Grammys: Who Is Esperanza?
When Arcade Fire took Album of the Year at the 2011 Grammy Awards and Esperanza Spalding nabbed Best New Artist, many viewers thought, "Who is that?"
It's hard to imagine anyone beating Lady Gaga, Eminem or Katy Perry for anything, let alone someone beating out "it" kid Justin Bieber, but Arcade Fire and Esperanza Spalding did it, proving Grammy's best doesn't always translate to most popular.
"Oh my God. Thank you everyone," Arcade Fire tweeted after their big win, but that high would soon be shot down by a backlash of twittering that asked who exactly Arcade Fire was and how they won the coveted Album of the Year Grammy.
For the record, Arcade Fire is a reputable band with two Grammys to their name already and the Grammy wining album, The Suburbs, didn't come out of left field either. It made number one on the Billboard 200, while the Arcade Fire album before that, Neon Bible, reached number two.
Clearly, Arcade Fire has been, well, on fire for years! But Arcade Fire was an underground band and the uproar stems from a look at the big name competition they beat out.
How can anyone possibly beat Lady Gaga, Eminem, Katy Perry or Lady Antebellum? By pitting them against each other, of course! With top players from the hip-hop, pop and country scenes in the mix, the voters were divided and conquered, and the little Canadians who could, did.
The surprise win may ultimately cause the biggest problem for Arcade Fire fans: Does a Grammy make the band too mainstream for their hipster crowds? And in that same vein, how does Arcade Fire's failure to nab Best Alternative Music Album bode for their underground status?
Those of us who loved the Black Eyed Peas or even No Doubt's Gwen Stefani before they were so big they were everywhere will understand. The big win could change everything for Arcade Fire, but fans are likely hoping the band will stay true to their hipster roots and vibe no matter how big they get.
Haters hack Esperanza Spalding
Esperanza Spalding's win, meanwhile, has created an even bigger backlash, thanks to all those Beliebers out there.
After the 26-year-old jazz crooner, who pulls musical inspiration from her African-American, Native American, Welsh and Spanish roots, beat out Justin Bieber, Drake, Mumford and Sons and Florence and the Machine for a win, Spalding's wiki page was hacked by haters. Some changed her middle name to "Justin" and "Quesadilla" while others wrote things like, "Justin Bieber deserved it go die in a hole. Who the heck are you anyway?" and "Bieber 4 lyfe."
These slams were removed, and considering how Beliebers reacted to Kim Kardashian's friendship with the Biebs, are we surprised they showed up?
This is actually "Best Newcomer" Spalding's third album. Her first, Junjo, came out back in 2006, but her notoriety has gone up this year and her win seems to reflect what is often referred to as "a musicians' choice win."
While the Best New Artist award has gone to the likes of the Zac Brown Band, Maroon 5 and John Legend in the past ten years, the award has favored female crooners who are "musicians' musicians," like former newcomers Adele, Amy Winehouse, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood, Christina Aguilera, Shelby Lynne, Lauryn Hill, Paula Cole, Sheryl Crow, LeAnn Rimes and Toni Braxton.
A look back at past winners shows that Spalding's win is not really much of an upset, in spite of what Beliebers may think.
That's why Arcade Fire walks away as the king of Grammy Awards upsets this year. SheKnows hopes Arcade Fire enjoys the crown, ignores the haters, and for the sake of the fans that got them this far, keeps it real.