Sunday, February 20, 2011

Grammy 2011 - It's like a national holiday at our place.

pictures from Go Fug Yourself, Celebuzz, and Rolling

Oh man, there was a whole load of crazy at the Grammy's this year!  Of course there was the mandatory lameness factor, but I was quite satisfied with the amount of extreme attention grabbing and posing and...oh yes.  Music performing.  And the distribution of small gramophones.  (get it?  Gramophone, Grammy?)

The show started off with a tribute to The Queen Of Soul.  The Queen.  The Living Legend.


She was unable to attend the show, but gave a video message.  AND THIS IS HOW SHE DRESSED UP TO ADDRESS HER ADORING AUDIENCE!  This, people, is just one reason why she is still The Queen. She hadn't been well last fall and I think she's looking pretty darn good.

And of course any tribute to Aretha requires a massive Diva-a-thon.  Aaaaand that's what we got.

Yolanda Adams, Martina McBride, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, and Florence Welch.

Yolanda  - fantastic. What a range!  Martina -  flawless.  Jennifer - full on Aretha mode.  She's so pretty but I hated her dress.  Florence - big voice for a skinny white girl. 

Xtina kind of worried me.  A little,  I mean, it was just really... a lot.  

See Martina and Jennifer? That's how I felt too.

Her eyelashes were visible from about 100 ft away.  She was like Diva Barbie.  It's like she's becoming a caricature of herself and that's not cool.  

Anyways it was a giant wail-off but there's still only one Aretha.

And luckily there's only one Gaga because I don't think we could handle any more.

She showed up on the red carpet inside an egg.  I think it was more like a larva. 

"Can you see me?  I'm trapped inside a giant larva and I can't hatch by myself!  Hellllp meee!"

She did hatch eventually, on stage.  

You know what I really, really wish would have happened?  I wish she would have gotten her leg caught in it, like when Derek Smalls finally got out of his pod only to realize that David and Nigel had gotten back into theirs, then tried to get back in and got his arm stuck in the pod as it closed, and then raised his other fist in a compensatory rock and roll salute.  

So you know, cool and all, imaginative etc but for me really a bit of a let down.

(Once you've seen This Is Spinal Tap five times, everything else is a bit of a let down.)

I have no idea what the stupid hat was all about.  She's got great abs though.  

Which all went to hell as soon as I noticed the shoulders. Ew.

Glue on shoulders?  Really?  Windmilling with the fake ponytail was fun though.  It was actually a very high energy performance.  I didn't get it but it was good!  I think.

I've included this picture because I want to show the round bum cheeks.  The heck...?  I wonder... would that be comfortable or not?  Is this what she'd wear on a date with Darth Vader?  Who's the dude and why is she clutching him so tightly?  

Well I totally lost interest because the next performance was by an extremely cool band called MUSE.  I've been digging this band for a few years but wasn't aware how huge they are in countries that aren't Canada.  My daughter is currently obsessed with Muse.  I'm not exaggerating here.  She has them on her iPod and has those earbuds plugged in every chance she gets.  She bought the Muse songbook (for piano guitar and vocal... she's playing her violin to it.  Of course.) She spends hours going through Google images for pictures of Muse and posts lyrics on her facebook page.  

They did not disappoint.  They were awesome.

Matthew Bellamy had a double neck guitar.  It appeared to be two six strings.  I'm not really sure what that was all about... other than being haaavy!

Their set included people with flags and dramatic revolution, and like, PYRO and lights and stuff.  

They rock.  

And they won.  They win at rocking.

Cute little drummer Dominic Howard thanked my daughter.  Well, not by name.  He thanked THE FANS.  She is definitely a loud and active part of that group of people.  Bassist Chris Wolstenholme said nothing; we assume he's the strong silent type.  Frontman Bellamy gave a shout in his acceptance speech to his beautiful pregnant girlfriend.  You might have heard of her...Kate Hudson.

(I do believe she's glowing.)

Next up, Bruno Mars. I'd heard of this guy, but didn't know what the deal was.

Well the deal, as far as I can see, is that the kid is super talented and gosh darn adorable.  

I can't help but think he could be the next classic, like throwback-meets-future.

Cute lil Miranda Lambert sang a sweet country song, and then...the live performances took a break.  Sort of.  Up until this point I was pretty sure everybody was singing live.  I'm not the expert here - Jethro is, but he had to work that evening - I know, music biz guy can't take Grammy Night off work, but hey in this business any work is good work right? - but I heard enough slight and purely human mistakes to think it was all for real.  Plus I asked Annyong who is gifted with her daddy's freaky sense of pitch.

Anyways.  The Biebs.  I know the kid can SING.  I've heard him live. 

The beginning of The Bieber Segment was a cheesy little scene with Usher reminiscing about tiny little Justin having the guts to track him down and ask to sing for him.  I dunno... it's all true but maybe it's just that I'm not a big Usher fan.  Nothing wrong with him... he's got a cute smile... he's just not my thing, you know?  So The Biebs strummed his guitar and it looked staged but real enough.

