11:30: The awards show ends right on time. Nice. You’d think it was a Dick Clark Production… anyway, lots of highs (the performances in the first hour) and lows (Taylor Swift and Stevie Nicks as well as the Michael Jackson tribute). There were no major gaffes or embarassments for the most part. But man, is rock out of vogue right now. This was a very straight up pop awards show for the most part with Beyonce as the big winner with six trophies. In the past, the Grammys have paid lip service to jazz and classical, but not tonight. It’s all about ratings, baby. I’m just thankful Snooki didn’t present an award. Grade: B
11:28: Album of the year award: OMG, what is Lady GaGa wearing? She looks like the Empire State building. The winner is Taylor Swift for “Fearless.” Gulp. I think I’ll go back to my original prediction now that she wins. This time she really does look surprised. I’m sure she is after losing record and song of the year. If you still consider Swift to be country, it’s the first country win in the big category since The Dixie Chicks won in 2007. ( I went to Wikipedia to confirm and someone has hacked into the album of the year page and put in Lady GaGa’s “The Fame” as the winner for every year… clearly an LG fan is pissed!)
11:14: Quentin Tarantino, in sunglasses looking like an idiot, introduces Drake, Eminem and Lil Wayne (with Travis Barker on drums). What’s with Tarantino’s accent? Is this Lil Wayne’s last appearance before he’s off to the pokey? The sound keeps going out on my feed. Can’t tell if they’re bleeping half of Lil Wayne’s rap or if there are audio problems. Three minutes into his own performance, Drake shows up. Autotune lives. “Pants on the Ground” was clearly written with Lil Wayne in mind. He’s about to totally drop trou. Energetic but disjointed performance.
11:05: Tribute to Les Paul by Jeff Beck playing “How High the Moon.” See, that’s what they should have done for Michael Jackson. Something tasteful. I’m still watching the east coast feed on the computer, while the TV is on the west coast feed since the show has just started here. Its a little schizophrenic… I’m definitely experienced deja vu.
10:59: Maxwell, who’s already won a few Grammys tonight, takes us into the third hour with “Pretty Wings.” The song may be pretty, but it’s not half as pretty as Maxwell. He just brought on Roberta Flack. Anyone under 30 just went “Who?” Her voice sounds great, but is it me or does her face no longer move? They’re singing “Where is the Love.” The love is probably the same place her facial expressions have been shipped off to: Botoxville.
10:49: Female pop vocal performance goes to Beyonce for “Halo,” presented by Lea Michelle and Ricky Martin, who obviously got the memo to wear leather. Beyonce gives a very short acceptance speech. Pink just tweeted how much fun she’s having tonight and how happy she was to get her standing ovation. What a good sport.
10:44: Adam Sandler clearly didn’t show up for rehearsal. I believe he just said “this band goes by one man.” Missing some words there, bud. And he mispronounced LeRoi Moore’s name. Anyway, DMB is doing the sweet “You & Me.” More and more people keep coming on stage. A string section, then a horn section and now a choir. Somehow, all I can really hear is Dave’s voice. Now it’s all kicked in. Very cool. Not sure about Dave’s spastic dance, but at least he seems to be having fun. I’m hoping it’s a dance and not a seizure of some sort. Oh, he’s singing again, so he must be okay.
10:39: Did NARAS head Neil Portnow really just get played on to “Bolero?” The Grammys are in to honoring their own. They’ve presented awards to both their director, Walter Miller, and co-executive producer, Ken Erlich. I think Pierre Cossette, who passed away last year, deserved a little more than that small mention. Portnow bangs the usual drum for arts education in the schools and for artists/musicians to get paid for downloads.
10:27: Wyclef introduces that tribute to Haiti. Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli performing “Bridge Over Troubled Water” with an orchestra. Bocelli is, appropriately, singing in Italian and I’m welling up.i’m not a Bocelli fan, but I can’t listen to this song without crying. Simply one of the most beautiful melodies ever written and he’s doing a gorgeous job, but I know Mary J. Blige is going to really bring it home. She’s taking us to church. Not crazy about David Foster’s arangement, but Blige’s voice is astonishing. I know she’s a superstar, but I don’t understand why she isn’t even bigger than she is.She’s the heir to Aretha Franklin, as far as I’m concerned.
10:20: Mos Def and Placido Domingo awkwardly chitchatting before announcing that Rihanna, Jay-Z and Kanye West just won best Rap collaboration for “Run This Town.” What? Kayne actually wins a Grammy and isn’t there to accept an award that he actually won? Rihanna and Jay-Z brought the world’s cutest kid up on stage with them, although I have no idea who he is, other than his name is Jules. Even at six, he has more sense than West. When Rihanna asks if he wants to say anything, he says, “No thanks.” That kid has a future. Thank God The Lonely Island didn’t win, although I know lots of folks were rooting for them.
