Gramarama: Grammys 2010

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I wasn’t looking forward to last night’s Grammy awards. I’m not a fan of awards shows that stack musical interludes and honorary awards in front of actually giving away awards – and the Grammy’s are notorious for that, putting together extremely obscure pairings for what they call ‘once in a lifetime’ and I call ‘stupid’. However, I obliged the boyfriend last night and watched the entire thing from start to finish. I will point out that when we caught up with our PVR, I made him watch a TLC program on the world’s tiniest girl (about the size of a cat if you can imagine, and she’s two). We managed to watch that whole program between catching up with the Grammy’s and were still done watching them at about 10:35.

Anyway to my surprise, last night was a good show. I thought I’d maybe touch on several of the performances – ones that I feel qualified to comment on for one reason or another – and give my grades to the winners and losers of the night.

Lady Gaga – kicked things off with a bang as per usual, but also as per usual? Gaga was at her best when vamping on the piano with Elton John, stripped away from the hysterics of her OTT dance-y number, complete with Gaga mannequins and flashy MC. I’m a little surprised Ga didn’t get to grab an award on stage.
Grade: B+

Pink – easily one of the best performances of the night. Glitter in the Air is one of my fave tracks off Pink’s last album, and she sang it perfectly with some genuine emotion (did you SEE Keith Urban tearing up when he went to present the next award)? Add to that a breathtaking acrobatic performance where she STILL managed to sound awesome and you’ve got a winner. I respect Pink, as she’s really just kept on doing her own thing from when she first showed up on the scene to today, and she’s still popular. She’s not #1, but she’s continually out there.
Grade: A+

Beyonce – tied for best performance with Pink. “If I Was A Boy” has/had the potential to be a really boring power ballad, but Beyonce’s utilitarian interpretation had her rocking the crowds, putting a big smile on her hubby’s face, and showcased her voice without too many intense vocal gymnastics. Add to that the inspired ‘Oughta Know’ interlude (go Canada go) and you’ve got a stellar, unexpectedly awesome performance.
Grade: A+

Michael Jackson Tribute – despite a relatively ragtag band of performers – Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson, Usher, Carrie Underwood, and Smokey Robinson – they did a really solid job of delivering this tune along with Michael’s angelic vocals. The 3D didn’t quite work (we had on non-Grammy-sanctioned glasses that came with our copy of Coraline), and it mostly resulted in guffaws as the boy and I laughed at the starlets wearing their specs, but it was a nice effort. I felt like Carrie Underwood was kind of the weakest here, surprisingly, but loved her realistic, extension-free hair.
Grade: A-

Black Eyed Peas – Imma Be isn’t my fave song off The E.N.D. but it did lend itself well to the build-up in this futuristic blast of a performance. Plus there is NO WAY to not bop your head and enjoy ‘I Gotta Feeling’ – it would have worked well as a show closer in my opinion, although the ‘good night’ would have been over by then I suppose.
Grade: A

Lil Wayne / Drake / Eminem – Probably the best of the ‘true’ hip hop / R&B performances of the night, although the lyrics were more muddled than the clear cut sound of the actual track. I commented, in regards to Gaga and Drake, those two are living the dream. A couple of years ago they were just doing their thing in a NYC club and ‘wheelchair’ respectively, and now they’re performing with legends in their genres on the Grammy stages. Drake looked a little too happy to be hardcore, but his performance was great – it was good to see Eminem in a positive, supporting role. Perhaps they bonded over their similar struggle against expectations vs. reality (Degrassi Star? Vs. Talented!).
Grade: B+

Taylor Swift (w/Stevie Nicks) – Taylor’s weakness is her live performing, but what she lacks in vocal power she makes up for in charm and energy. The Stevie Nicks middle duet was the most painful part, while the countrified version of ‘You Belong With Me’ was a highlight – imagine, Taylor Swift singing pure country?
Grade: B

Green Day (w/musical guests) – I had no idea Green Day was putting together a musical of ‘American Idiot’ but I am tickled pink at the idea. So is the rest of America I bet, after the brilliant PR move of having cast members from the musical rock out with the band. For the rest of the show, we both commented on how every musical group would be clamouring for their own stage show now. The performance lacked the bells and whistles of others, but it was still solid.
Grade: B+

Bon Jovi – The little three-song condensed set the guys played went on an upward slope, from the weak opening by Richie Sambora through to the fan-selected ‘Livin on a Prayer’. Yet BJ seemed a little, dare I say it, bored? Their energy level wasn’t nearly as high as some of the others last night.
Grade: C+

Maxwell – Apparently this guy is famous down in the US of A. I don’t know him. He had a nice voice but his performance was standard power ballad stuff, which Beyonce managed to overcome…Maxwell did not, and thus I skipped this one.
Grade: C

Jamie Foxx – Another performance I skipped about half of. Foxx’s vocals were buried in auto-tune and there wasn’t really anything special (enter hoochie girls after the operatic debut), unlike the stripped down Eminem/Wayne/Drake performance later that evening.
Grade: C-

Lady Antebellum – The boyfriend is a big fan of these folks, having partied all night with them last time they were in town. There wasn’t anything flashy about their performance, nor did they have any surprise special guests…and it was nice. I’m not super familiar with them, but they are solid performers / songwriters.
Grade: B

There were a few other random performances in there. Zac Brown Band who stole the best new artist award from MGMT – I don’t really have much to say on them. The old person David Foster-helmed soul performance which was pretty snore-y. Dave Matthews band was okay but a little ‘much’. You can do a lot without needing a full jamboree on stage. Jeff Beck and Imelda May started out enchanting but failed to live up to the star power that dominated the stage that night.

Overall though, glad I watched it. Pink and Beyonce were definitely the ladies that rocked the stage, but it was Taylor’s fairy tale and continually surprised gushing that captured our hearts.

- Britt’s On

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