on the Hot 100 — his first lead single not to reach the chart’s peak — but then second single “That’s What I Like” climbed to No. 1 and became one of 2017’s biggest hits. The set failed to spawn a third single to really latch on with the public — but then he enlisted Cardi B for a late-game “Finesse” remix and video, which made the Internet swoon and propelled the song to the top 5.

But for the first time in Bruno’s career of uninterrupted success, he might’ve actually been better off taking the loss. Because while Mars was undoubtedly one of the year’s biggest artists, he’s not the one that a lot of Grammys viewers wanted to see repeatedly parading to the podium last night. Not in a year when two major rap albums by iconic MCs were looking to snap a 14-year drought for hip-hop in the non-best new artist general categories. Not in a year where female artists went largely unrepresented among the marquee nominations, and only one ended up winning on the Grammys telecast. And not in a year where the biggest Spanish-language song in Hot 100 history could have brought home some potentially historic wins.

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