Ah, the Grammy Awards. A chance for the who’s who of the music industry to gather together and reward themselves for a great year of music — er, let’s just forget that record sales are tanking, the concert ticket market is one giant fustercluck and perhaps the biggest star of the year is a 16-year-old with a shaggy haircut.
Normally, the Grammys make me all twitchy, but this year’s performances — Florence + the Machine’s Aretha Franklin tribute; Eminem and Dr. Dre; and Mick Jagger, among others — and a Lifetime Achievement Award for The Ramones have me thinking that the show might not be all that bad…even if Justin Bieber wins something.
TNGG will have live coverage, extra snark, beginning just before the start of the telecast at 8p.m. While you’re waiting, brush up on the full list of nominees, take a look at our picks for each category and relive some awesome past Grammy performances.
11:25p.m.: And that’s a wrap. I feel like I should say something profound here, but all I can come up with is…Wow, that was long.
“I think we should work on those last words.”
“I got it. I got it — I dig music.” But wow, that was long!
11:22p.m.: Babs and Kris Kristofferson present Album of the Year. Can we give it to someone other than Lady A? I don’t even care at this point, just not them.
Cool, Arcade Fire wins, looks shocked. I’m pleased. And they get the night’s final performance.
11:15p.m.: I really think I’d enjoy Arcade Fire’s performance if it wasn’t 11:15p.m.
11:12p.m.: OK, so Arcade Fire’s going to perform, then they’re going to announce Song of the Year. I’ll probably disagree with the winner, and then that’s that.
There, you can leave now if you want to (I want to).
11:06p.m.: Please stop saying there’s “much more to come.” I’m giving you until 11:30, and then I’m out of here.
11:02p.m.: J.Lo and Marc Anthony awkwardly present Record of the Year…to “Need You Now” — again.
We get it, people think it’s a good song. This good? Um…
Can we call it a night now?
11:00p.m.: Dear Drake, I refuse to take you seriously as a rapper. You played a paraplegic on Degrassi. Also, you are looking super creepy staring at Rihanna like that. No bueno.
10:56p.m.: Look, Miss Announcer, I don’t want the Grammys to continue after these commercials. I want to it end so I can go to bed!
10:52p.m.: Oh, yeah, Eminem won Best Rap Album for Recovery.
“We kick em to the curb unless they look like Mick Jagger.” THIS is Mick Jagger?!?! Ke$ha musta been DRUNK off her bottle of jack. #Grammys
I don’t even know what to make of this. Girl a) doesn’t know who Mick friggin’ Jagger is and b) then disses him. Tell me I’m dreaming? I fear for the next generation.
(11:19p.m. update: “Girl” is a dude. Whoops…?)
10:46p.m.: “There is still a lot of talent,” says my dad. “Too bad we don’t always see it.”
10:40p.m.: No, please don’t let it end! I’m getting tired of blogging. I am not getting tired of Mick.
10:32p.m.: But they segue into the “In Memorandum” presentation…which further drags down the spirit in the room. Get Cee Lo and that peacock outfit back up there!
10:30p.m.: What is going on on this stage right now? Look, I think music education is hugely important, but this microphone trade-off between the Recording Academy dude and Matthew Morrison is lame. Is the the show’s way of giving the stars a chance to make a potty run without missing any award presentations?
10:20p.m.: I could say so much more about that performance, but we’ve got the Best New Artist award to hand out. Esperanza Spaulding (who I have never heard of?) beats out a lot of big names. I’m going to have to look this chick up.
10:16p.m.: Em has so much anger, and I love it. Judge all you want, but the man really is great. I could have used a little more Dre, though.
10:13p.m.: Now this Rihanna dress I would absolutely wear. We’re getting “Love the Way You Lie, Part 2.” This song was wicked overplayed, which is sad because it really is beautiful.
10:12p.m.: “And that was just backstage getting high with Miley Cyrus” — Oh, Seth Rogan’s gonna get it tomorrow for that one. But don’t tell me you didn’t LOL.
10:04p.m.: And they present Song of the Year…to the writers of “Need You Now.” Good song, yeah, but…I don’t know. I’m, again, not thrilled.
I would, however, like to take a moment to note the problems Cee Lo is giving the Grammys. “Fuck You” was nominated and referred to as (“The Song Otherwise Known As ‘Forget You’”). I can’t help but laugh.
