Lorde’s Black-Fingered Grammy Performance: What Does It Mean?

We take a crack at decoding her 'Royals' wardrobe.

I knew Lorde would go dark for her performance during the 56th Grammy Awards, but I didn’t know she’d go quite so black — Black Death that is.

During her performance of her hit song “Royals,” the 17-year-old singer sported black-tipped fingers, which are one of the symptoms of the European pandemic known as the Black Death, or the Black Plague.

Lorde kicked off the Grammys — after a titillating performance from Jay Z and Beyonce — with the sparest, most stripped-down rendition of “Royals” we’ve seen yet.

She wore simple black and white, and performed in front of a flickering backdrop featuring a collection of stone angels that would make Dr. Who himself shiver.

The most noteworthy part of her getup, however, were her black fingertips, which were a common symptom of the medieval disease back in the day — one that still occurs in patients nowadays as well.

We’re not sure what story Lorde was telling with the dark imagery that accompanied her anti-consumerist jam, but something about it recalls the Ingmar Bergman-directed film “The Seventh Seal,” which tells the tale of a medieval knight and his chess game with the Grim Reaper — a game that takes place during an outbreak of The Black Death.


>> See Miley Photobomb Lorde

It would be no surprise if this flick were the inspiration for Lorde’s on-stage stint, as she has been steadily sharing macabre photos leading up to the Grammys related to the performance — from Siberian bear hunting suits to snaps of goth-y role model Anjelica Huston.

What do you think? Was Lorde getting down with Bergman this Grammys or no?

Stick with us for up-to-the-minute info on the Grammys from our Grammys Red Carpet live stream, full fashion coverage, performance highlights and the complete Grammy winners list.
Brenna Ehrlich is a reporter for MTV News as well as the senior writer/editor for the O Music Awards. In the past, she served as associate editor at Mashable, penned a netiquette column for CNN and co-authored the blog and book "Stuff Hipsters Hate." She likes trying not to die in moshpits and listening to songs on repeat. Follow her on Twitter @BrennaEhrlich for news on cats and punk bands.