The Grammy’s, one of many television-aired award shows that every American wishes was shown on a Friday or Saturday night, kicked off on CBS at 8:00 pm, Feb 12.
Bruce Springsteen, accompanied by a band of more than a dozen people on strings, guitar, and an energetic drummer, pumped up the crowd and the viewers at home with a lively and catchy opener. Shots of the audience provided a quick view of the beauties as well as of the unfortunate outfit choices.
After the song ended and the raucous applause faded, host LL Cool J walked onto the stage and launched into a heartfelt prayer for the loss of Whitney Houston. As he spoke, the camera spanned a lugubrious audience with their heads bowed. The tribute, though touching, seemed a bit over the top. Sometimes I wish that the host of the Grammys and the participants of the evening would have more fun with award participants and poke fun at the nominees. Evidently, producers are wary after the Taylor/Kanye fiasco.
LL Cool J kicked off the night officially with an inspiring quote, “This night is about something bigger than all of us, it’s about…healing…it’s about music.”
Pop sensation Bruno Mars took the stage in a gold tuxedo, backed by gentlemen looking surprisingly like him in equally startling garb, looking exceptionally feminine, but nonetheless pumping up the crowd for a great start to the evening.
After a short tribute to Etta James, who also passed away in Jan. 2012, the award for Best Pop Solo Performance was given to Adele Adkins for her single “Someone Like You.” The strong-voiced girl did not appear surprised at her win, but gave a thankfully short and sweet acceptance speech, especially taking the time to thank the doctors who “brought my voice back.”
Much to the chagrin of many Rihanna fans, Chris Brown, estranged from the Grammys since the 2009 incident wherein he assaulted his then girlfriend, performed his new single “Turn Up The Music.” Many say that his “comeback” after 2009 is complete after his creative presentation of the song.
The award for Best Rap Performance was given to Jay-Z and Kanye West for the song “Otis,” up against artists like Wiz Khalifa, Lupe Fiasco and Nicki Minaj.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Jack Black introduced the Foo Fighters’ classic rock and roll performance in the Staples Center. Later in the evening, the band won the award for Best Rock Performance, specifically for their song “Walk.” Front man David Grohl accepted the award with a musician-inspired speech, commenting on how their most recent album was recorded (in Grohl’s garage with mics and a tape recorder). “This award means a lot because it shows that the human element of making music is what’s most important,” said Grohl.
One of the most talked about performances of the evening, Rihanna and Coldplay, didn’t so much “share the stage” as they did “share a transition” between Rihanna’s song “We Found Love” and Coldplay’s “Paradise.” Known for their bouncing sound and individuality, Coldplay held the attention of the audience with their energy, obvious devotion to music and strange graffiti-themed stage.
Ryan Seacrest, America’s most popularly used host, next introduced the highly anticipated tribute to The Beach Boys. Maroon 5 and Foster the People covered two Beach Boys songs before the band reunited on stage. Foster the People undoubtedly performed “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” more appropriately than Maroon 5 did “Surfer Girl.” Which is to no band’s fault other than that Adam Levine has a very specific voice that did not match the general style of The Beach Boys’ classic. Overall, the tribute was respectful and refreshing, reminding us all of how talented (and adorable) The Beach Boys are in their old age.
The award for Best R&B Album went to Chris Brown for F.A.M.E. (Forgiving All My Enemies), who jaunted onto the stage in an unbuttoned shirt (flaunting his gaudy chest tattoo) and nervously accepted his Grammy. His short speech was less than eloquent, but, hey, at least he gave the “fans back home” a shout out.
Then began the country music segment of the night, opened by The Civil Wars, who happily poked fun at the other acts of the night. The two-person band, composed of John Paul White and Joy Williams, won two Grammys (not shown on CBS), and wittily referred to Paul McCartney as “that promising kid from Liverpool.” The pop/country duo introduced Taylor Swift’s performance, which was typically back-woodsy and predictable. The real question is why the back up musicians on stage with Swift were all dressed as “Little House on the Prairie” extras.
The award for Song of the Year went to Adele, again, for “Rolling in the Deep.” This win came as no surprise to anyone, as Adele was projected to sweep not only this category, but several others as well.
Katy Perry’s performance was unusual and tough to follow. It began as an LED-focused rendition of her hit “E.T.,” but was cut off by what appeared to be a power outage. There was an uncomfortable silence as the song then transitioned into “Part of Me,” which many suspect is a knock against Russell Brand, Perry’s recent ex-boyfriend. Strangely enough, Perry’s performance was only the second weirdest of the night.
The award for Best Country Album went to Lady Antebellum for “Own the Night,” a trio that was up against Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton and Taylor swift as nominees for the category. Antebellum’s speech, like many others of the evening, was short, respectful and to the point.
Later in the evening was the anxiously awaited re-premiere of Adele’s voice after she recovered from a vocal chord injury she sustained earlier in the year. As her first live performance, a lot was riding on the recovery of her voice, and she did not disappoint her fans or the Grammy audience. Though at first it seemed that she was holding back the fire that made the world fall in love with her sound, she strongly belted out the chorus much to the pleasure of the listeners.
One of the biggest surprises of the evening came with the presentation of the Best New Artist award, given to Bon Iver. While the artist may not be new, necessarily, his single and album “Holocene” was nominated for multiple awards. A more recent artist, Skrillex, known for his electronic beat-remixed music known as “dubstep,” was also nominated for the category but did not take the award.
The unusual art of dubstep was not completely overshadowed by mainstream pop music, however. Deadmau5, in an LED mouse-shaped head, mixed a great performance with the Foo Fighters as one of the last of the evening. In a great practical joke, Deadmau5 wore Skrillex’ cell phone number on his shirt, knowing how many calls he would receive from fans. Their corresponding Twitter feeds that followed make for great laughs.
The last individual performance of the evening was Nicki Minaj for “Roman Holiday.” Because the Grammys would be incomplete without a sacrilegious, confusing and generally offensive performance by a woman screaming into a microphone. Minaj might have been the only artist of the night to not receive a standing ovation, understandably.
At 11:30 the Grammys ended, Adele went home with 6 awards and every attendee of the night proceeded to their after parties to discuss what exactly Nicki Minaj was doing on stage.
Virginia Reed is a superb writer and an even better friend. She enjoys unhealthy foods and writing sarcastic articles. Virginia is the Online Editor for the 2011-12 school year and was a Managing Editor for the 2010-11 year but has not forgotten her humble beginnings as a staff writer when she was a wee sophomore. Her goals for the future are to get an A in newspaper and to apply to college in a timely fashion.