Monday, February 14, 2011

The Grammys 2011 (Review)

The Grammys this year is more about the performances than the awards.  Only ten of the 108 awards were given out during the telecast.  Talking about the performances, this year show has the best line up EVER in the recent Grammy history.  From Barbra Streisand, Mick Jagger to Rihanna, nothing really was more exciting in the world than watching The Grammys on TV at home. (And that’s what I exactly did today for about 4 hours non-stop, including the red-carpet of course!!)

The show’s opener was the biggest  vocal extravaganza (even bigger than the annual Divas Live in my opinion) featuring Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Martina McBride, Yolanda Adams and “the best new artist” nominee this year, Florence Welch of  the band “Florence and the machine” paying tribute to The Queen of Soul, Aretha Frankin. It was indeed crème de la crème.  With this performance, Christina redeemed herself (Recent national anthem fiasco, anyone?) with the spectacular version of Aretha’s “Ain’t no way”, Jennifer Hudson shined on “Respect”, poor Florence Welch looked out of place struggling to hold her own and even the country singer Martina McBride had a hard time being heard through the storm of big fat notes battle coming from Jennifer, Yolanda and Christina but in the end the winner of that screaming match was obviously the gospel great “Yolanda Adams”.  Can’t nobody mess with Yolanda who delivered the million dollar note towards the end that claimed the crown blowing away all others involved.  Aretha Franklin thanked her well-wishers and fans through a pre-recorded videotape. I wondered what she thought of her tribute which ended up being more of a vocal show-off by the individuals than a heartfelt homage. Nevertheless, I loved it!!!

And then there was GaGa, who avoided the red carpet because she was incubating in an egg, hatched out and performed her new song “Born this way”.   What a rousing performance! Great choreography and I love the line “Don’t be a drag-be a queen”. Classic!!!!  GaGa may not have the voice of Christina A but when she’s on stage, she always brings it! My favorite performance of the entire night and it was appropriately introduced by recently- OUT Ricky Martin (her song is about equality in society and celebration of individualism). It’s amazing what we can do nowadays in the mainstream media. Of course it is not fully-realized but we are gradually getting there. I mean, c’mon, who would have thought ten years ago that an artist can pull off a performance singing the lyrics like “No matter gay, straight or bi, Lesbian, transgendered lifeI'm on the right track, babyI was born to survive” at an event like The Grammys on national TV with millions watching??? A positive song and a great performance.

Also, Justin Bieber and his mentor Usher performed together (on stage together but performing separately) . This kid can sing and dance. It ain’t no joke that he has some talent. C’mon, most of us at his age were blowing spit bubbles sitting in the back of history class annoying the teacher and Bieber is collecting millions-both dollars and adoring fans. This isn’t funny. The best dancer in da house, however, was “Usher” and his style of dancing, so effortless and sexy. Backed by a huge dancing troop, he stole the show with his hit “OMG”.

Is it JUST me or Bob Dylan always sounds like he needs to clear his throat but some higher power is telling him NO, he can’t? No matter what, his performance won him a standing-O. So I wondered, maybe, if you stay long enough in the business and don’t die, you get some solemn respect from your peers regardless. A legend that he is, I wasn’t impressed nor would I call that singing???? It sounded more like gurgling. Horrendous!

One of the hottest performances of the night belonged to Cee lo green who had a monster hit with “Fuck you” (otherwise known as “Forget you”). He spiced up his act by dueting with the Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow on stage with full of puppets performing together. It was indeed a party.  Gwyneth, without missing a beat, provided the theatrical touch to the already dramatic song.  Is there anything else that this woman cannot do? An actress who sings, how fabulous!

Since we are on the same page of “Singing”, I have to say I truly believe that Katy Perry should hire a vocal coach ASAP. If that was some unknown girl, NOT Katy, singing that song, she sure would have collected plenty of tomatoes and rotten eggs. Luckily, it was Katy Performing in a striking glittery gown; therefore, bad singing didn’t matter. The audience simply ate it up. She looked pretty though.
Rihanna, on the other hand, has improved her vocals though and she looked arresting in that beautiful big gown (whoever it is by-I’m guessing “McQueen”). The crowd went wild when Eminem came up on stage and Ri Ri dramatically climbed up the stairs to join him in singing of their hit “Love the way you lie”. It was all good until this lesser known singer Skyler Grey (who, by the way wrote “love the way you lie” among other hits) totally upstaged her with much better vocals. Ouch!

Mick Jagger was there too giving his very first Grammy performance. One wonders why the hell he never performed at the Grammy before after all these years. He nevertheless, and unlike the aging Dylan, brought the house down. What an entrance and what a rock star!!! He appeared on stage and within a nanosecond, he owned it already. The crowd was at his feet. Personally, I don’t like him or his music but I thoroughly enjoyed his presence and performance.

Once Kris Kristopherson appeared on stage, my heart was beating real fast already as I could easily and already guess who he was going to introduce, the one and only Barbra Streisand.  I thought she was going to sing “People” but she did a touching rendition of “Evergreen”. It was a good choice as it was arguably the most celebrated song of her career and a timeless classic. Nearing the 70 years of age, her voice certainly has stood the test of time, still beautiful and quite clear, although this time it showed the signs of wear and tear when going for top notes. It didn’t’ matter because it was her heartfelt delivery and unique phrasing that brought tears to the audience. Eva Longoria, Cyndi Lauper and a bunch of other A-listers were seen wiping their tears. So was I (sniff-sniff). Then something unexpected and inappropriate happened. They sent the presenters, outrageously dressed Nikki Minaj and to the stage to announce the next award which in my opinion, spoiled that precious moment. Everyone was celebrating Ms Streisand’s return to the stage tearing up in applause and all.  Can’t they wait??? What the f*^k indeed!

In terms of the awards, the night’s biggest winner was the country trio “Lady Antebellum” with 5 awards. I agree that their song “Need you know” is a very good song but five awards including both Record and Song of the year??? I mean, Seriously? Gaga, who won three in total,’s acceptance speech was great and she blurted out “oh shit” (the same thing happened with the “Album of the year winner “Arcade Fire” when one of the band members uttered “Holy Shit”) which I’m sure will be cut when it airs again on repeat. The prestigious “Best new artist”, won in the past by Cyndi lauper, Natalie Cole, The Beatles, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera just to name a few, went to relatively unknown, Jazz musician, “Esperanza Spalding”. I honestly have no idea who she is or what her music is like but based on the background music of hers they played when she won, the awards voters must have sided with talent this year not popularity (Hence, Justin Bieber or Drake). And I’m very happy that my girl, Fantasia, won her first Grammy for “Best Female Rn’B vocals”.
I love this year Grammys, it’s just delicious- strong performances, diverse batch of artists, lots of surprises and most of the awards went to the deserving artists.

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