Last night's Grammy show was a musical knockout. There were stars galore, one bang up performance after another, and oh yeah, a couple of awards thrown in. Christina Aguilera nearly fell on her face, Mick Jagger proved age ain't slowin' him down and Esperanza Spalding proved that Bieber fever isn't as deadly as it seems.
It kicked off with a rousing all-star, diva salute to the ailing Aretha Franklin by Jennifer Hudson, Christina Aguilera, Martina McBride, Yolanda Adams and Florence Welsh and ended with a rock performance by Arcade Fire.
In between, Justin Bieber, Eminem, Usher, Rhianna and a whole bunch of other people I never heard of but whose albums I want to run out and buy, took to the stage.
Image courtesy CBS
Here are my highlights and lowlights:
Highlights of the 2011 Grammys
- Christina Aguilera made up for flubbing the national anthem at the Superbowl by tearing up her part of the Aretha tribute. Then when the performance was over, she nearly tripped off the stage, but didn't.
Image courtesy CBS
- Jennifer Hudson effortlessly blowing the roof off during her part of the Aretha tribute. I'm loving her more and more every day.
- Aretha's taped thank you for the tribute. She looked good, even though the dress she was wearing looked like it was from about forty pounds ago.
- Thought they had to call in security during Muse doing "Uprising," but was relieved to see the scary, masked anarchists were only lost backup dancers.
- An overdose of Lady Gaga. irst she was on 60 Minutes, coming off very shrewd and smart -- telling Anderson Cooper how she's studied "the sociology of fame." I'm thinkin' she's also studied the career of Madonna. Then she was one of the big performers on the Grammy show itself.
- And speaking of Madonna, did y'all notice how Gaga's new song, "Born this Way" sounds a lot like Madonna's "Express Yourself?" Not that I'm saying it's a ripoff, but sounds just enough like it to not be as original as Gaga's other stuff.
- Speaking of sound-a-likes did you notice the "Dr. Who" theme riff in Muse's "Uprising?"
- Final Gaga note: the nice hat tip she gave Whitney Houston when she accepted Best Pop Album. Whitney Houston...sigh.
- At first I thought those guys with banjos were the Winter’s Bone memorial backwoods band, but man could they play! Turns out they were two groups, Mumford and Sons and the Avett Brothers. Never heard of them before but they made me want to take up the banjo, they were that hot. At least until Bob Dylan showed up.
- How many times they had to bleep lyrics during Eminem's duet with Rhianna, "I Love the Way You Lie. I could just picture some poor tech with their finger on the button, desperate not to let anything slip. Heh.
- Cee Lo Green and Gwenyth Paltrow doing "The Song Otherwise Know as Forget You" accompanied by Grammy muppets. Gwen's not the greatest singer in the world, but she's not bad and she's fun to watch. Also happy to see Elton John get some money from Cee Lo for one of his old costumes.
- That black girl with the Snooki hair can rock! Complete with guitar smashing and mosh pit surfing. What's her name? Janelle Monae? Oh yeah, I'll be keeping my eye on her.
- Barbara Streisand making an appearance on the Grammy stage for the first time in years. The gal's still got it -- even though she wore one of her old curtains.
- Mick Jagger making an appearance on the Grammy stage for the first time evah! Before he did his salute to the late soul/rock singer Solomon Burke he came out and said, "So glad to be in your wonderful citeeeh!"
- Mick doing that pelvic action during his performance made me think he might break a hip. But for a guy who's older than dust, he's still got more talent in his two bony legs than half the pretenders in that Grammy audience have in their whole bodies.
- Raphael Saadiq being able to play guitar and hoof it with Mick on stage at the same time.
- The sets, lights, visual effects and staging were excellent. Having the presenters on stages in the audience was a nice changeup too.
- Not a lot of lowlights 'cause the show was that good, but the tribute to dead musicians? Not cool. They tried to show too many people and the mashup of music was confusing. For example, playing "Goldfinger" to salute the passing of movie composer John Barry made it seem like singer Shirley Bassey had died.
- Usher’s fine and all but after having grown up with Michael Jackson, he’s a pale, pale comparison. And I can't help being reminded there are people out there who think Usher actually invented all those cool moves he does on stage. Sorry Usher.
- Time to mummify Bob Dylan and be done with it. During his number with Mumford and Sons and the Avett Brothers, was I the only one waiting for him to spit those pebbles out of his throat? Sounded like he was singing, “I ain’t gonna work that Maggot’s Bar no more."
- Glee's Lea Michele saying "Grammy wimmers" instead of "Grammy winners" when introducing Lady Antebellum. Had a little Glee punch before the show Lea?
- Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" is really starting to annoy me with it's stilted lyrics and candy coated pop-ness. Time to change it up, Katy.
Top 2011 Grammy Winners
Album of the Year: "The Suburbs," Arcade Fire
Record of the Year: "Need You Now," Lady Antebellum
Song of the Year: "Need You Now," Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott, songwriters (Lady Antebellum)
New Arist: Esperanza Spalding
Female Pop Vocal Performance: "Bad Romance," Lady Gaga
Male Pop Vocal Performance: "Just The Way You Are," Bruno Mars
Pop Performance by a Duo or Group: "Hey Soul Sister," Train
Pop Vocal Album: "The Fame Monster," Lady Gaga
You can see the complete list of Grammy wimmers...er, uh, winners at the CBS website.
"Artist of the year is a woman and she plays bass!" at Girl's Can't What!"
"Getting To Know Best New Artist Esperanza Spalding" at Homorazzi
Megan Smith is the BlogHer Contributing Editor covering Television/Online Video. Her other blogs are Megan's Minute, quirky commentary around the clock and Meg's Rad Reviews.
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