While major labels forge ahead with mergers (it's only a matter of time until the Big Six turns into the Big One), the annual music love fest that is the Grammys continues on. This is the evening that the executives that remain pat themselves on the back for still having jobs, ignoring the fact that they have yet to figure out a new successful business model for the industry. In any case, they're here to sit back and relax, and pray that their nominated artists will get a Grammys sales bump. The nominees were definitely an eclectic bunch this year and thankfully we were spared from Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj performing. Here's how the evening panned out:
8:01 PM - Taylor Swift opens the show with “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and does her version of Rock & Roll Circus meets Alice in Wonderland while her song’s subject matter deals with a relationship gone wrong (go figure). I’m with Bill Maher; She should call her next song “Maybe It’s Me”. At least she didn’t end the performance with her slack-jaw guppy bit.
8:06 PM - LL Cool J starts the show and talks mostly about himself. To his credit, he has been in the business for over 25 years.
8:10 PM - Elton John and Ed Sheeran perform “The A Team,” which is sadly, not about the awesome 80s show starring Mr. T. Not as fun as Elton performing with Eminem, and Elton’s voice sounds a little rough around the edges, but still a great performance. See kids, it’s okay when a you have a well-written song and two actual singer-songwriters onstage.
8:19 PM - Jennifer Lopez wearing a misplaced cape as a dress (her answer to CBS’ wardrobe memo) gives the Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance to Adele, someone who can actually sing. As with her singing, her acceptance speeches are the best and most entertaining. Acknowledging the other female nominees she says, ‘We work so hard. We make it look so easy.” Her competition included Rihanna and Katy ‘One Note’ Perry so, let’s face it, if she hadn’t won, it would’ve been a travesty.
8:22 PM - fun. takes the stage and perform “Carry On.” Call me crazy, but is the lead singer wearing capris? Yep, he is straight up wearing pedal pushers. I’m fairly certain this is a Grammy first. The capris are almost as distracting as his voice which ventures into sharpness every so often. And then, as if a gift from the Grammy Gods has arrived, it starts raining on stage, which puts them in the same high-quality production I-will-perform-in manufactured-rain-on-stage category as Britney Spears. Not sure who thought this was a good idea. Certainly not fun’s guitarist who has to wipe the water out of eyes so he can see. At least Janelle Monae gave them a solo standing ovation. But she sort of has to since she sang on their Grammy nominated song “We Are Young.”
8:31 PM - Bonnie Raitt (who won her 10th Grammy tonight) and a blue/purple velvet wearing John Mayer introduce Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert.
8:33 PM - Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert, who should get an award for snazziest microphone, perform using some of the leftover dry ice used at the American Music Awards.
8:38 PM - A clip of LL Cool J lip synching on American Bandstand is shown and LL gives a shout out to Dick Clark who passed away last year.
8:39 PM - Miguel and Wiz Khalifa, who apparently went shopping together with their near matching black and white wardrobe, perform and Miguel pretty much wipes the floor with Wiz. They also stick around to hand out the Best Country Solo Performance Grammy to Carrie Underwood.
8:50 PM - LL, attempts to host and tweet at the same time and immediately gets distracted by doing both at once. Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, who looks fabulous after quitting alcohol and finding the gym, give the Song of the Year award to fun. for “We Are Young.” Lena Dunham is a fun. hanger-on? Who knew? At least the band managed to change into some dry clothes.
8:53 PM - Johnny Depp arrives doing his best Lizard King impression and introduces Mumford & Sons to the stage who bang out “I Will Wait” like the awesome skiffle band they are.
9:03 PM - Ellen Degeneres and Beyonce walk out to Jay-Z’s “99 Bitches” (umm, ok, interesting choice) introduce Justin Timberlake who performs “Suit & Tie,” doing his best Robin Thicke impression. He also takes advantage of sepia tone (how fun!). Jay-Z joins him from his seat in the audience. The second song he performs (now in color!), “Pusher Love Girl” doesn’t have much substance to it. It takes more than horns and a falsetto voice to make a great R&B song.
9:11 PM - Kelly Rowland and Nas give the Grammy for Best Urban Contemporary Album to Frank Ocean. Amazingly Chris Brown didn’t launch a chair against the wall over this loss. Ocean thanks his mother “for being the best.” Awww.
9:18 PM - Dave Grohl and an actor from one of CBS’ many shows involving criminals give the Best Rock Performance Grammy to The Black Keys for “Lonely Boy”. Alabama Shakes should’ve won but this is a solid choice.
9:23 PM - Oh dear God, Maroon 5 and Adam Levine’s nasally voice are on stage. Alicia Keys joins them to sing “Girl on Fire.” Definitely a better pianist than she is drummer, this at least reduces the amount of times we have to hear Adam Levine sing.
9:27 PM - Keith Urban and his fellow presenter Kaley Cuoco do a funny opening bit prior to giving out the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album. Nicole Kidman tries to smile and or laugh but is unable to due to Botox. Kelly Clarkson wins and gives one of the funniest, most rambling speeches of the evening. Looking forward to that Kelly Clarkson/Miguel duet she hopes for.
