Monday, February 01, 2010

Grammy Got Run Over By A...

For those who are less aware, the Grammy Awards took place last night in Los Angeles. Every year, I, like many audiophiles, get some weird feeling that this means it is must-see-television, when in actuality, I could already tell the folks who I wanted to win, or thought deserved to win, would likely lose in favor or what is more successful saleswise, or what the typical Grammy Voter deems worthy (::cough::cough::). While Grammy Night 2010 did have some great points, the majority was a bit of a wash, so in an attempt to streamline a recap for those of you who couldn't be bothered, here's the sum-up in my eyes:

PERFORMANCES:

-Lady Gaga opened the show, complete with an introduction by Hairspray's Elijah Kelley with a sort of run-of-the-mill basically so-dead-it's-been-beaten-multiple-times-like-a-dead-horse "Poker Face", however, she then returns to the stage seconds later complete with morbid black piano and Elton John to perform a mashup of "Speechless", fused with Elton's hit "Your Song". It was the best performance in terms of originality, and the fact that it opened the show should show you -- the rest was kind of downhill from there.

-The other geniunely great performance belonged to none other than Ms. P!NK. She surprisingly performed "Glitter In the Air" -- I say surprising because the song, although beautiful and arguably one of her best period, has not been released as a single anywhere...yet. In a continuation of her Funhouse theme inspired by her most current album's title, she performed the song in this rather scandelicious white ribbon-laced bodysuit, while spinning high in the air like a member of Cirque de Soliei (not totally unlike her trapeze performance of "Sober" at the VMA's this past September). Then the performance took a whole different turn when she was dipped in water then again rose high and spun around, spraying the audience of awe-induced celebs like they were watching a Shamu Show at SeaWorld. Crazy.

-Beyonce chose to perform the most yawn-worthy (and arguably, the worst performing) single from the exhaustive I Am...Sasha Fierce album, "If I Were A Boy" (which, if I remember correctly, came out in 2008...no?), which strangely segued borderline-nonsensically into a rather un-inspired cover of Alanis Morissette's classic "You Oughta Know." The mashup would have been totally rockin' and awesome had Alanis been there to perform it with her, but she was not, and frankly, I find Ms. Fierce's penchant for dramatics a bit stale at this point. I would have been more impressed had she taken the song and put a bit of her own spin on it, but really, it sounded far too similar to Alanis's original -- and if given the option, I'd rather listen to that.

-God knows I love Taylor Swift and her blunt, honest, real, relatable songwriting. But girlfriend -- this whole Gee Willikers! I'm so shocked I won! schtick is starting to feel real thin. No question she deserved the accolades, I'm just growing a bit weary of her niceness persona when she is willing to spare no public venom for months on end about a boy who dumped her over the phone. I have high hopes for her potential from a musical standpoint, but I stand by my statement that her live voice is just not my cup of tea. That coupled with the fact I had to witness one of my favorites Stevie Nicks sing backup to the whine fest that is "You Belong With Me" made me shake my head in shame. At least give Stevie something stronger, like "Love Story". However, I am glad they chose to duet on "Rhiannon", rather than the overused "Edge of Seventeen" like I was expecting.

-The Michael Jackson tribute cover of "Earth Song" was a monumental letdown in my eyes. Set aside the fact that it was comically in 3D. Michael's music speaks volumes enough to need cheesy-looking paper glasses to make it come "alive" (although the shots of the various celebs in the audience watching with the glasses on was rather amusing in the wrong kind of way). The selection of tribute singers was random  at best, with contributions by Jennifer Hudson, Celine Dion, Smokey Robinson, Usher and Carrie Underwood. J-Hud and Carrie brought their power pipes without attempting to outshine the rest or dare I even say it Michael himself (we're looking at you, Usher. Really?). Overall, the whole thing felt very slapped together, and more than a little gratuitous in terms of a true memorial to the man who changed pop music forever. The same could be said about the inclusion of two of Michael's children, accepting an Achievement Award on his behalf -- but your heart just breaks for them, so it's impossible to say any ill.

-I've stated time and time again that I'm not much of a country person, but Lady Antebellum really impressed me with their performance, and it has encouraged me to give "Need You Now" another shot.

-I won't say anything about Jamie Foxx or the Black Eyed Peas performances other than this: this award show is supposed to represent congratulating truly inspiring performers and songs. Neither brought it. It's even sadder for the latter, who picked up a slew of awards, arguably more than deserved. Sure, I enjoyed The E.N.D. just as much as the next pop music aficionado, but to give it the distinction it received seemed a bit comical. I'll admit I enjoyed most of it (and Foxx's "Blame It") as guilty pleasure fare, but to see it broadcast in such blatant, Auto-Tuned monstrosity was shameful. And I wasn't even at the venue.