But then things went kind of...prefab?  I'm doubtful His People allowed a live performance... I'm going to guess whoever's in charge of these things went for flash and dance instead. 

And I kind of zoned out. 

Like, dude, really?

All that talent and this is what we're doing with it?  Kid opens his mouth and it's like hearing angels, people, angels for crying out loud, and we get faux-street clothes and stoopid shades and those ridiculous headset face microphones that I dislike strongly.  

Then cute-little-Jaden-Smith trotted out to do a Tough Cool Guy Smugness Routine with The Biebs and wow, I must be a black hearted meanie because I just did not dig this at all.  

I mean, I'm a basically nice person, I like kittens and puppies and everything, but this... don't like it.  

The good news is, the swirly hairdo is gone.  The kid has eyebrows!  Grandmothers everywhere are relieved.  

Biebs did NOT win Best New Artist.  

Esperanza Spalding did.  From what I've heard, she totally deserves it.  

She's a double-bass player and singer with a really cool style.  I don't know much about jazz - I might not be phosisticated enough to get it! - but she's a cool chick.  Check out that dress!

She'll probably get all kinds of hate mail from 9 year old girls.  She and Biebs had a backstage conversation that "conveniently" got recorded, in which they complimented each other's hair.  I'm serious.

The next musical act was a combo piece featuring Mumford & Sons - who I am officially a fan of now!!!

 - and another nifty band of banjo playing old timey musicians whose name I seem to have totally forgotten despite kinda liking them.  Gah.  Somebody's brothers????  Help me out here!!!

Aaaaaand...Bob Dylan!

He ain't gonna work on Maggies farm no more.  I just hope he keeps showing up.  I've grown quite fond of his rhythmic mumbling and craggy grin and harmonica playing.  

Later, in a total opposite of Bob and friends...

Oh my gosh people, for real.  Cee Lo Green.  Gwyneth Paltrow.  


Also, fake rocket ships, a glittery piano, and feathers.  

I liked Gwyneth here.  She wore towering heels, like she does, and hot pink feather earrings, which I want.  Badly.  And can she sing?  Why yes, we will allow her to sing!

They performed (The Song Otherwise Known As) Forget You.  The Muppet background singers got to do the line, "Ain't that some SHHHH."  

Cee Lo delights me.  Here you can see him in his feather outfit which included a sparkly (chain mail?) hood, yellow and blue feathers sprouting from behind his head, and a silver chest plate with abs. It might have been a 60 pack.  Annyong counted.  That was some big silver abs.    

This whole thing made me giggle and groove at the same time!  For a second or so, I wasn't sure what I had just seen.  But I loved it.

Well it takes all kinds to make a world.  Our lovely Katy Perry stepped up to do a ballad... seriously... on a swing... with what appeared to be her wedding video projected onto a sheet behind her.  And the sheet was actually...part of her dress.  

Oh dear.

I like this girl.  She's perky, she's gorgeous, fun, and always sings live.  She's an overambitious singer, but she's reliable and gutsy.  Keep all that in mind when I say I really didn't dig this.

Her red carpet outfit was classic Katy though.  Show-offy and costumey and kinda goofy.  

Dude, she had wings. And she brought her 90 year old grandma with her!  

Of course there was much Russell Brand smoochiness.  


All they need is a sunset and some unicorns frolicking in the background and it'd be the best wedding portrait ever.  

Well, it's the Grammys, and that means an appearance by John "Depp-like" Mayer.  Wow.  It's like he studied all the press tours for those pirate movies before getting dressed.  I mean, yes there are physical similarities between the two men, but geez!

(I still think he's cute, either because of or despite the Depp-ness!)

See what I mean????

John Mayer, Norah Jones, and Keith Urban did a little Dolly Parton tribute.  I love Dolly, and this trio sang a very cool "Jolene" cover.  

But enough of that - time to change things up.  Eminem, dark haired and grown up and sporting a very impressive forehead vein, came out to do his angry rapping thing.  I actually like this guy.  His timing is incredible.  Not like I know anything about rap.  

His giant massive hit this year included Rhianna, so... here she is, in all her magnificence.

Oh my gosh I would wear this.  I'm not kidding.  That is some crazy big layers of skirt.

It really suited the song too.

Let's just talk about Rhianna for a minute.  I think she's got a unique voice, she's beautiful, she is a strong lady, and she manages to be as naked as possible in public without technically breaking any rules.

Oh I just shrieked in giggles when I saw this.  Is it a soft fuzzy accordion or an upholstered slinky? 

Look at her expression.  

This dress is ridiculous and I love it!

You'd have to be shaped like her to make it work, and few of us are shaped like her.  

I got me some backside, but... I don't think I could get away with this.  Although... I wonder if it camouflages cellulite...

