My thoughts on The Grammys [Originally posted on FB 02.02.10]

I was at a Martina McBride show in Fairfax on Sunday night [I’ll post a story about that show later] so I missed The Grammys when they aired live, but I did TiVo them. It was the first time I actually planned to watch the telecast since The Police reunited and kicked off the show in 2007. So here, a few days later, are my thoughts on The Grammys:

First, understand that I am not objective. I’m very biased when it comes to certain artists.

As I stated on Facebook Monday afternoon moments after seeing the opening ‘surprise duet’ featuring Elton John and Lady GaGa, I really think these two should do a tour together. I can totally see GaGa singing inspired versions of “The Bitch Is Back” and “Dirty Girl” and Elton could sing “Boys Boys Boys” and get away with it. It was a great performance, an inspired pairing and…without a doubt THE moment of the evening. Not that the rest of the show was bad, it just didn’t top Elton and GaGa.

Beyonce never disappoints, and her performance of “If I Were A Boy” was stellar. I need not say anymore about her, just watch the performance if you haven’t seen it yet. That says it all.

Pink. My God…how does she do that?? And, where’d the water come from?

The duet between Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli was another ‘only at The Grammys’ moment that worked like a charm. Impressive interpretation of one of my all time faves, ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water.’

One pairing that didn’t really work for me was when Taylor Swift shared the stage with Stevie Nicks. Now, if you’re reading this, you know that I’m a Taylor Swift fan. I think she’s great. Stevie Nicks I’ve never cared for, though I don’t think she’s a bad singer, she’s just not my cup of tea. The two of them singing ‘Rhiannon’ [and the saving grace for me was that they didn’t sing ‘Dreams’] just never seemed to click. Taylor looked visibly nervous and it seemed forced. It wasn’t until she sang a bit of her nominated song, “You Belong With Me” that she seemed at ease and able to enjoy the moment.

I must admit I did not know that the Green Day opus ‘American Idiot’ has already been turned into a stage show and is about to hit Broadway this spring. When the cast of the production joined the band for a version of ’21 Guns’ my initial reaction was to cringe and fast-forward past it. I didn’t though, and I was very pleasantly surprised. The cast has vocal chops, and Green Day showed they can ‘play well with others’ making it a very cool and memorable performance.

All I can say is, I have never ‘gotten’ or understood what The Black Eyed Peas are all about. Fergie’s nice to look at, but that’s about it.

The big problem I had with this year’s telecast was that so many awards, practically ALL of the genre-specific awards were announced before the show went live. I found out [via Twitter] that Lady Antebellum won their category and Taylor won two awards…all before 7:00pm. That’s okay; the Grammys have announced winners off the air for decades. In years past however, when going to commercial, they would have a voice over saying something like, ‘The following winners were announced tonight prior to airtime…’ and give you a list, usually with a photo of said winner taking their Grammy. This year, nothing. I didn’t even know Lady GaGa took home two awards until I saw it Monday night on Entertainment Tonight! No mention of the other non-aired categories, which means classical music was nowhere to be heard or mentioned on the entire three and a half hour show. If The Grammys are an awards show, then tell us who won…ALL the categories. If they wanna focus on performance, then divide it into two nights, one night of speeches and awards, and one night of performances. I also think they need to devote a completely separate night to the ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award recipients. I mean, Leonard Cohen gets a Lifetime Achievement Grammy, and he gets a sixty second mention by Seal, whose primary job is to introduce Pink. Come on. I know you’re pressed for time, so make it another show, but the Lifetime Achievement and Trustees recipients deserve their moment.

RE: Censorship. I understand the need to censor bad language on live TV, but CBS must be very skittish since the FCC fined them for that infamous ‘wardrobe malfunction’ because, cutting an entire audio feed so much so that you think you’re surround sound system is failing is bad television. They could have just had Drake, Eminem and Lil Wayne come out on stage, say their names and wave instead of the ‘silent’ song they tried to rap. At least those in attendance at the Staples Center heard the song, viewers didn’t.

I think the voters got most of the awards ‘right’. Beyonce won for song of the year and, even though I was hoping Taylor would win, ‘Single Ladies’ really was everywhere. I was thrilled to see Taylor take home Album of the Year, mainly because, for me, her album has been THE album I’ve been playing pretty much non-stop since May. She can sometimes ramble on in excitement when giving acceptance speeches [face it, she’s had a lot of practice lately], but both of her speeches were brief, sweet and very sincere.

I’m glad GaGa won two awards, even though they weren’t televised. We lost out on seeing her give an acceptance speech, but she did give one hell of an ‘If Looks Could Kill’ Stare as they announced the nominees for Album of the Year. I fully expect GaGa to be back next year, maybe taking home a Grammy for ‘Bad Romance’. She’s got a year to think up a costume idea.

Just some thoughts…

–Barry