What on earth were Sting and Shaggy doing at the Grammys?

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Last night's Grammys had some stand-out moments - Kesha leading a powerful group performance of Praying, the adorable but controversial puppy gag, Hillary Clinton slamming Trump - but one of the stranger ones was Sting's duet with Shaggy. 

In fact, the choice to give the unexpected duo airtime at the expense of performers who were actually nominated for the awards has come under fire. 

The Jamaican dancehall star and The Police frontman appeared twice during the show, first in a special New York subway version of host James Corden's signature skit Car Pool Karaoke.

In the staged video, Big Apple commuters reacting badly to Corden's attempt to "create a viral moment", which involved the three celebrities singing along to signature tracks Every Breath You Take (1983) and It Wasn't Me (2000) on a little red boombox.

They then switched to the pair's new single Don't Make Me Wait, which got more airtime later in the show when they performed it live, mashed up with Sting's Englishman in New York.

The 30-year old song, which didn't even reach the UK Top 50 when it was first released, seemed an unusual choice for music's biggest night - as did the decision to give the aging rockers not one but two slots. After all, neither of them were nominated for any awards, and Shaggy hasn't released an album since 2011's Summer in Kingston, which charted at 141 in the US. His only Grammy win, Best Reggae Album for Boombastic, came in 1996. 

The pair's extensive coverage seems even stranger given the fact that several of the night's nominees didn't get to perform. Lorde's non-performance was particularly baffling: of the Album of the Year nominees, only the New Zealand singer and Jay-Z didn't have a solo performance. Lorde was also the only female nominee in the category, and allegedly the only person in the category who wasn't even asked to perform solo. 

Sting and Shaggy's airtime at her apparent expense was widely commented on on social media by viewers and critics alike.

https://twitter.com/Jasey6/status/957854844705894400

As for Sting and Shaggy, the coverage was all in aid of their forthcoming joint album 44/876 (due out on April 20). It came about after they were introduced by Martin Kierszenbaum, Shaggy's former rep and Sting's current manager. The pair, who describe themselves as "the not-so-odd couple", admit that their collaboration is unexpected.

"The most important thing to me in any kind of music is surprise," Sting told Rolling Stone, "And everybody is surprised by this collaboration – by what they're hearing. We're surprising." Certainly, the Grammys audience were taken aback.