After last year’s Grammy Awards I said I wasn’t going to watch it anymore. It’s long, it’s tedious and the speeches are almost universally boring. But it’s those moments when an artist really nails a live performance or when something truly meaningful is said during an acceptance speech that brought me back to the grammies once again this year. I always like to see if I can decide if a performance is live or if it’s just a fancy lip-synch dance number. So I watched the show hoping for an amazing performance or even a great joke or memorable acceptance speech. The show was broadcast on February 10, 2013 and this is how the whole night went down.
This year’s awards were hosted by LL Cool J and kicked off with a performance by none other than Taylor Swift. I guess they wanted an entire show to recover from a bad performance if need be. Her performance of We Are Never Getting Back Together was surprisingly good. She was only flat on a couple of high notes but she still sang much better than in years past and to her credit, it was live. LL Cool J seemed suitably impressed by his pal T Swizzle although the audience applause was less than stellar.
Ed Sheeran and Elton John performed a song called The A Team and it was a really nice performance on piano and acoustic guitar. The mix was great as was the singing.
Best Pop Solo Performance Grammy went to Adele for Set Fire To The Rain (Live). Adele looked smashing in her Mary Poppins dress.
Next up was Fun. who were nominated for several awards. They performed their song Carry On and it was definitely a live performance. The song sounded notably different live than on the album but I’m giving the band kudos for not using pitch correction live. The performance was good although the lead singer hit a few notes flat. It’s understandable because the melody goes everywhere on this song and the album is extremely pitch corrected. I thought this performance was good and the fact that they used water raining down on all the electronic instruments is a testament to the durability of today’s musical instrument construction.
This was the country section of the show. Bonnie Raitt made an appearance.
Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley performed a very unremarkable country song to a bad mix. Miranda looked pretty hot in that dress though.
Miguel and Wiz Khalifa performed a nice little R&B song to lead up to the best country solo performance award.
Best Country Solo Performance award went to Carrie Underwood for the song Blown Away. Carrie thanked a lot of people but most importantly, she thanked the Lord.
Song of the Year award went to Fun. for their song We Are Young (woo-hoo! I called this one) This song deserved it as it was the best of the bunch. They also thanked a lot of people and then the “get the hell off the stage” music played.
Then Johnny Depp drunkenly introduced Mumford & Sons. Mumford & Sons then promptly kicked ass playing their song I Will Wait. Sadly they left their trucker hats and tuxedos home this year. These guys sound great live but I do prefer their “classy look” of the trucker hats and tuxedos. I would have liked to hear their horn section a little better. I am surprised that Mumford looks so young because his sons look about the same age as him.
Ellen Degeneres seemed to be making Beyonce very uncomfortable by being way too far into her personal space. Justin Timberlake performed and it was the return of the man/boy. He’s a weak singer, a poor dancer and he’s not even that good looking. Luckily Jay Z rescued this performance. Still, I skipped a lot of it.
Best Urban Contemporary Album award went to Frank Ocean for Channel Orange.
Best Rock Performance award went to The Black Keys for Lonely Boy which was well deserved. They gave an excellent short speech as well. Why was it excellent? Because it was short and I have no idea what they said.
Alicia Keys then performed with Maroon 5 doing the songs Girl On Fire and Daylight. Adam Levine sang extremely well and Maroon 5 played flawlessly. Alicia Keys was simply perfect as well even while playing the drums. This performance was one of the highlights of the evening and definitely worth watching again on YouTube.
Best Pop Vocal Album award went to Kelly Clarkson for her album Stronger. This was the first miss of the night as Some Nights by Fun., Ceremonials by Florence & The Machine and Overexposed by Maroon 5 are all better albums. Kelly Clarkson gave a really funny acceptance speech that was filled with wide-eyed fan-girl statements.
LL Cool J’s relentless Twitter references got really old by the middle of the show.
Rihanna was joined by Mikky Ekko for a pretty nice live performance. It was well mixed and smooth and I have no idea what the song was called.
