grammys live blog 2011

Hello, readers! Thank you for humoring me and stopping by to check out my second annual live blog of the Grammys. Hopefully we have a night full of entertaining performances ahead of us, if Lady Gaga’s trek down the red carpet in a placenta/womb/egg-like thing is any indication. Also, I’d like to go on record and say if Justin Bieber wins any awards tonight, I will never watch the Grammys again.

8:00 – Kicking things off with a tribute to the one and only Aretha Franklin.

8:03 – Quite a wide variety of ladies singing this tribute. Christina Aguilera needs to tone down the clown hooker makeup.

8:06 – Martina McBride never seems to age. She is gorgeous.

8:07 – LOVE Florence Welch. If her band doesn’t win Best New Artist tonight, there is serious injustice in this world.

8:08 – The longer I look at Christina, the more I’m convinced her and Snooki are the same person.

8:11 – Hell yes to “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves.” I love this song. (A special shout-out to my sistahs!)

8:14 – Lovely message from Aretha. She looks quite healthy.

8:17 – Damn, I missed Christina trip at the end of the tribute. Poor girl; this is just not her month.

8:20 – Best Pop Performance By a Duo or Group goes to…Train for “Hey Soul Sister.” I hate that song, but you can’t deny the fact that it revived their career and took over the radio last year.

8:22 – Oh dear lord, Ricky Martin, why are you wearing silver pants?

8:23 – Pod person Lady Gaga has arrived in a relatively tame outfit, too.

8:25 – The pointy shoulders are creeping me out. A lot.

8:26 – Of course she’s playing an organ with dismembered heads on it.

8:28 – Say what you will about Gaga, but she has a legit voice. No need for AutoTune or lip-syncing during her performances.

8:33 – Blake Shelton is introducing his fiancee. Precious.

8:34 – Noooo, Miranda! Not this song! I love it, but I can’t listen to it without crying.

8:38 – Happy to say I made it through that song with dry eyes. It helps to have developed a two-sizes-too-small Grinch heart.

8:40 – Muse is awesome. I have never encountered a song of theirs that I didn’t like.

8:43 – I wonder how Kate Hudson feels about the fact that the father of her unborn child just appeared on national television in a sparkly suit…

8:45 – My mom, on Bob Dylan: “Is he dead yet?”

8:49 – Major props to whoever organized the trio of Bruno Mars, B.o.B. and Janelle Monae.

8:52 – I’m in love with Bruno Mars’ voice. And his freakishly perfect teeth.

8:56 – I’m going to prematurely call this performance of the night. It’s going to take a lot to top these three.

8:58 – Finally…another award. (Not that I’m complaining. I love that the Grammys are so performance-heavy.)

9:00 – Best Female Country Vocal goes to Miranda Lambert, shocking absolutely no one. This song absolutely deserves to win a ton of Grammys.

9:05 – Oh no. I feel a Bieber performance coming on…

9:06 – Bieber is talented, but he has such a punchable face. I’m a terrible person for saying that.

9:08 – Seeing Bieber perform makes me feel elderly. It’s been so long since NSync’s heyday…Justin Timberlake just turned 30, for god’s sake.

9:10 – I have a hatred for precocious child stars, but Will Smith’s son Jaden is adorable.

9:11 – “OMG” is, hands-down, my least favorite song of 2010.

9:15 – Best Rock Album goes to…Muse, aka the only band nominated in this category that wasn’t alive in the 60s.

9:20 – “From ‘Blue Bloods’ and New Kids On the Block,” is a great introduction.

9:21 – Best Pop Vocal Album goes to Lady Gaga. Duhhhh. She’s dressed like a lunatic but I love her.

9:25 – This performance is…odd. A banjo, a convulsing keyboard player and a lead singer who looks like Tim Tebow. My brain hurts.

9:27 – Is this the Avett Brothers or Mumford and Sons? Or does it even matter? They’re both equally boring.

9:28 – Everyone on this stage right now looks like they escaped a polygamist cult.

9:30 – People actually pay to listen to Bob Dylan sing? This disturbs me.

