“The Grammys are on tonight?” So I asked myself minutes before “our Super Bowl” (why is that necessary?) premiered on CBS last night – a question that revealed the yin and yang of the Grammys. That paradox being the unimportance of music’s most important night. However, in a surprise move, the Grammys didn’t suck quite as hard as I feared they would. My initial plan to watch only 30 minutes turned into me watching almost the entire show. And one hour in, I found myself scanning the Internet for live reactions. The good, the bad and the ugly were all in attendance. Here’s a quick breakdown of the night, in no particular order:
1. Cee Lo Green and Gwyneth Paltrow’s performance of “Forget You” (actually titled “Fuck You”) may go down as one of the best performances in Grammy history. Sure, Cee Lo may have forgotten the words for a second, but everything else was spectacular: the most flamboyant chicken costume ever worn (based on Elton John’s), an all puppet band, Gwyneth Paltrow in spandex. This was a win.
2. Jazz prodigy Esperanza Spalding won Best New Artist, upsetting millions of Justin Bieber fans and prompting Tweeters everywhere to go, “Who the hell is Esperanza Spalding?”
3. A super-performance (in ascending awesomeness) that moved from Mumford and Sons, to the Avett Brothers and concluded with Bob Dylan. Dylan is far too old and arthritic to play any instrument live, but even at 50 percent capacity, “Maggie’s Farm” was out of control.
4. Muse performed. Sweet.
5. Eminem’s Recovery won best rap album. And his performance with Dr. Dre (and Skylar Grey, but who cares?) unleashed “I Need a Doctor,” a new track from Dre’s long awaited Detox.
6. Questlove’s live tweet, “It just hit me… we have no host.”
7. Mick Jagger’s performance of “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love,” a tribute to the late Solomon Burke, got the whole audience on their feet.
8. Arcade Fire won Album of the Year for The Suburbs because they like music! The extreme sports expo during “Month of May” was odd, but their performances of that and “Ready to Start” rocked hard.
1. Barbara Streisand.
2. Usher and Justin Beiber’s hot and heavy broment on stage.
3. Katy Perry is still making music. And people care. I could handle the I-don’t-take-myself-seriously, bubble-gum that she used to put out, but seeing her hoisted into the air with clips of her wedding film in the background… I didn’t like it.
4. Any performance, mention or award won by Lady Antebellum. At least it constituted an additional commercial break from the three-hour ceremony.
5. Speaking of commercial interruptions, Hilton Hotel’s interference during Arcade Fire’s performance was not okay. Ten minute commercial breaks aren’t enough, now they’re pasted into the show.
1. Lady Gaga’s egg-tastic entrance. Weirdness for the sake of weirdness. And what’s with the plastic horns? Or the performance? Everyone’s dressed in yellow/gold costumes. Were they supposed to be the yolk from the egg? Egyptians from the future? As usual with Lady Gaga: don’t know, don’t care. And she got played off stage while explaining why she wrote “Born This Way.” Classic.
2. Christina Aguilera fell on-stage during her performance with Yolanda Adams, Martina McBride, Jennifer Hudson (who was looking fierce) and Florence Welch. Perhaps that thing Aguilera does with her hand while she sings is really for balance. And all this after botching the National Anthem at the Super Bowl last week. Ouch.
3. Immediately after Esperanza Spalding beat Justin Beiber for Best New Artist, legions of Bieber fans attacked her Wikipedia page.
4. I still don’t get why there were bikers all over the stage during Arcade Fire’s performance.
***And in other good news, Radiohead announced their new album, The King of Limbs, will be released this Saturday. Score! Fo’ Free? Not this time. Oh well.
– Steve Church, Music Editor