Last year was the first time in forever that I actually watched the Grammys. I was drawn in by the commercials advertising the killer lineup of performances, and it pretty much lived up to the hype. It was worth sitting through the whole show just to see Radiohead play with the USC marching band. Plus, there was all the Rihanna/Chris Brown drama to follow.
This year I don’t think I saw a single commercial for it. So that doesn’t bode well. Plus, I printed out the ballot, and it is just ridiculously bad. I’ll discuss in detail as we slog through this train wreck, but it almost seems like they are trying to piss people off with their nominees.
Anyway, Johanna and I will be competing again in a winner picking game. As usual, I pick who I think is going to win, not who should win (in a lot of these categories, none of the nominees deserve to win). Out of principle, I did not just pick Taylor Swift in every category, even though she’ll probably sweep the night. I did, however, pick a Marley in two separate categories. Let’s get it started. Categories and winners in bold.
8:01 – “Oh Jesus,” says Johanna as Lady Gaga kicks off the night. This is a little too Broadway for my tastes, but God bless her. She looks like a character from Tim Burton’s upcoming Alice in Wonderland. I should also say here that I’m really surprised that they didn’t start with some Michael Jackson thing. I guess MTV stole their thunder.
8:04 – “Everybody’s going googoo for Gaga,” says the weird emcee. And now here she comes on some weird double piano with Sir Elton John. WTF is going on right now? This is like if Disney Imagineers were trying to show me what an acid trip would be like. Again, God bless her. She is talented. She deserves to win in all four categories in which she’s nominated tonight, but I doubt that will happen.
8:07 – First Lady Gaga, now Stephen Colbert. If I hadn’t already seen the nominees, I might actually think the Grammys were hip. This opening goes well enough. The “making fun of celebrities for giving themselves awards” thing is a bit old at this point. And the stuff with his daughter is awkward. But he’s getting laughs.
8:12 – Johanna and I both went with “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” for Song of the Year, and we’re both right. I’m glad I resisted the urge to choose Taylor Swift for everything. Johanna is having a heart-wrenching debate with herself about whether this is her favorite pop song of the year, or if it’s one of the Lady Gaga songs. “I just don’t know!” she says.
8:14 – Jennifer Lopez comes out to “Jenny from the Block,” her last real hit. From eight years ago. And what’s this? There’s a Broadway musical based on a Green Day album? That’s ridiculous. Almost as dumb as the upcoming Spider-Man musical with songs by Bono.
8:18 – Green Day is dressed like this ridiculous band that Johanna and I saw playing at some figure skating event that was on television earlier today named Honor Society. That’s not a good sign, Green Day.
8:25 – I could not care less which song Bon Jovi plays, Kristen Bell. I’m getting sick of her, for some reason. Good luck with When in Rome, the new movie from the guy who brought us Daredevil, Ghost Rider, Jack Frost, and Simon Birch. I’m sure that’s a winner. Here are the nominees for Best Country Album. Country music is so weird. It’s the one genre where you need absolutely no street cred or legitimacy to be considered cool. Taylor Swift wins, obvi. Johanna and I both got it. Tied at 2.
8:27 – I’m sure Simon Baker would totally still be introducing Beyoncé if The Mentalist weren’t a CBS show. Speaking of Beyoncé, her army of backup dancers is awesome; they look like extras from the Super Mario Brothers movie. She had better make this a medley and utilize them in a better song than “If I Were a Boy.”
8:32 – When I asked for a medley, I didn’t mean an Alanis Morissette song, Ms. Knowles. This is weirding me out. I would rather be watching Alanis cover Seal than Beyoncé covering Alanis. I feel like fast-forwarding this and watching her awesome MTV VMA performance instead.
8:39 – Whoa, it’s Seal! I was just talking about you, buddy! And here comes Pink. “I hate Pink,” says Johanna, and leaves the room.
8:42 – Pink slips off her robe to reveal the ribbons she’s wearing underneath. And now she’s dripping wet and spinning around suspended in midair. Johanna is uncomfortable with how much of Pink’s butt cheek she can see right now. Who does she think she is, Lady Gaga?
8:46 – Country people out talking about country stuff (btw, it is so weird that Keith Urban is Australian). They’re announcing Best New Artist. I went with MGMT, thinking this might be the Grammy peoples’ one stab at relevancy. I was wrong, and Johanna got it right by picking the country act that neither of us has ever heard of, Zac Brown Band. They’re thanking some financial group. Play these guys off already.
