Last night's 52nd Annual Grammy Awards bolted out of the gate like an angry filly on crack, galloped to a star-studded bend, then inexplicably limped to the finish line with nothing but Taylor Swift to keep its nose to the grindstone.
Sometime around Chris O'Donnell's lackluster introduction of best new artist winner, The Zac Brown Band, I completely lost interest. Well, not completely. The "In Memorial" tribute reel caught my eye, as did Michael Jackson's rousing posthumous collaboration with Celine Dion, Smokey Robinson, Jennifer Hudson, Usher, and Carrie Underwood.
Ah, the magic of 3-D movies.
On the other hand, I did not enjoy seeing little Paris and Prince Jackson in their little red armbands paraded on stage like two minature show ponies. No matter how often Paris says, "Daddy" or Prince tries to suck it up like a man, they will never duplicate the magic of their tearful appearance at Jackson's memorial service. Time to stop trying.
Prince, poor thing, could barely read the teleprompter as he and sister Paris accepted Jackson's posthumous Grammy. Mangling his lines in front of so many people had to make the little boy uncomfortable. I certainly cringed.
Speaking of cringing, I'm sure Jay-Z and Beyonce meant well by bringing little "Nike donks" Jules along with them to accept the Grammy for best rap collaboration. Unfortunately, the poor kid was like a deer in the headlights, completely tongue-tied, and painfully camera shy. Thanks, Z and B, but next time, leave the Nike donks in the audience.
Conversely, the show's first two and one half hours hit just the right spot. Lady Gaga and Sir Elton John opened like gangbusters, dressed like opposite ends of the same coin. In a hot performance of dueling pianos, they sang each other's praises, wore matching glitter glasses, and single-handedly raised the bar for performances throughout the evening.
Pink upped the ante for everyone by performing in an odd-looking white cowl neck toga flowing to her bellybutton. Underneath, a nude body suit with strategically placed straps created a bondage effect difficult to ignore. Everyone, including ex-Beatle Ringo Starr, stood to applaud her energized upside down, twirling, "Cirque du Soliel" like performance. Towards the end, a constant water stream began spraying her nude-looking body, transforming young Pink into a giant human fountain.
The crowd lapped it up.
Kathy Griffin's visibly immature disappointment at Stephen Colbert's win for best comedy album was off-set only by Fergie's standing-O for Kings of Leon as they took record of the year.
I'll end with the worst performance of the evening, a signature duet between Taylor Swift and ex-Fleetwood Mac legend Stevie Nicks. The songs were so disastrous, I couldn't tell which was worse: awful banjo music set to a strange tempo or the duo's inability to harmonize on key. Mind you, I love and respect both artists, especially Swift's major wins of the evening, but nothing - not even mistreatment of children - could compete with this low point of the night.
Next time, perhaps a rehearsal or two might be a good idea.
Go here for a complete list of the 2010 Grammy winners