9:32 – This performance quickly turned from strange to AWFUL.

9:34 – Thank god that’s over. I need a Top 40 palate cleanser after that hipster/roving band of weirdos explosion.

9:39 – Clay Matthews looks so. uncomfortable.

9:40 – I love Lady Antebellum so much. “American Honey” is a beautiful song.

9:42 – I have a strong feeling “Need You Now” will win one of the major awards tonight. (Song or Record of the year…I can’t keep them straight.)

9:44 – Best Country Album goes to…Lady Antebellum. A deserved win, for sure.

9:46 – Okay, now why is Gwyneth Paltrow singing with Cee-Lo? Just because she sang this song on Glee?

9:48 – Oh. My. God. I love this acid-trip-meets-the-Muppets performance. “It’s like Elton John on crack,” according to my mother.

9:50 – Gwyneth should be ashamed that she let someone talk her into appearing on the Grammys in a unitard.

9:53 – That performance brought the crazy and cuckoo that Gaga was lacking. Loved it. (Minus Gwyneth.)

9:57 – I hope “Not Like the Movies” is Katy Perry’s new single…great track off of “Teenage Dream.”

10:00 – Go ahead and make fun of me, but I love this song. A lot.

10:01 – Oh my god, how cute was Nicole Kidman singing along to “Teenage Dream”? Love it.

10:03 – Liking the sassy bob on Norah Jones. Not liking John Mayer’s homeless look.

10:04 – Song of the Year goes to…”Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum. Totally called it.

10:12 – Thank you, Seth Rogen, for making a ‘Miley Cyrus getting high’ joke.

10:14 – Rihanna looks stunning in this dress.

10:17 – I’m now intimately acquainted with the veins in Eminem’s face. He’s a bit intense, isn’t he?

10:19 – I just had to google Skylar Grey to see what she looks like, since they seem averse to showing her face on TV.

10:21 – Best New Artist goes to…Esperanza Spalding. Who the F is she? I mean, I kept chanting, “Anyone but Bieber,” but I was hoping for a Florence + the Machine win. Congratulations, whoever you are!

10:30 – It’s kind of cool that a jazz musician won Best New Artist.

10:35 – I find it very hard to believe that this is Sir Mick’s first Grammy performance. He’s such an old kook, but so talented.

10:37 – Stars: They’re just like us! They rock out! (I’m looking at you, Nicole Kidman. You’re too cute.)

10:40 – If the rest of the telecast was just Mick Jagger performing, I would be perfectly okay with that.

10:47 – The extensions on Barbara Streisand’s head are atrocious. Sorry, Babs.

10:50 – Nicki Minaj is loco, but I love her.

10:51 – Best Rap Album goes to…Eminem.

10:59 – This is one of my favorite Rihanna songs, made even better by Drizzy Drake.

11:02 – Oh look, it’s my new favorite American Idol judge and her creepy, possibly undead husband!

11:04 – Record of the Year goes to…”Need You Now.” Wow, both Record and Song of the Year. Crazy.

11:11 – Jason Segal, I love you.

11:12 – Arcade Fire needs to lay off the strobe lights a bit. Do not like.

11:15 – I hate this. Make it stop.

11:22 – FINALLY. Album of the Year goes to…Arcade Fire. Say whaaat? That’s ridic. Should have gone to Gaga.

That’s a wrap, kids. A giant THANK YOU to everyone who popped in to read what I had to say…as of 11:25 tonight, my blog has 691 page views. I can’t even wrap my head around that.