10:12: Confession time: I have a soft spot for Bon Jovi, but “We Weren’t Born to Follow” is one of their weakest songs ever. Good God Jennifer Nettles looks hot! She just came out to sing “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” which won Bon Jovi its first ever Grammy a few years ago. Love the harmonies on this song. Richie and Jon are now forming a Jennifer sandwich. Take it easy, girl. Told you the fan choice would be “Livin’ on a Prayer.” Or the national anthem, as Jon humbly introduces it in concert. Yes, I have seen Bon Jovi in concert…more than once.
10:03: They just trotted out Jackson’s two oldest childern, Prince Michael and Paris. Shameless. I want to turn the show off. Prince Michael is having a tough time reading the telepromter, but he shouldn’t even be up there. Oddly, Prince Michael has the same speech pattern as his dad. Paris just said that her daddy was supposed to perform at the Grammys this year. Really? Can the exploitation over Jackson’s death now officially end and can we let him rest in peace. Wow. The show goes straight into a commercial for “This is It.” What a surprise. I’m disgusted.
9:56: Time for the Michael Jackson tribute. But first Lionel Richie is going to remind us that he co-wrote “We are the World” with Jackson. Thanks, LJ. You can go back to dancing on the ceiling now. I didn’t get my 3D glasses from Target, so this looks pretty trippy. Celine Dion and Usher are singing together now. Every now and then Michael chirps in, but it’s mainly a mess. Carrie Underwood is now bouncing up and down, as if that’s going to make this more bearable. This is just terrible. OK, shot of Beyonce wearing her 3D glasses and she seems to be the only one in her section doing so. A $1000 Target gift certificate is on its way to her. Cut to Rihanna, whose surrounded by folks wearing 3D glasses, as is she, but she looks really, really bored. Jennifer Hudson sounds great, but between Stevie Nicks and this big old commercial for “This is It,” I’m really sad now. Michael deserved way better than this. This is not a “very special Grammy moment” and no one can convince me it is, despite the standing O. Celine does look fabulous though.
9:50: I can’t pretend that Taylor Swift can remotely sing on key anymore. She’s singing “Today was a Fairy Tale,” from her forthcoming movie, “Valentine’s Day” and every other note is off key. Jesus. She’s now brought on Stevie Nicks to sing “Rihannon.” It’s interesting that she seems to love artists whose heyday was long before she was born– like Nicks or Def Leppard. Oh my God, Nicks is now playing tambourine and singing back up on a countrified version of “You Belong With Me.” Oh Stevie…. And I even like this song. This is just making me really, really sad, but I’m going to bet/hope that Stevie has a niece or goddaughter that loves Swift and that’s why she’s doing this. That only makes me feel a teeny bit better.
9:39: Leon Russell performing with Zac Brown Band. Man, he’s having a major resurgence. He performed with Elton John, Sheryl Crow, Neko Case and T Bone Burnett at Friday night’s MusiCare’s dinner honoring Neil Young (who won his first Grammy earlier tonight). Plus, he and Elton are wrapping up an album produced by T Bone. There’s also a movement to have him inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He should be in for writing “Superstar,” if nothing else. And for not having any idea of what the words are to “Chicken Fried.”
9:35: Alice Cooper and Katy Perry presenting best rock album. Katy: look at Alice closely, that’s how you’re going to look in 35 years if you’re not careful. Katy’s dressed really sedately. Is Russell clamping down on her personal style? Green Day just won, beating U2, among others. Billie Joe is the only one of the three bandmembers that actually talks. It’s like watching Larry, Darryl and Darryl from “Newhart.” It’s really sad that the lifetime achievement winners and trustees just get thrown in as part of an introduction to a performance by someone else or an award. That just doesn’t seem right. Show a little respect. Can you imagine how awesome it would have been if we’d heard Leonard Cohen perform?
9:27: Jamie Foxx is doing “Blame It.” He’s joined by T Pain, Slash, and the cast of Glee. Just kidding about the last part. Man, that was over the top in a jarring, kind of disconcerting way. Maybe that explains why Justin Bieber completely flubbed his lines when he came up next to announce that folks could still vote for their favorite Bon Jovi song (he brought up Beyonce instead and then apologized to Jay Z, whom I’m sure is worried about that moppet taking his women). He is either still really tiny or Ke$ha is really tall. And by the way, according to someone who was at rehearsals yesterday, Bon Jovi was rehearsing “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.’ They may have rehearsed the others possible choices as well, but I’d look for a mashup of those two. One of my FB friends just asked if it’s past Justin’s bed time! LOL. His parents must have given him permission to stay up late.