Things went off the rails later on in the show.  We'll get there soon.  Trust me, it's awful.

But first, the obligatory message from Neil Portnow, president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He came out to say his speech about how important music is and how the music biz is (barely) alive, and while other people probably go out to the kitchen to get a snack, I'm on the couch going, "Yay!  Music will never die!!! Say it loud, Neil!  SUPPORT!"

Then the promised, first ever, historical event: Mick Jagger performs live on the Grammy Stage. 

Oh.  Wow.

Look, I know.  Annyong's facebook page was, within seconds, (Yes she had it on while watching the show, these kids today) full of messages about how OLD Mick is and how WEIRD he is.  Pffft.  The Young.  Youth is wasted on them.  

Dude here is what, 68 years old?  Hello?  Think you'll be doing the Mick Jagger dance when you're sixty-eight?  Heck I can't move like that now.  Say what you will about his style but the feller is still as limber as ever.  And, he looks like he's having a hell of a lot of fun!

And his voice?  He sounds exactly the same as he always has.  (Geez I hope he was live!)

I particularly love this photo.

Dare you to not love it!  

Shifting gears once more, BARBRA sang, and I think I spent her entire song telling Annyong about Barbra's stage fright struggles, and that she overcame it and became the biggest star in the yadda yadda yadda.  The woman is fabulous, she's like buttah.  (Mike Meyers reference joke. You're welcome.)

As promised... the disastrous Drake set in which Rhianna wore something awful.

What the...?  What?  Is that... are those... mosaic undies?  With red fringe?  Huh?  Strip show?  Really?  Gyrating and grinding??  Look, most guys I know would not have a problem with this... and I'm no prude, really...okay sometimes I get slightly prudish but only occasionally... but this?  I don't even know what the song was.  Too distracted.  Both appalled and fascinated.  And Drake - what up man?  Why do you look so ANGRY?  I have no idea if this guy's a good rapper or not.  Maybe I'll never know.

But I do know this:  We got some unintentional comedy out of it.  Look at her face.  (Look UP guys.)

She's all grinny and it looks like her eyes are rolled off to the side so far she can't even see.  And again with the backside.  The outfit is stupid and ugly but at least she's got something to show for it.  

And speaking of backside...

Did anybody else think Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez's little schtick was weird?  

He would sing a line of a song and she'd act like she was embarrassed and wanted him to just stop singing.  AWKWARD!  

And I'm thinking, OH NO!  Are J Lo and Marc next?  Say it isn't so!  They're a great couple: he's a brilliant singer and she's fricking J LO!

She didn't sing.  She doesn't have to.

A few other notable sightings on the internets the next day:

Cyndi Lauper. 

I LOVED her when I was thirteen!  You know what?  She was my first concert.  Oh my gosh she was fun.  And weird.  What a relief for my weird little 13 year old self.  Know what else? I still dig her vibe and I'd love to sit down with her and go through the earring box.

As most of you know, I sometimes watch that big talent contest, especially now that Fricking J Lo and STEVEN TYLER whom I have always loved are on it.

Last year Crystal Bowersox stole my heart.  She didn't win.  I'm glad.  She'll find her own way.

And she looked gorgeous. 

Speaking of which...

Kelly Osbourne!!!  Look at you! 

I always thought the kid was cute.  Even being a televised brat, I still thought she had a natural prettiness.  She's grown into it while still keeping some brattitude.  Plus she looks fit and healthy.  WIN.

Well, the whole thing ended on a note of weirdness for me.  Discordant?  Dis-chord-ant?  The Album of the Year is the Biggun at this awards show.  It was won by a band that I just don't understand. 

Arcade Fire, to critics and hipsters, are the coolest band going right now. To me, they're a bunch of people flailing at instruments and wailing into mics and looking like they haven't seen the sun in two months.  Their music sounds like a bunch of drum thumping and monotonous strumming.  The performance was full of harsh strobe lights that not only tried to distract me from the noise but darn near made me pass out.  

But what do I know?  

I'm not a musician. I thought Gaga's black plastic bum cheeks outfit was funny.  I think banjoes are metal.  I'd like to hear a Cee Lo- Biebs collaboration.  What the hell do I know about music?

I'm the one reading reviews written by music snobs and wondering if anyone else has noticed that the emperor is nekkid.  Ironically there is a line in an Arcade Fire song about an emperor with no clothes.  

But you know what?

They're from my country.  Whenever anybody from Canada does well globally, I'm happy.  It ain't easy; a tour takes months because of the distances, and the music biz is really in a state of upheaval.  (Or maybe I just think it's worse here?)  I mean, a Canadian artist winning a freaking Grammy is a big deal.  There's a lot of competition you know!  So, I'm happy for them.

Most of all, I warmed to them because of their reaction to their win.

Pure elation.

They played another song, because they like music.  That's what the man said.

I may not get it, but others are getting it, the band are doing what they love, and isn't that what music is all about?