First off, why isn't it spelled Grammies? Why does it get to flaunt the rules of pluralization? But that's only the most innocuous of problems with this dinosaur of the music industry. Or maybe the music industry's the dinosaur. Did I just blow your mind, man? Either way, below is a play-by-play of the excruciatingly banal, the terrifically bizarre, and the pleasantly surprising moments of last night's awards. Also, Georgia musicians that done done good.
The telecast opened in the gayest way possible (and I don't mean that in a bad way), with weirdo-flavor-of-the-moment Lady Gaga sitting across a creepy hand-laden piano from onetime Atlanta resident Sir Elton John. After Gaga delivered a medley of some of her hits (what is the deal with the medley, Grammys?), she sat down with Elton and growled, "I wanna be a staaaaaar!" Then they played together. It was off-putting, and a little scary. Anyway, they both looked crazy, and it was sort of enjoyable. At the least, it was the most fitting collaboration of the night.
As much as I like Stephen Colbert, his niche-y brand of comedy always fails to go over well in front of a large audience. Anyone remember the White House Correspondents' Dinner? So it was on Grammy night, as he whipped out his brand new iPad in a weird new style of ironic product placement. Meh, meh, meh.
Sidenote: What's up with the one Jonas Brother who looks like a hipster? Is he going to break off from the rest of the pack and go record his gritty solo album with Steve Albini? I hope so, and not.
Now it was time for the award for Song of the Year, which Beyonce won for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)," which was a big "duh." If any of the others had taken it (Kings of Leon?) there would probably have been mass rioting. I guess the Great Kanye Debacle of 2009 has taught all awards shows that if Beyonce's up for something, you'd better fucking give it to her, and how. Oh, but Beyonce was busy preparing for her big performance, and so the dudes who actually wrote the song Atlantans Christopher "Tricky" Stewart and Terius "The Dream" Nash went up to accept the award. I always forget that most of these folks don't write their own songs. Music!
Green Day has a broadway musical coming out. Remember when they were a punk band? Yeah, me either.
Atlanta-based Zac Brown Band were up for Best Country Album, but lost to the decidedly non-country Taylor Swift. Anyway, good on them. In her acceptance speech, Swift remarked on the "impossible dream" of winning a Grammy. Not so sure.
But then it was time for Beyonce to perform! And perform she (and her breasts) did indeed. Don't hurt me, Jay-Z. Her act was fiery and fun and took an unexpected turn when she inexplicably segued from "If I Were a Boy" into Alanis Morissette's 1995 smash hit "You Oughta Know." Why so angry, B? Has Jay been spending too much time with Grizzly Bear or something?
Next, old-timer Seal introduced (ugh) Pink, who then performed. I would rather have seen Seal do Kiss From a Rose, but that's me.
Now for some good news, Atlanta! The aforementioned Zac Brown Band won Best New Artist. Also nominated was Atlanta's own Keri Hilson. What what! ZBB also performed later in the ceremony. I had no idea those guys were doing so well, but congrats.
Black Eyed Peas are the worst.
Who the hell is Lady Antebellum?
Next up was Record of the Year. What's the difference between Record and Song of the Year, you ask? Apparently "song" is a songwriter's award and "record" is a performer's award. Which made it all the more baffling that the awful Kings of Leon won for the awful "Use Somebody." As a friend of mine recently asked, "is there anyone who actually likes this band?" Apparently so, and her name is Grammy.
Jamie Foxx led off his performance of "Blame It" with an operatic intro which was quickly overtaken by All the Auto-Tune in the World. T-Pain was there. The more I see Jamie Foxx, the more I'm convinced he's exactly like his character in Any Given Sunday.
All the while, the big question of the night remained: What Will Bon Jovi Play??? I WAS ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT. But it wasn't time for that yet.
No, it was time for the weirdest performance of the night, which was Taylor Swift and aging desert woman STEVIE FUCKING NICKS dueting on a song of each artist's. I'm not going to look for the video because it's not worth watching. What is wrong with Stevie Nicks? And how did Taylor Swift become the hottest shit in America? My mom sent me a text message during her performance telling me how much she sucked. My mom!
Next up was a 3D tribute to Michael Jackson. Now, my gut instinct is, why have an entire segment of the show televised so that the viewing audience needs 3D glasses to enjoy it? Do most people have 3D glasses lying around at home? I don't. Anyhow, the singers (including ATLien Usher) all did a pretty great job on MJ's epic "Earth Song." Afterwards, two of Michael's kids came up and made speeches about their dad. It was sad and unsettling.
Finally, Bon Jovi played. Like eight songs, but only one verse of each. The Grammys are weird.
Jay-Z and Rihanna won Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, a strangely named category (don't most rap songs have hooks these days?) for "Run This Town." Afterwards, Wyclef Jean approached the mic and gave an alienating rant about Haiti. I don't doubt that the guy's heart is in the right place, but you know. Then Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli (another strange pairing) performed a stirring version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," presumably for Haiti as well.
Man, this is getting long. And I have like three more pages of notes. Time to start condensing:
-Fittingly for such an over-the-hill ceremony, an over-the-hill guy gave a long speech about how everyone had better pay for music or music will die. I didn't buy it (pun intended!) He intro'd Adam Sandler, who intro'd Dave Matthews Band, who played. Is this the music that will die? STOP PAYING FOR MUSIC, EVERYONE.
-Ever wonder what happened to Ricky Martin? He's alive and well, and was at the Grammys!
-Neo-soul crooner Maxwell gave a great performance of his single "Pretty Wings." Here's him doing the track on Letterman from last year.
-The Grammys were now in hour four, which felt like hour fourteen. It felt kind of like I'd been doing peyote for three days in the Gobi Desert.
-Recently departed, beloved Athens legend Vic Chesnutt was included in the show's "In Memoriam" segment, which was good to see, but bittersweet.
-Lil' Wayne, Drake and Eminem performed "Drop the World" and "Forever," backed by Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker. Taylor Swift was spotted in the crowd singing along (OK, she's kind of down). It was one of the best of the night:
-Finally, Ms. Swift won the coveted Album of the Year. Who cares.
Aaaaaaand scene. Whew. I feel like I need to go take a steambath. Thank God these Grammys only happen once a year. In the end, Atlanta wasn't as well-represented this year as some years past, at least in the actual awards. Congratulations to Zac Brown Band for representing the biggest, I guess. And remember, pay for music. Or it will die. All of it.
Beck and Alabama Shakes...that's about it. I'm sure there's an unknown or two I would…
Well, this years Music Midtown sucks!
I'm pretty sure he was 19.
3 people apparently love handing over an extra 40% in fees for nothing in return…
Dang. I thought they would name some actual headliners.
Forgot to mention that Iggy did a stellar show @ the Agora in the spring…