I’m blogging about the Grammy’s as it goes along. I’m also making comments on my Twitter page.
Lady Gaga opens with a suitably over-the-top musical theatre act. She starts with “Poker Face” in an outfit stolen perhaps from the Xanadu set. “She’s a monster!” a narrator says. Indeed!
She is joined by part-time Atlantan Elton John in part two of her opener. Both appear to have survived some sort of nuclear holocaust with Elton’s diamond-studded glasses and random limbs on the dueling pianos doing his first hit “Your Song.” What helps her, underneath the makeup and razzmattazz, is she can truly sing.
“Stay away from Katy Perry,” said Stephen Colbert to his daughter.
Other mildly amusing quips. “What I’d like to see is Adam Lambert and any sense of restraint.”
“I have one issue with the Grammy’s. Why isn’t Susan Boyle here? Sure, Justin Timberlake may have brough Sexyback. Susan Boyle sent it back. Goodbye sexy!”
“Your industry was saved by a 48-year-old cat lady in sensible shoes.”
It’s 8:12 p.m. Time for an award! Song of the year, which is rewarded to the songwriter, per se, not the singer (unless they are one and the same). Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” is the first winner of the night. (Beyonce was prepping for a performance and couldn’t make it on stage with the songwriters.) Three of the songwriters, Terius Nash (better known as The-Dream), Christopher Stewart, and Kuk Harrell, are from Atlanta.
Performance #2 (there will be at least 17) was Green Day with the cast of the upcoming Broadway play “American Idiot” performing “21 Guns.” There appeared to be about 300 people on stage but it worked. It gave the song a more muscular (and naturally theatrical) feel.
At 8:25 p.m., we get to the best country album. North Georgia’s own Zac Brown Band was in the running but Taylor Swift won. No surprise there. So Kanye, both Beyonce and Taylor won. See– everyone can share!
CBS synergy alert with Simon Baker (”The Mentalist”) introducing Beyonce. She starts in the audience with a group of Robocops behind her. She looks stunning, as usual. The Grammy’s have added the mini-”crowd” near the front of the stage (MTV has done this many times in the past) to give more energy to the performances. Interesting she chose “If You Were a Boy” instead of “Single Ladies” or “Halo” but it’s more interesting when she goes into Alanis Morrissette (though she naturally leaves out the F-word.). She does a perfectly suitable version though I was almost expecting Morrissette to just pop up. She didn’t.
At 8:39 p.m.: Pink looks a bit like an 1980s version of Kim Basinger entering the stage and then goes all Cirque du Soleil. I don’t know I could sing while being thrown around like a merry go round in midair. I give her points singing a non-single “Glitter in the Air.” I’m not sure the Grammy folks were too happy about that but from an imagery standpoint, that was certainly cool.
Two Georgia acts vie for the Best New Artist: R&B singer Keri Hilson and the Zac Brown Band. Zac Brown wins! They’ve certainly earned it, with four hit singles off “The Foundation,” including some of my favorite songs from the past year. And their current single gives props to, of all things, I-20.
The Black Eyed Peas, who are performing at Philips Arena Thursday, follow Beyonce’s path with a futuristic feel and the act’s fourth single of “The End,” “Imma Be,” segued into Grammy-nominated hit “I Gotta Feeling.” But after Pink, that was just typical BEP.
Lady Antebellum, whose two guy members are from Georgia, do a faithful version of their crossover hit “Need You Now,” one of my favorite songs of recent vintage. Earlier, they had won for best country duo performance with “I Run To You.”
I guess because they are all recognizable to the general public, the best comedy album is included in primetime. Colbert wins. “This is a Christmas album so I have to thank Jesus Christ.”
It’s now 9:15 p.m. The tally: six performances, four awards handed out. Typical nowadays on awards shows.
Now they are getting to “Record of the Year” relatively early. This one is for performance, production and engineering (not songwriting). My wife predicted correctly: “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon, their U2-style anthemic song that has been played to death by local radio. They seemed suitably drunk on stage.
Which is appropriate because they go right into Jamie Foxx’s “Blame It” (on the alcohol.) Yet another cut to Jay-Z (twice). The Grammy producer sure likes him, eh? More amusing: George Clinton in the audience.
Atlanta resident Justin Bieber flubs the line saying Beyonce instead of Bon Jovi. But he’s still cute. Right, tweens?
Sixth Grammy announced is best rock album and U2 does not win! Instead, it’s Green Day. Who would have thought in 1995 that they’d become Grammy favorites in 2010?
Zac Brown Band goes all patriotic with “America the Beautiful” in their medley. Was Leon Russell (joining the band) still alive by the end? Zac resisted singing “God Bless the USA” or actually unfurling an American flag. They’re getting much love on Twitter, too.
Dunwoody grad Ryan Seacrest introduces Taylor Swift, instead of an Idol alum. Not totally predictable. And as usual, Swift goes offkey. Not that she cares. Poor Stevie Nicks.
Watching the Michael Jackson tribute without 3D glasses is making me dizzy – and vaguely underwhelmed. So much time has passed since his death and we’ve seen so many tributes, I guess that was inevitable.
Atlanta’s own Jennifer Nettles gets some Grammy love by joining Bon Jovi on “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.” But the band’s truly career defining song is “Living on the Prayer,” the one the fans voted. Duh!
The Grammys went a half hour without giving out a Grammy. Finally we get best rap song collaboration, “Run This Town” with Jay-Z, Rihanna and the absent Kanye West. Where is Kanye West? He must be banned from all future award shows since the Taylor debacle.
We get some Haiti relief pleas from Wyclef Jean, followed by the Grammy producers throwing three acts together for the heck of it: David Foster, Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli singing Simon & Garfunkel. Blige can sing random Twitter messages and make it sound heartfelt. And she and Bocelli actually sound good together.
Okay. Homestretch, people. Endless blabber from the Recording Academy, a thankfully brief Dave Matthews jam and then Beyonce winning best female vocal performance. So, so close!
Next up: R&B singer Maxwell. After he does “Pretty Wings” and “Where is the Love” It’s apropos they pair him up with the incomparable Roberta Flack. And it was wonderful to see a tasteful Les Paul tribute with Jeff Beck, though I’m now getting cranky because it’s well past 11 p.m.
The final song features Eminem, Drake and Lil Wayne and is muted constantly for various cuss words. Eminem is impressive with the rhymes as always. Lil Wayne wears sunglasses and a T-shirt that says, “Listen to Lil Wayne.” He knows all about self marketing before 15 million viewers (or whoever is left now that it’s 11:18 p.m.)
A friend told me the Grammys had already planned to end this show at 11:30 p.m. Lucky us!
Taylor Swift won the big album of the year prize for “Fearless.” She looks genuinely shocked despite spending half the past year on the awards dais. “Oh my god! Oh, wow. Thank you so much!” she said. Lady Gaga does not look impressed.