Tuesday, February 15, 2011
THE 53RD ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS
This year's Grammy telecast opened with what should have been a bang; a salute to the "Queen of Soul", Aretha Franklin with Christina Aguilera, Martina McBride, Yolanda Adams, Jennifer Hudson and Florence Welch of Florence +The Machine singing some of her classic songs.
While it sounded promising on paper, the performances were lacking in true conviction and well, . . . soul. It wasn't necessarily embarrassing but it certainly wasn't good either. With the exception of gospel great, Ms Adams, they all were trying way too hard to project Aretha's "passion" by over singing (Hello, Christina) that came across as screechy karaoke during a large portion of the songs.
Ms. Franklin made a video-taped appearance after the performance to thank the academy for the "honor" and to remind everyone that while she is temporarily down, she is not out.
The rest of the evening's performances for me ranged from entertaining ( Bruno Mars, B.O.B & Janelle Monae and Keith Urban, Norah Jones & John Meyer performing together separately, Rihanna, Lady Antebellum), strange, but entertaining (Ricky Martin's tight silver pants, Mick Jagger's tribute to Solomon Burke, Lady Gaga premiering her new song, "Born This Way" emerging from an egg (?), Cee-Lo Green channeling Elton John with Muppets (??) and Gwyneth Paltrow (???) trying to make a profane song "cute"), indifference ( the performances of Arcade Fire, Miranda Lambert, Usher, and Eminem ), annoying (Bob Dylan, why??) and then there was Justin Bieber. I cannot fathom his popularity at all, although I suppose it's partially because I'm not a twelve-year old girl but also I just don't think his music is going to hold up well twenty-years from now, which is why I think he didn't win the award for Best New Artist. I could be completely wrong about him and he might, someday, make a record I might like (but I seriously doubt it).
It was a mixed bag but that is the best thing about this show. The wide diversity of music being performed and the wonderful pairings of artists and performances that you will probably never see anywhere else.
Oh, and there were some awards given out. I'm still scratching my head about Arcade Fire's win for Album Of The Year but it was great to honor all of the genres of music.
Here is a partial list of this year's winners in a few of the major categories. For the complete list go to:
Album Of The Year
"The Suburbs" - Arcade Fire
Record Of The Year
"Need You Now" - Lady Antebellum
Best Rap Album
"Recovery" - Eminem
Best New Artist
Song Of The Year
"Need You Now" - Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley & Hillary Scott, songwriters (Lady Antebellum)
Best Country Album
"Need You Now" - Lady Antebellum
Best Pop Vocal Album
"The Fame Monster" - Lady Gaga
Best Rock Album
"The Resistance" - Muse
Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals
"Hey, Soul Sister" (Live) - Train
Best Female Country Vocal Performance
"The House That Built Me" - Miranda Lambert
Best Male Country Vocal Performance
"Til Summer Comes Around" - Keith Urban
Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals
"Need You Now"- Lady Antebellum
Best Contemporary R&B Album
"Raymond V Raymond" - Usher
Best R&B Album
"Wake Up!" - John Legend & The Roots
Best Female R&B Vocal Performance
"Bittersweet" - Fantasia
Best Male R&B Vocal Performance
"There Goes My Baby" - Usher
Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals
"Soldier Of Love" - Sade
Best Contemporary Jazz Album
"The Stanley Clarke Band" - The Stanley Clarke Band
Best Jazz Vocal Album
"Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie With Love From Dee Dee" - Dee Dee Bridgewater
Best Short Form Music Video
"Bad Romance" – Lady Gaga
Best Long Form Music Video
"When You’re Strange" – The Doors
Best Dance Recording
"Only Girl (In the World)" - Rihanna
Best Electronic/Dance Album
"La Roux" - La Roux
Producer of the Year (Non-Classical)
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