Best Rap/Sung Award went to Jay-Z, Kanye West, Frank Ocean & The-Dream for No Church In The Wild. Yes the Grammies love Jay-Z. Jay-Z did crack a good one saying “I would like to thank the swap meet for his hat” in reference to The-Dream’s hat.
The Black Keys performed with Night Tripper, Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. It was quite a performance of the Black Keys song Lonely Boy. It was well mixed and it really, really rocked. Dr. John looked especially bitching in his Mountain Man Rendezvous outfit.
Kelly Clarkson then sang a really nice tribute to Patty Page and Carol King. Kelly has an amazing voice and she really brings the goods live. She totally nailed The Tennessee Waltz and Natural Woman.
Best Country Album award went to Zac Brown Band for Uncaged.
Bruno Mars then took the stage performing Locked Out Of Heaven. Bruno can really sing and he pulls it off live. He’s got a great look and great dance moves to go along with his great songs. Bruno is a real artist. He was joined onstage by Sting who played an excellent bass line and sang a rocking duet with Bruno on Locked Out Of Heaven. Sting then took over singing Walking On The Moon with Bruno singing and excellent harmony with Sting. Rihanna and Ziggy Marley then joined Sting and Bruno onstage to sing a tribute to Bob Marley. Damien Marley then joined the party to bring things up another notch. The whole performance was off-the-charts awesome!
The Lumineers then performed their hit Ho-Hey. The performed live and it sounded simply excellent.
Jack White then performed with an all-female band that really brought the goods. They sounded and looked great. He then switched to an all-male backing band and rocked a lot harder although the sound took a bit of a dive on this part of his performance. I preferred the ladies although I did like the aggressive performance he did with the guys. I have no idea what the names of the songs were.
Best New Artist Award went to Fun. who released the excellent album Some Nights. I called this award as well and Fun. truly deserved it. BTW, Katy Perry presented this award and she was smoking hot in her green dress.
Hunter Hayes then performed a song on the piano but the show was already dragging on too long so I skipped it.
Carrie Underwood then took the stage looking good in her prom formal. Halfway through her performance Carrie’s prom formal turned out to actually be a movie screen! It was sort of a boring movie but the imagery was beautiful. Carries vocal performance was strong but the song was weak.
Record of the Year award went to Gotye for the song Somebody That I Used To Know. Prince presented this award looking extremely cool and stating “I Love This Song”. Gotye sincerely complimented Prince for inspiring him to make music and it was nice to see.
Next up was a nice jazz tribute by Chick Corea , Stanley Clarke and Kenny Garrett to Dave Brubeck with a performance of his song Take 5. It was truly excellent.
I was very excited to hear about the new Grammy Music Educator Award which will go to a music educator. This is an amazing new award and long overdue.
Elton John headed up a tribute to all the great artists who have passed in the last year. Mavis Staples and Zac Brown sang their hearts out on Take A Load Off along with Mumford & Sons and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes. It was a truly great performance.
Juanes then sang the Elton John hit Your Song. The show was too long, so I skipped it.
Frank Ocean then ran up a highway to sing and play piano while running away from a mob of zombies. The song was talking about Forrest Gump and how powerful Forrest Gump is. Luckily Frank had a sweatband on to manage the sweat while he just ran, and ran, and ran, and ran. Just like Forrest Gump did in that fictional movie. I do have to say that to be able to whistle and run like that is really amazing.
Album of the Year award went to Mumford & Sons for Babel. This is the second Grammy miss as this is an excellent album but I feel that Fun.’s album Some Nights is a bit stronger.
The show closed with a performance by LL Cool J, Chuck D, Z Trip, Tom Morello and Travis Barker. LL Cool J really rapped with a lot of passion as usual but I mainly just enjoyed watching Travis Barker’s supreme drumming skills. The Beastie Boys tribute was nice and it was good to hear a shout out to the fallen Beastie Boy Adam Yauch.
Well the 55th annual Grammy Awards were about 2 hours too long and the awards were really accurate. I enjoyed it but I really don’t think I’m going to watch it again next year.
*RARE - "2013" 55.TH "ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS - LIMO TAXI PARKING PASS SIGN
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