Best Performances of 2018 Illustration

(Maisie Plew/Emerald)

College students are taking a sigh of relief now that winter break has finally started. For the next three weeks, we have no more essays, quizzes or finals to take. We can finally sit back, relax and catch up on — or, in some cases, rewatch — some of the best performances of 2018. But, before you spend your time sifting through all of 2018’s content and ultimately not finding anything good, check out this list. The Emerald compiled of some of this year’s best performances. 

If you want to jam out: Beychella

With all the craziness of this year, “Beychella” seems like a lifetime ago. Nonetheless, it was still one of the most important pop-culture events of the year. Who can forget Beyoncé’s iconic 26-song set at this year’s Coachella? The historic night marked Queen B’s return to the stage and made her the first black woman to headline the festival. The night’s themes were centered around historically black colleges and universities, and included female empowerment and black power. The two hour set included musical guests J Balvin, her husband Jay-Z, Bey’s sister Solange and a highly anticipated Destiny’s Child reunion. 

It was an amazing display of all the things Beyoncé does right: everything.

If you want some action: Michael B. Jordan in “Black Panther”

Honestly, everyone in “Black Panther” deserves to be highlighted, but Michael B. Jordan’s role as villain Erik “Killmonger” Stevens was fantastic. Jordan delivered a performance that gave us what may be the best Marvel villain ever. His portrayal of Killmonger was beautiful,nuanced and left many viewers unable to root against him. Killmonger isn’t an easy villain to hate — an impressive accomplishment in the Marvel Universe. His anger is understood and even justified through Jordan’s performance.

Sure, Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa is great, but Jordan’s Killmonger is better — powerful and complex.

If you want to cry: Lady Gaga in “A Star is Born”

Lady Gaga is perhaps one of the most surprising breakout stars of the year with her performance in the film “A Star is Born.” We have come to love her through her music, with big vocals and a larger-than-life character. And, while her signature over-the-top costumes are gone, her vocals have remained. But, don’t confuse this movie for a musical, it is a movie about musicians. In the movie we see a stripped down Gaga as Ally Campana, a struggling artist in a toxic relationship. Gaga takes us with her through Ally’s journey in a raw and emotional performance. Her willingness to share gives us room to feel alongside her.

At the heart of the film is Gaga’s breathtaking delivery of the role that hits all the right notes.

If you want to laugh: Ali Wong in “Hard Knock Wife”

Ali Wong’s second Netflix stand-up comedy special, “Hard Knock Wife,” is hilariously inappropriate. A very pregnant Wong openly discusses motherhood, the double standard between male and female comedians and her newfound fame. Part of what Wong does best is physical comedy. Her exaggerated gestures add to the jokes and make viewers laugh ‘till they cry.

You might want to put in headphones for this one because Wong is about to get raunchy.

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