‘american idol’ top 8 guys: a crying shame

After viewing last night’s episode of American Idol, I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or shake my fist disdainfully at the pathetic displays of talent that made up the semifinal round. Forgive me for repeating a sentiment many others share, but these 16 people are the most talented out of the thousands that auditioned? If so, I weep for the future of the music industry.
My favorite male contestant, Lee Dewyze, started the show with Owl City’s “Fireflies.” I grimaced when I heard his song choice because I think this is one of the most annoying songs on the radio right now, but Lee actually made it likable. I appreciate his willingness to take on a song that doesn’t fit his “style,” so to speak. What is up with Simon obsessing over performances having “moments?” Was he hired by Hallmark recently? It’s strange.
My second favorite male contestant, Alex Lambert, picked a great song in Ray LaMontagne’s “Trouble.” I just adore the sound of Alex’s voice, and this song was a good showcase for it. The poor kid still has no stage presence, but there’s a marked improvement since week one and his deer-in-the-headlights performance.
That brings us to Idol punching bag Tim Urban. I believe my exact words when I heard he was singing Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” were, “What the hell?” This is a beautiful, nuanced song, and I couldn’t bear the thought of Tim vocally destroying it. However, it wasn’t all that bad. Was it as good as Jason Castro’s version (which still gets played on my iPod a lot)? No. Was it much better than anything else he’s sang on Idol so far? Yes. Nothing he presented last night merited a hug from Ellen DeGeneres, who claimed she’s been really hard on Tim for the last couple of weeks. If by ‘really hard’ she means ‘vaguely critical,’ then sure, hug away, Ellen.
The curtain has been pulled back to expose Andrew Garcia‘s talent to be mere gimmickry. One can only turn so many female pop songs into acoustic jams before America gets bored. His attempt to recapture the “Straight Up” magic by taking on Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle” ended up working against him. He messed up the lyrics during the first few lines, his vocals were clipped and breathy, and the whole thing just came off as weird. He removed any and all range from the song, and believe me, Ms. Aguilera has quite the range. I think the neck-tattooed wonder might be in trouble tonight.
Casey James‘ version of Keith Urban’s “You’ll Think of Me” was much better than the goat vibrato he served up last week. He did some weird things to the melody of the song, but it was a decent performance.
Aaron Kelly picked possibly the cheesiest, most melismatic country song I know: Lonestar’s “Already There.” He started off very shaky and sharp, but he was able to recover by the chorus to give a passable performance. It’s hard not to like Aaron because he’s so earnest and he tries so hard. Props to Simon, though, for sticking up for Aaron after Kara claimed he couldn’t relate to a song about a dad on the road. I always think it’s such BS when the judges say stuff like, “You weren’t living the song,” or, “You didn’t bring the song to life.”
Todrick Hall finally lost the theatrics and sang a decent version of Queen’s “Somebody to Love,” although I have a sneaking suspicion he used the arrangement from Glee. The gospel-lite arrangement suited his inclination towards dramatic performances, and he finally gave a straightforward vocal performance that showed why the judges wanted him in the top 24.
I totally called Big Mike singing last tonight, so I wasn’t at all shocked to see him in the pimp spot. (I’ll stop talking about the pimp spot next week, I promise. Even I’m getting sick of it.) Before the commercial break, when Ryan said Mike would be singing a Maxwell song, I turned to my mother and said, “If he sings “This Woman’s Work,” I’m going to barf.” I should clarify that I have nothing wrong with the song; Kate Bush’s lyrics about suddenly having to grow up and face reality in the time of a crisis are truly lovely and moving. Just reading the lyrics online makes me emotional. However, nothing about Big Mike’s performance was deserving of Simon’s “best performance of all these live shows by far” label, nor did it merit Kara’s apparent crocodile tears. For someone who had to tell all of America that she was crying, she sure had a dry face. Those falsetto notes Mike tried to hit were akin to a yowling cat, and it just got worse from there. All of his theatrics, from the dramatically raised hand, to the pained, supposedly emotional looks into the camera, felt so overdone and uncomfortable. When you’re singing a song that packs that much of an emotional punch, just stand there and sing it. No amount of fist-thrusting or shoulder shaking is going to suddenly turn Big Mike into the next American Idol. And no, Randy, he is not the person to beat. Stop saying that.
While I can think of four girls who might be in danger tonight, I can really only pinpoint Andrew Garcia as someone who might be watching his goodbye montage come 8:58 pm tonight. (Side note: how annoying is it that Idol and Survivor are on at the same time? I need a DVR, stat.)