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.

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american idol top 20: mediocrity at its finest.

After enduring four hours of aural torture last week, only a fool would be back for more American Idol this week. Clearly I’m a fool, because tonight’s show just proved how mediocre the semifinalists are this season. Crystal Bowersox’s medical emergency (I’m hearing something diabetes-related) prevented the girls from performing in their usual Tuesday night slot, so the guys took the stage a night earlier. This was the most exciting thing that happened last night.
Big Mike started the show with James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s World,” and although I don’t count myself as one of Mike’s fans, it was much better than last week’s Maroon 5 song. His voice is well-suited for R&B, but I suddenly got a Ruben Studdard vibe from him last night. Anyone who’s followed the Velvet Teddybear’s post-Idol career knows this isn’t necessarily the best thing. (“Sorry 2004” anyone? I didn’t think so.) I’m glad to hear Mrs. Mike and Baby Mike are moving to LA if he makes it through this week, which he probably will.
A sub-theme of last night’s show seemed to be “Sing One of Alison’s Favorite Songs…Badly.” John Park decided to take on John Mayer’s “Gravity,” which is a song that gets played a lot on my iPod. It was definitely better than last week’s performance, but John really needs to pick a more up-tempo song if he’s still here next week, which is questionable. “Gravity” is great, but it’s slooow. He needs something to prove that he’s got stage presence, or else he might be rejoining his a capella group sooner than he thought.
Learning that Casey James has never seen an episode of Idol explains a lot. Why else would he choose to sing a song already covered by Bo Bice, Chris Richardson, Elliot Yamin, et al? Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Wanna Be” is a good song, but it seemed like Casey spent most of the song trying to imitate Gavin’s distinct voice. I agree with Kara; it was two steps back for him. He needs to find middle ground between acoustic crooner and electric guitar rocker. (Also: what’s in that secretive box? I’m guessing hair extensions and Aqua Net.)
I really want to like Todrick Hall, because I think a singer/dancer has the potential to do well on Idol, but he’s making himself hard to love. First, there’s the ego, which is ridiculous to have on an amateur talent show. I know he toured with Fantasia, blah blah blah, but he’s not as good as he thinks he is. I didn’t mind last week’s controversial Kelly Clarkson cover, but this week’s cover of Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” was all kinds of awful. That’s possibly the most iconic song from Tina’s oeuvre, and Todrick didn’t even come close to doing it justice. The judges clearly want him gone, which I think stems from some producer prodding; no one wants an Idol contestant who scammed money from children, now do they?
I have grown to loathe Jermaine Sellers in the past couple of weeks. You only pick Marvin Gaye if you can sing the crap out of it, and Jermaine’s performance of “What’s Going On” was just plain crappy. As if his performance wasn’t bad enough, Jermaine had to get on his God-fearing soapbox after the judges critiqued him. Now, I love God too, but there was no need for him to say, “I know God,” twice during his impassioned plea. A lot of people know God, Jermaine. You’re not as special as you think you are. Ugh, then he asked the judges what he could sing. It was like a lesson in “What Not to Say to the Judges 101.” I’m hoping he’ll be headed back to his beloved church singing after Thursday night.
Oh, how far the mighty Andrew Garcia has fallen since his sacred Paula Abdul cover in Hollywood week. I’m sure if he knew the judges would be comparing everything else he sings to a 30-second performance, he would have saved the Abdul gem for later in the competition. His rendition of a James Morrison song that I can’t remember the name of was passable, but I don’t think either of his semifinal performances show much star quality. To me, he’s just a Gokey-ish kid with a bad neck tattoo. I’m not sure what the judges want him to do next week, but it looks like he’s got a lot of thinking ahead regarding song choice.
Wee little Aaron Kelly sang the Temptations’ “My Girl,” which was definitely too old-fashioned, but props to him for putting a country spin on the song. There’s really not much to say about him, since he fits the non-threatening teenage boy mold, but it was cute how awestruck he was by Simon’s backstage comment last week.
Tim Urban should thank whichever deity he prays to, because divine intervention is the only explanation I can come up with for how he made it through while Tyler Grady and Joe Munoz were sent home. (That, or legions of teenage girls who have seen his shirtless pictures online. Go ahead, Google ‘Tim Urban shirtless’ and see why he’s a probably a lock for the top 12). His slaughtering of Matt Nathanson’s “Come On Get Higher,” another personal favorite of mine, was painful to watch. I believe I closed my eyes through most of it. Simon was entirely too nice to him, and Ellen was a bit patronizing. I feel bad for the kid, because he seems nice, but he’s become the laughingstock of American Idol. He’s just not good, and staying in the competition longer than he should isn’t going to change that.
Poor little lamb Alex Lambert, he who vomits prior to each performance, has definitely won many sympathy votes after he admitted to his rampant stage fright. He has a great voice, though; I challenge you to find a soundalike for Alex. He, unlike many other contestants, actually got constructive criticism from the judges, who really want to see him succeed. He seemed a bit more relaxed behind a guitar, and his take on a John Legend song was a good fit for his voice.
That leaves us with the pimp spot, this week graced by Lee Dewyze. Dude needs to ditch the wallet chain and plain tees ASAP, because right now he’s seeming more like a college coffeehouse act rather than the Next Big Music Superstar. Picking Hinder’s “Lips of an Angel” was a good choice, even though I kind of hate that song. Still, Simon claims he’s the one to beat, and Kara was right that Lee’s voice is extremely commercial.
Another underwhelming night from the guys, and I have 2 hours of Idol to look forward to tonight (note the sarcasm.)
UPDATE: I didn’t get to watch the girls perform because I was out to dinner with some coworkers, but from what I could see on YouTube at work today, I was pretty impressed. Of course I miss the one decent performance show thus far…

adventures in insomnia.

I’m determined to get myself to sleep through the night, so yesterday I downloaded a relaxation Podcast. I usually listen to low-key music on my iPod while I’m in bed, but lately, John Mayer just hasn’t been doing it for me.

I probably should have realized the title of the Podcast is “Relaxing Stream,” so I can’t blame anyone but myself. I press play and the sound of running water fills my ears. I immediately know there will be no relaxation going on in my body with the sound of water coming out of my headphones. It never fails; the sound of running water always makes me feel like I have to use the bathroom, and that feeling is anything but relaxing.

I try to ignore the water as soothing music starts playing. This is nice, I think, pulling my covers up over my head. As I listen to the music, it sounds very familiar to me. It takes me a while, but I realize it sounds like the music my salon plays in the background of the waxing rooms. So here I am, lying in bed trying to relax, and the music I’m listening to reminds me of hot wax being applied to my eyebrows and then being viciously ripped off.

I defeatedly stop the Podcast and scrolled through my iPod library to find Continuum, hoping John could do better.