10:02p.m.: Norah Jones, John Mayer and Keith Urban duet (er…triet?) on “Jolene.” For what purpose? I don’t know, but it sounds superb.
Oh, duh — it’s a Dolly tribute. So maybe the Lifetime Achievement winners will get a little more?
10:oop.m.: Candy heart dresses for “Teenage Dream,” dedicated to “all the Valentine’s lovers.” ‘Sup with all the outlandish girls toning it down (relatively) tonight?
9:57p.m.: NPH references last week’s How I Met Your Mother to introduce Katy Perry, who has ditched the cone bras and candy outfits for a simple performance, a bit reminiscent of Pink’s performance last year (fewer acrobatics). Her grandma is in the room, after all.
9:50p.m.: I can’t take my eyes off my TV long enough to type. That was…unbelievable. Like, actually unbelievable. Oh, and Cee Lo pulled an Xtina — but I’m willing to forgive him due to the pure entertainment value.
9:46p.m.: Cee Lo and Gwyneth Paltrow…and a bunch of puppets? Holy God, this entire thing is already phenomenal. In other news, I miss Outkast.
9:44p.m.: Best Country Album better go to Zac Brown Band.
But it goes to Lady A for “Need You Now” — which I’m OK with. At least it wasn’t Miranda Lambert.
9:40p.m.: Lady Antebellum pays tribute to Teddy Pendergrass (with, like, 30 seconds of music; thanks for the afterthought?) and does a couple of their own. Lead singers Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott’s voices are gorgeous together. Now this is country music I can get behind.
9:39p.m.: Julie Andrews, Dolly Parton and The Ramones are among the Lifetime Achievement Award winners honored as we come back from commercial. Wait — that’s all they get? I really feel like the Grammys have their priorities messed up.
In that case, allow me to help out:
9:31p.m.: “Just plain old music by performers who sing and play. All the rest is [a] joke,” says el padre. All you youngins take note — Bobby Dylan can still command an audience. Oh, yes — we even get some harmonica!
9:25p.m.: Next up on stage: Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers and the honorable Bob Dylan. Let’s all be honest here: the performances are upstaging the awards tonight.
9:21p.m.: Man, talk about a diverse group for Best Pop Vocal — John Mayer, Gaga, Bieber, Katy Perry and Susan Boyle. Gaga wins it with “Bad Romance,” and heads onto the stage wearing what looks like a full-body bulletproof vest.
“Whitney [Houston], I imagined you were singing “Born This Way” when I wrote it,” says Gaga — I’m perplexed, kind of surprised and want to just hug the girl all at once. I’m sure we’ll come back to that later.
9:13p.m.: Best Rock Album Grammy nominee list is sick. Muse wins for “The Resistance,” and while it’s a great song, I can’t help be a little surprised. I mean, Jeff Beck was nominated.
9:08p.m.: Speaking of contrived, we’ve got the ninja theme to tie Jaden Smith into this whole thing. Really, Grammys — you give me a reason to be hopeful for the future of music, then you just destroy my dreams.
Forget what I said, give me Bieber and a guitar over this — at least the kid can sing. But it’s cute seeing Will and Jada be proud parents. I mean, how can you not love the Fresh Prince? I think their whole family is friggin’ adorable.
9:05p.m.: OMGOMGOMGOMG…JUSTIN BIEBER!!!!!!
…yeah, no. The Grammys are giving us a little look back on the relationship that is Usher and Justin Bieber (really, was that just a little too contrived for anyone else?)
8:58p.m.: Wait…wait…it can’t be — we’re actually doing another award! It’s for Best Female Vocal Country Performance…and the winner is “The House that Built Me” by Miranda Lambert.
Am I the only person that doesn’t get her appeal? I don’t think her voice is all that strong.
8:55p.m.: My dad’s response to this grouping: “Motown, 1965.” This trend excites me — young singers (who can actually sing and play instruments; note the boys backing on guitar and drums of Janelle) making soulful, interesting music. Maybe there is some hope? More from my dad: “Perhaps this could be the future of big music — collaborations on national TV. A throwback to the old traveling revues.”
(And no, not one word of that was snark. As much as I don’t want to admit it, Bruno Mars is winning me over, maybe partially because it’s fun to say ‘The Smeezingtons.”)