AWARDS:

-My boys in Kings of Leon achieved the biggest (happy) upset in a while with their win of Record of the Year for "Use Somebody" (again, came out in 2008, but whose counting?), over the four Goliath tracks Beyonce's "Halo", BEP's "I Gotta Feeling", Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me" and Lady Gaga's "Poker Face". Obviously my vote was for Gaga, but if she couldn't win, I'm glad it was Kings of Leon. I know this win, along with another for Best Rock Performance by a Duo/Group, really rubbed old-school KoL fans the wrong way, but the way I look at it is this: at least their finally getting the recognition they deserved all along. Cheer up, Bitter Betty!

-Despite having an incredible 2009, Lady Gaga only took home two awards (Best Dance Recording for "Poker Face", and Best Dance/Electronic Album for The Fame), which felt a bit like baiting the fanbase to get her to attend and perform (not unlike the nomination of the Jonas Brothers last year for Best New Artist -- despite them being around for several years prior). "Poker Face" just winning Best Dance Recording was kind of like giving Whitney Houston an award because she looked really pretty this one time. But -- again -- at least she won something.

-Beyonce officially broke Alicia Keys record for most Grammy wins in one night by a female solo artist, with six total. I suppose some of them are deserved (I mean, who didn't dance around like a fool at least once to that "Single Ladies"?), but who the hell thought it was okay for her to win for a cover, or rather a copy of Etta James' version of "At Last" for Best Traditional R&B Performance? I get it, it's a Queen B world and we all live in it, but I think they were pushing it with that one. Where's Etta when you need her?

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-While I think the Ting Tings and even Keri Hilson were robbed of Best New Artist, Zac Brown Band won my respect for their performance.

-Stephen Colbert should have hosted the whole thing. His comments on Susan Boyle were funny, awful, sad, true and just plain wrong at the same time.

-Who thought it was okay to 1) invite Ke$ha, 2) invite Justin Bieber, 3) let them present, 4) let them present together, 5) let Bieber go off teleprompter? No. No, no, no. And we wonder why some people don't take American music seriously.

-I know I'm risking boos with this, but who else thought Joe Jonas looked strikingly, down-right sexy in that tux and glasses? I'm know I'm a Jonas Dork and everything, but it so couldn't have been just me. I'm just saying.

-Seeing Elton John decked out in Gaga's bejeweled stunna shades just about made my decade.


For videos of live performances, I now direct your attention to the lovely and incredible PinBoard blog, and their ace recap.

7 comments:

Paul said...

If I hear Speechless one more time, I may have to destroy the internet. But that's me. Pink was stunning :) What did Stephen say about SuBo? I could do with a titter today...

rcLoy said...

Mel, Thank god you are lovin' the KOL win. Seriously, everyone is rooting for BEP, well, it's either Gaga or KOL for me. I am happy :)
What about the album of the year? Taylor over Gaga or Beyonce? Uh, I gotta admit that Fearless is good, but award worthy? Seriously~

Mel said...

Paul - I somewhat agree with you. I'm hoping she's plugging "Speechless" now so it doesn't become a commercial single later but we shall see. As for Colbert, he mentioned something along the lines of asking why Susan Boyle wasn't nominated or at least invited, and then went into this almost serious rant saying basically an ugly old cat lady saved your (the celebrities) industry, the least they could do was let her come to the party. It was funny in that malicious kind of way.

Loy - Of course I rep KoL! I enjoyed the BEP album, but I feel like it was overhyped, overadored and gave them far too big of a head, as aside from "I Gotta Feeling", which was more Guetta's triumph than anyone else, the majoirty of the album was built on nonsense. Taylor had a huge year, so I'm glad it was reflected, as did Beyonce, but SO DID GAGA, and I'm mad that that wasn't the respect wasn't spread a little bit more even between the three.

Yuяi said...

Totally agree-amundo with the lameass Jamie Foxx/Autotune duet. What the heck was he doing there performing? Was he actually nominated for something? The BEPs were off. You could tell at the end that Will.i.am was winded or something. Something! was up...

Loved Stevie too, and I felt that either it was nerves or whatever with TSwift's voice then, but I also gotta give her cred. The "gee" thing is spot on. Hopefully that schtick will end soonly.

J.Mensah said...

Yay! for Gaga and Beyonce for their wins (I do agree about what you said about her being stale) Do you ever get the feeling Beyonce's using Gaga to maintain her relavence, because really putting Gaga on Video Phone was pointless.

I stayed up all night for Britney and the bitch didn't show her face. KMT! Deleting her off my iPod ¬_¬

Poster Girl said...

I just got done commenting over at John's about Taylor and Stevie and then I come over here to see that I basically agree with you about their performance--I should have just written "see Mel's post"!

Pink has been frustratingly refusing to release some of the best songs from her last album as singles (in my eyes, and I do know great songs don't always make for great singles), but her performance last night may have helped alleviate my frustration. Just a bit ;)

Aaron said...

Great rundown - I actually didn't watch it....but Thanks!

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