9:36 PM - Rihanna gives one of her better Grammy performances - most likely because she’s not dancing - singing “Stay” with singer Mikky Ekko. At the end of the song, there’s a crappy bit of upstaging as the spotlight is only left on Rihanna while all lighting on focused on Mikky is turned off. Regardless, some really needs to give Tina Turner Rihanna’s phone number.
9:40 PM - Best Rap/Sung Collaboration goes to Jay-Z, Kanye West, Frank Ocean and The- Dream for “No Church In the Wild.” The Dream, who looks like he just came in from the gym, gets a great ribbing from Jay-Z who states “I would like to thank the swap meet for his hat”.
9:48 PM - The Black Keys, Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band take the stage to perform “Lonely Boy,” fuzz up the guitar and turn the blues up to eleven. Speaking of swap meet, it looks like either an animal or voodoo priest up and died on Dr. John’s head.
9:53 PM - Kelly Clarkson pays tribute to Lifetime Achievement winners Patti Page and Carole King by singing “Tennessee Waltz” and “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman”. Nice to have Clarkson fill Page’s shoes since she’s deceased but King is alive and well. Why isn’t she there?
9:57 PM - Best Country Album goes to the Zac Brown Band. Funny that Taylor Swift is no longer part of this category. I guess she’s considered straight pop now.
10:05 PM - Bob Marley tribute starts with Bruno Mars singing “Locked Out of Heaven”. What the what? Sure the song’s a somewhat current hit, and it contains a syncopated guitar part that you typically find in a reggae song, but this is the furthest thing from reggae. If anything this song lands somewhere between a Police B-side and The Romantics’ “Talking in Your Sleep”. Speaking of The Police, hear comes Sting to wrap up the song and sing “Walking On the Moon.” Ziggy Marley and Rihanna join them onstage to perform Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved”. Damian Marley, another one of Bob’s recognized children, joins them midway. At the end, Bruno Mars, forgetting he’s at the Grammys and not of his own concerts says “My name is Bruno Mars, enjoy the rest of your night.” Don’t forget to tip your waitress. Fun fact: Bob Marley never won a Grammy. At least, not until the Lifetime Achievement Grammy was given to him posthumously in 2001, 20 years after his death. Way to be on top of things NARAS.
10:17 PM - Best New Artist nominees The Lumineers perform “Ho Hey.” Fun to see Melissa Etheridge singing along.
10:21 PM - Jack White, backed by his all-female band, and dressed like one of the Three Amigos, performs “Love Interrupted” and manages to drop the F-bomb without interruption. At the conclusion of that song, he walks over to his all-male band to sing “Freedom at 21”. Nice how Jack’s pale blue Fender Stratocaster picks up the blue accents on his outfit.
10:25 PM - Katy ‘One Note’ Perry plugs her fake eyelash line and presents the Best New Artist Grammy to fun. who beats out Frank Ocean, The Lumineers, Alabama Shakes and Hunter Hayes. Color me bewildered.
10:33 PM - Hunter Hayes performs for 30 seconds and then introduces Carrie Underwood, who is most likely wearing from Katy Perry’s fake eyelash line. Wearing a gown that is part of her visual stage show, she is literally unable to move from the spot where she’s standing.
10:39 PM - His royal bad ass, Prince takes the stage to present Record of the Year which goes to Gotye and Kimbra for “Somebody That I Used to Know”. Gotye is paid the highest compliment possible as Prince says “Oh I love this song” when he opens the envelope. Any songwriter would kill for that.
10:48 PM - A tribute to Dave Brubeck, by Kenny Garrett, Stanley Clark and Chick Correa is great but far too brief.
10:53 PM - This year's In Memoriam is shown and while they manage to cover artists, musicians and music executives there is a glaring music industry icon omission: the Sony building at 550 Madison Avenue which is up for sale if you have a few extra bucks laying around.
10:57 PM - The tribute to Levon Helms featuring Elton John, Zac Brown, Mumford & Sons, T Bone Burnett, Mavis Staples and Alabama Shakes’ lead singer Brittany Howard who do a great version of The Band’s “The Weight.”
11:09 PM - Juanes does Elton’s “Your Song” for some reason. Did Elton die during the commercial break?
11:10 PM - Frank Ocean sings a tribute to Forrest Gump. I wish I was making that up. How he can do this without falling over laughing is beyond me. This ties with Nicki MInaj’s Grammy performance last year as worst performance ever.
11:15 PM - Adele takes the stage but sadly, not to sing. Presenting Album of the Year to Mumford & Sons for their album Babel, this is a massive win not only for M&S but for their label, Glassnote Records. Maybe 2013 will be the year that skiffle breaks.
11:24 PM - LL Cool J ends the show by introducing himself, Chuck D, Tom Morello (what the what?!) and Travis Barker to perform LL’s new single “Whaddup”. A good song (it’s no “Jingling Baby”) it successfully incorporates The Beastie Boys “No Sleep Til Brooklyn” with LL shouting “MCA forever!” Whaddup indeed.
For more information on the Grammys and a complete list of winners, go to www.grammy.com.
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