8:51p.m.: We’re onto our fifth performance of the night (and we’ve still only seen one award): Bruno Mars, BoB and Janelle Monae. Yes, BoB is sporting a monocle.
I know “Nothin’ on You” was obvious choice because it’s already a collabo between the two boys, but I think I would have rather seen them do “Grenade” (a current guilty pleasure) — except that as I soon as I typed that, he launched into a retro-style version of the song. This kid was so born in the wrong decade. If they ever made an I Love Lucy remake, he would be a shoo-in for Ricky.
Just a snippet:
8:50p.m.: Um…I had enough Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet pre-show, thanks. You couldn’t find anyone else?
8:44p.m.: We’re almost an hour in, and they’ve given out exactly one award. A) Oh my gawd, this is going to be a long night. B) I say they just do away with the award presentations and make it a night of performances. All in favor?
8:38p.m.: Was unaware Muse was performing — happy surprise! Also, yay for Matt Bellamy using a double-neck guitar — that plus the suit, and he looks like something straight out of ’80s glam rock, no?
8:34p.m.: Truth: I’m more interested in finding a photo of Rihanna’s dress than this Miranda Lambert performance.
8:23p.m.: The moment we’ve all been waiting for — Gaga’s egg opens (it’s not fluid-filled; that’s good) for “Born This Way.” Anyone else not used to watching her do as intense of a choreographed dance? It feels…awkward. And I’m a little let down.
8:22p.m.: The Aretha girls come out to present the night’s first award. And the Grammy for the Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group goes to…“Hey, Soul Sister (Live)” by Train.
I might be able to give a more objective opinion if I wasn’t ready to gouge my eyes out with a rusty fork every time I heard that godforsaken song.
“Thanks Justin Bieber for not being a duo or group,” says Pat Monahan.
8:20p.m.: Anyone else appreciate the image of the Grammy Awards logo crashing down on itself? Fitting for the state of the music industry, no?
8:14p.m.: Commercial break already? Ugh…this is going to take all night. I’ve got to say, though, the lineup of performances is Out. Of. Control. They really ought to do collaborations all the time.
8:05p.m.: “Hey, guys, here’s a great idea — let’s give the chick who forgot the words to the National flippin’ Anthem last week the leading solo.” Who makes the decisions around this place?
8:01p.m.: I thought Gaga was supposed to open the show? Not that Aretha doesn’t totally deserve an opening tribute; I’m just confused.
8:oop.m.: Annnnnd away we go!
7:55p.m.: Did Heidi Klum’s comments that Ryan Seacrest needed to sing to whoever he’s singing to on Valentine’s Day…naked…creep anyone else out? She was so persistent.
7:41p.m.: What. The. Eff. is Rihanna wearing?! It looks a bit like the edging on a cake. And a bit like…pipe cleaners. It also looks like it’s bunching up like crazy at the bottom, so some negative points for that, too.
7:33p.m.: Such a family night — Drake bought his mother, and Katy Perry brought her grandma (and provided her with a super pimpin’, bejeweled cane) for her 90th birthday. “She recognized Justin Bieber right away!,” says Katy.
“How did you get here, I just saw you on SNL?” Ryan asks Russell Brand. “Well, Ryan, the Wright Brothers…” Russell deadpans. I’ve never overly liked the man, but yessss, that was so necessary.
7:25p.m.: Ryan Seacrest just made poor Willow Smith have a little bonding moment with showing-too-much-sideboob Miley Cyrus (“Give Miley a hug…”)…and it was as awkward as it sounds.
7:13p.m.: Just tuned into the red carpet to see something called the “GlamCam 360.” It would be cool if you couldn’t accomplish the same thing by having the artists stand in front of the camera and, you know, turn in a circle.
6:42p.m.: Apparently I’ve already missed something good, courtesy of — who else — Lady Gaga. Please tell me that egg isn’t filled with fluid, like it looks like it is? All together now…ewwwwwww.
5:00p.m.: The pre-telecast ceremony is already in full swing, and the red carpet festivities begin in just over an hour. You can also check out the Grammy website for some backstage and post-ceremony coverage throughout the night.
I’ve got to warm up, do some laundry and make myself dinner before I spend the night on the couch, but I’ll chime in when I can. Meanwhile, Rob Sheffield, Ryan Seacrest and the Grammy Twitter account can keep you company and give you all the gossip.