9:21: Record of the year: “Use Somebody” from Kings of Leon. First rock winner in the general categories tonight. One of the Followill brothers admits they’re a little drunk. The producer went to say something and the mike was already turned off. Sweet… However that means there’s only major category left for the next 1:40 minutes: album of the year. Looks like Taylor won her awards in the pre-telecast. I would say that losing both song and record of the year doesn’t bode well for her winning album of the year.
9:13: Why is best comedy album being presented on air? Shouldn’t that slot have gone to an alternative catgory or some other real music category? Although, to be fair, Steven Colbert’s Christmas album, which has a fair amount of music on it–including Adam Schlesinger from Fountains of Wayne- won. He just thanked Jesus Christ– take a drink if you’re following the Hitfix Grammy drinking game.
9:11: I love me some Lady Antebellum, but that performance was a big slow. Was it meant to be so dark that I felt like I was watching them all in silhouette? Still, they sounded great.
9:07: The Jonas Bros. are introducing Lady Angebellum. What’s up with the Poindexter glasses, Joe?
8:58: Miley Cyrus just announced that Black Eyed Peas were about to do “I Gotta Feeling,” but it’s “Imma Be.” Will.I.Am is wearing a mask. Between their costumes and robots on stage, the soldiers surrounding Beyonce and Lady GaGa’s Fame Factory, the show has felt very futuristic. No “You’re so 2000 and late” here tonight. Now they’re doing a fun “I Gotta Feeling.” I guess it would have been too cliched to open the show with that song, despite the obvious, “tonight’s gonna be a good night” line. We’re an hour in and there hasn’t been a cringe-worthy moment yet, but there’s still two hours to go. There’s still hope.
8:50: Best new artist: As I predicted, the winner is Zac Brown Band. After Lady GaGa was declared ineligible, they were the frontrunners. Well, they certainly didn’t dress up for the occasion. They look like they could be part of the crew. Back to work moving that lighting rig, boys.
8:44: A sedate Pink, dressed like a designer monk in all white, is performing “Glitter in the Air.” I keep thinking that robe is coming off at some point. Yup. Good God, she’s basically wearing a few well placed, assymetrical pieces of masking tape. Now she’s doing her Cirque du Soliel impression from her tour, swinging from some rope. Jeez, now she’s been dipping in water. Baptism by Grammy. I have no idea if she’s singing live, but if she is, she sounds awesome. She gets a well-deserved standing O. The performances tonight so far are great. Who’s going to be the first to bomb?
8:33: Beyonce is singing “If I Were a Boy” surrounded by costumed rejects from “Tranformers” or maybe that’s her security detail. Beyonce just went into Alanis Morrisette’s “You Oughtta Know.” Awesome! Even if she is skipping the really dirty words. The Grammys are three for three on performances so far.
8:29: Taylor Swift feigns shock as she wins the Grammy for best country album. Really? You were such the frontrunner that you probably already have a place picked out on your mantel for it. As usual, she gives a humbling, sweet acceptance speech.
8:19: Green Day is performing “21 Guns” with the cast of “American Idiot,” which opens on Broadway later this year. It’s very cool, but I’d rather see a performance of just the band playing the song, but I’m old school like that. I expect there to be a number scrolling across the bottom of the screen for me to call to order tickets. Don’t laugh. I bet within a few years smart managers will be demanding that in return for their artists’ performance. I feel like I’m watching a revival of “Rent” or, of course, “Glee.”
8:15: Song of the year: I predicted Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me,” but the Grammy goes to “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It.”) What was I just saying about wanting to change all my predictions to Beyonce? Interestingly, Beyonce is not on stage to accept her own award because she’s getting ready for her performance. I’m calling it now because I wasn’t smart enough to call it in my predictions: Beyonce gets record of the year and album of the year too and will be the night’s big winner.
8:13: Stephen Colbert in a lame monologue that involves his mortified teenage daughter just reminded us that the music industry was “saved by a 48-year old lady in sensible shoes.” True that.
8: 00: Brilliant: GaGa singing “Poker Face” to the tune of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” She’s got on a relatively tame green outfit, but it’s a rather dark industrial set about the Fame Factory that satarizes fame. After being tossed in the reject pile, she’s back, smudged with ash, as is Elton John, who’s know duetting with her on “Speechless” and “Your Song” on face-to-face grand pianos. I run hot and cold on GaGa, but I am running very hot on her right now, if nothing else for the starstruck, loving looks she’s giving John. They’re perfect soulmates in a beautiful misfit way.
7:55 p.m.: Five minutes before the Grammys start. Looks like Beyonce is off to an early start with four wins. As you know, 99 awards have already been presented. B has four, the Black Eyed Peas have three, Taylor Swift and Lady GaGa have two each. I’m seriously rethinking my album of the year choice: I now think it’s going to be “I Am… Sasha Fierce” over “Fearless.” Hmmm. Anyway, I’m going to sit back and enjoy the opening number with Lady GaGa and Elton John