8:54 – Coming back from the break Grammy reveals her true soul, with Miley Cyrus introducing the Black Eyed Peas. I don’t want to be a hater, but this is unbearable. Fergie needs to stop rapping immediately. “It’s funky Fergie!” indeed. Wow. I actually used to like the Black Eyed Peas, back in 1999 or so, before they recruited her. I saw them in concert with Wyclef Jean and everything. Do you think the non-will.i.am and Fergie members of the band say anything at band meetings? God, they are awful. I have so many questions about what they are and how they got here. I need to fast-forward.
9:05 – The Jonas Brothers, with the middle one in funny glasses, introduce Lady Antebellum. I watch long enough to see the woman get caught in the falling drape and then I fast-forward.
9:09 – The girl from The Big Bang Theory and some Latin Grammy winner here to introduce the nominees for Best Comedy Album. Johanna went with Stephen Colbert and his Christmas album, and I went with Patton Oswalt, but we both predict at the last minute that Spinal Tap will win because they’re old. But no, Colbert pulls it out! Nice. I love Steve, but that Christmas stuff was not good. Oh, well, good for him. Johanna is out to a 4-2 lead. She has predicted every category correctly so far.
9:17 – Norah Jones and Ringo Starr presenting Record of the Year. What’s the difference between Record of the Year and Song of the Year? I go with Taylor, Johanna with Gaga. Kings of Leon pulls off a surprising upset. That’s great, I love this song.
9:20 – Robert Downey, Jr. strolls out with a handheld microphone. He introduces an opera performance. I have a bad feeling that this is going to be an unfunny comedy bit.
9:21 – Ugh, Jamie Foxx. I was right. Can we agree as a society that Jamie Foxx doesn’t get to be taken seriously as a musician? He’s got a Cab Calloway style big band set up going on here. And is that T-Pain in a white tux and tails? This is embarrassing.
9:25 – Slash! This is officially an SNL sketch. Someone get Andy Samberg a top hat.
9:26 – Ke$ha and Justin Bieber. I know very little about either of them, but every time I’ve seen her on TV she has made me uncomfortable, and he is obviously the worst. If this keeps up, I seriously might have to stop watching. Also, I like how they are hyping Bon Jovi’s first Grammy appearance like the Beatles are reuniting and playing a song with the reanimated corpse of Kurt Cobain. How did Bon Jovi convince us that they are music legends?
9:32 – Alice Cooper and Katy Perry. I love Katy Perry, but I’ll talk about Alice Cooper instead. When Alice Cooper was in Wayne’s World, I asked my sister if he was a real musician, and she said no. Thanks for the cultural help, older sis. Also, I’m pretty sure my dad once played golf with him or something. True story.
They’re presenting Best Rock Album. I went with U2 and Johanna picked Dave Matthews Band. Here’s a fun fact that drives home how ridiculous these nominations are. Dave Matthews is the second youngest of the five front men nominated in this category, after Billie Jo Armstrong. That’s insane. Average age of the lead singers of these groups? Fifty-one. I did the math. These nominees would have been out-of-date fifteen years ago. Go home, Grammys. Green Day wins.
9:35 – CBS brings Chris O’Donnell out to pimp another one of their shows, NCIS: Los Angeles. He introduces the Zac Brown Band, who start singing “America the Beautiful.” I introduce my index finger to the fast-forward button.
9:45 – Here comes Ryan Seacrest. I like this guy; he’s good at a job that is harder than people think. He and Jeff Probst deserve more credit than they get. He’s introducing Taylor Swift.
These performances are bad news. Last year we got Coldplay with Jay-Z, Katy Perry, M.I.A., Paul McCartney, Radiohead, Justin Timberlake, and tons of others. Did pop music just suck this year or something? Or, I guess I should say last year, since all of these categories seem weirdly out-of-date. How does MGMT end up in the Best New Artist category in 2010?
9:52 – Lionel Richie comes out on stage and I start wondering how the Grammys are going to convince me that I care about him in 2010. He’s talking about Michael Jackson, so I guess that makes sense.
9:54 – Celine Dion is singing some song about going green that was written by MJ. And it’s in 3-D! Let me just grab my 3-D glasses that I keep handy on my coffee table…oh wait. I don’t have 3-D glasses. No one does. In place of a 3-D photo, I’ll give you a photo of an awesome book about Michael Jackson that Johanna got in France.
This is a solid song, though. Where have I heard this? Was this in Fern Gully?
9:57 – I seriously bet that hummingbird would have looked cool if I had 3-D glasses. I feel like I’m missing out. Beyoncé is not missing out, although Jay-Z and the people behind her apparently forgot their glasses.
