The Grammy Awards is, without a doubt, one of the most anticipated and respected nights in the music industry. It is a celebration of accomplishment, artistry and the music that pens the soundtrack of our lives. The 55th Annual Grammy's however, will be remembered as one of the best in recent history simply because those who performed as well as those who were rewarded brought their finest to the stage and studio this year, demonstrating exceptional and remarkable talent.
Opening to the familiar tune of anthemic hit, “We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together”, Taylor Swift's performance was a circus-like spectacle that easily outweighed her vocal performance. It was forgivable and unfortunately forgettable since it was quickly followed by the introduction of the smooth spinning host, LL Cool J. He dominated the stage and set the tone effectively, highlighting his personal Grammy moment and noting how so many dreams are conceived while watching this premiere music event throughout our lifetime. As the evening progressed, it became clear, this was to be a night laden with many "Grammy Moments".
Kicking it off royally, Sir Elton John and Ed Sheeran teamed up to perform Ed’s breakthrough hit, “A Team”. Immediately following that another brilliant UK artist was rewarded as Adele grabbed the first Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance on, “Set Fire To The Rain”. fun. quite literally carried on while drenching the stage of the Staples Center in a shower of their dynamic artistry and water, all while performing their latest single, “Carry On”.
If there was a lull at all, it was early and brief when a cleaned up looking John Mayer (the nation thanks you Katy Perry) & Bonnie Raitt introduced Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley who performed their respective hits, “Over You” and “Home”. But the passion and tempo picked back up when eccentric character, Wiz Khalifa joined Miguel to perform “Adorn You” which Kelly Clarkson later declared while receiving her Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album, “the sexiest thing I’ve heard...” and continued by insisting Miguel collaborate with her ASAP.
Another American Idol, Carrie Underwood picked up the next Grammy for Best Country Solo Performance on her single, “Blowin’ Away”. She seemed blown away by the honor and still as sincere as she was when she debuted on AI. Segue to more Country Music and legends at that, as Faith Hill and Tim McGraw presented the Grammy for Song of the Year to fun. for “We Are Young”. Frontman, Nate Ruess pointed out the irony of the win by saying, “This song should have never been written because if you are watching this in high def you can see that we are not young!” The irony is not lost on us, your veteran experience has given you one of the best albums of the year and the win is much deserved!
From there the 55th Annual Grammy Awards sailed poignantly off the charts. The stars so bright they illuminated the Staples Center with humor, artistry, talent and some unexpected emotional performances. From Johnny Depp introducing Mumford & Sons to perform “I Will Wait”, to Ellen DeGeneres & Beyonce announcing Justin Timberlake’s comeback on, “Suit & Tie” featuring the resident King of Hip Hop, Jay Z. Frank Ocean picked up the first ever Grammy for Best Urban Contemporary Album followed by the Black Keys winning for Best Rock Performance on “Lonely Boy”. It was all enough to make the ears and hearts of music lovers across all genres warm. But there was absolutely no comparison to Rihanna’s stripped down vocal performance of “Stay” featuring Mickey Echo which left her peers and the finest in the industry honoring her with a standing ovation.
She reappeared shortly after to pay tribute to Reggae with Bruno Mars, Sting and Damian Marley. Rihanna was nothing short of golden in her performances and class. She was poised amidst the media swarm of her newly rekindled romance with controversial Chris Brown and seemed grounded in her artistry for what the first time in years. She was, quite possibly, the best of the night.
Then, just as smoothly as he appeared to open the Grammy’s, LL Cool J was given the honor of closing alongside Z-Trip and Travis Barker, this time with an aggressive and electrifying performance of, “Whaddup”. It was a dynamic finish to one of the most charged and polished award shows the Recording Academy has ever orchestrated. Perhaps Justin Timberlake summed it up aptly when he simply stated, “Best Grammy’s ever.” If I may, I'd add, yet to that simple phrase.
View a complete list of winners at: http://www.grammy.com/nominees.