And here’s Rihanna wearing 3-D glasses!
This is hilarious. I could watch famous people wearing 3-D glasses all night long.
10:01 – Michael Jackson’s kids out to accept a lifetime achievement award. I respect their right to do this, and they seem pretty normal and everything. But this is sad, and bizarre, and sort of uncomfortable.
10:08 – Sheryl Crow is like the human personification of what the Grammys are, if that makes sense. Bleh.
She’s introducing Bon Jovi. A three song set? Wow. I start fast-forwarding as soon as I get a glimpse of Jon’s weird leather shirt thing.
10:16 – Whoa, Mos Def and Plácido Domingo. Even Plácido thinks this is weird. Also, Mos, I love you, but stop purposefully mumbling. You know you’re doing it.
They’re presenting Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, which wasn’t even on the ballot I printed out from Grammy.com. Which is weird, because there were tons of categories on there, like Best Americana Album. Jay-Z and RiRi win for “Run This Town.”
10:25 – Here comes Wyclef Jean to offer a completely nonsensical message to the American people from the people of Haiti. Someone should have written something out for him beforehand.
He’s also introducing Andrea Bocelli and Mary J. Blige, who will be singing “A Bridge Over Troubled Water” for Haiti. I think. I’m sort of confused. Andrea Bocelli cracks me up because I would never have heard of him if Carmela Soprano didn’t dig him. Also, on his Wikipedia page, the photo is of him riding a horse.
10:40 – OK, I fast-forwarded through the guy with the beard talking Grammy business, and missed what I’m sure was a perfectly good explanation for why Adam Sandler is here. He introduces Dave Matthews. Maybe they picked him because they sort of look alike.
I’m actually not even sure why Dave Matthews is here.
10:46 – Here comes Ricky Martin, along with some girl from the bane of my existence, Glee. I like how happy Ricky Martin is. Good for him.
They’re presenting Best Female Vocal Performance, which, again, is not on my ballot. WTF, Grammy.com? Another category that they chose to include on my ballot at the expense of one that actually made the broadcast: Best Contemporary World Music Album. Anyway, Beyoncé wins for “Halo.”
10:54 – CBS lucks out with having LL Cool J as a presenter, since he’s won a Grammy, but is also on NCIS: Los Angeles. He introduces Maxwell. All right, then.
11:00 – This show is too long. At least we’re finally at my favorite part of any awards show, the “In Memoriam” segment. Gerry Niewood died?! Who knew? I did actually already forget that DJ AM died, though.
And Jay Bennett died in my hometown of Champaign, I think.
11:03 – No MJ in the montage of death. I guess he got enough attention earlier. Here comes Jeff Bridges. Playing a musician in a movie apparently qualifies you to present at the Grammys. And I see Lady Gaga has had a costume change.
11:11 – Here comes Quentin Tarantino in a fat suit. Oh no, wait, that’s just Quentin Tarantino. Wow, he looks bloated. Johanna speculates that he was doing cocaine back in the Pulp Fiction days when he was skinny. I love his movies so much, but he is such a nerdy weirdo.
He introduces Eminem and Lil’ Wayne. These guys are apparently using some words that they did not clear with CBS, since quite a bit of the performance is bleeped out. Johanna initially accuses me of accidentally muting the television.
We both agree that we really like Lil’ Wayne even though we don’t really like any of his songs.
11:25 – John Legend tells us that it’s been ten years since Carlos Santana had a “Supernatural” night at the Grammys, which makes me realize that the Grammys have always sucked, and makes Johanna feel really old. Ten years since “Smooth,” everybody.
They’re here for Album of the Year. I went with Lady G, Johanna with Beyoncé. How is Dave Matthews Band nominated for Album of the Year in 2010? What a farce. Anyway, Taylor Swift wins. I picked her in the wrong category.
All right, they just abruptly ended the show, so I guess I’ll go online and check who won in all of the other categories on our ballot so I can get a final tally. BRB
Well, after checking in on all of the “bullshit” categories, as Johanna has decided to call them, I pull out a very strong 11-8 win. I’d like to thank all of the Marleys, and also Chick Corea for being the only person I’d heard of in the Jazz Instrumental category. Johanna and I are tied one to one on awards shows so far this year. Bring on the Oscars.
I’ll close with a top five list of the most ridiculous untelevised Grammy categories:
5) Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album
4) Best Regional Mexican Album
3) Best Surround Sound Album
2) Best Hawaiian Music Album
1) Best Spoken Word Album for Children